A Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the history department at the University of Tennessee, Ernest Freeberg specializes in American social and cultural history, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His first book, The Education of Laura Bridgman (2001), winner of the American Historical Association’s Dunning Prize, explores the antebellum philosophical and religious controversies raised by the education of the first deaf-blind person to learn language. His Democracy’s Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War, and the Right to Dissent (2008), a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, examines the imprisonment of socialist leader Debs and the national debate prompted by demands for his amnesty. Most recently, he is the author of The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America (2013), which examines the impact of electric light on American culture.
- Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America, 1870–1940
- Before Helen Keller: The Education of Laura Bridgman, First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language
- Eugene V. Debs and the Struggle for Free Speech