LSU’s Benjamin Martin Selected as a Book Critic by Phi Beta Kappa

09/26/2012 09:19 AM

BATON ROUGE – Academic Honor Society Phi Beta Kappa has named Katheryn J., Lewis C., and Benjamin Price Professor of History Benjamin Franklin Martin as a book critic for the “Life of the Mind” program in The Key Reporter, the organization’s national publication for members. Martin is the first professor from LSU to be selected for this prestigious honor by Phi Beta Kappa.


“We are very pleased to be working with [Martin] on this project,” said Kelly Gerald, senior writer-editor and director of media relations for The Phi Beta Kappa Society. “Our ‘Life of the Mind’ program will cover books in the humanities and sciences that we think would be of interest to our members."


“We now have well over half a million members, so our reviewers will be writing for a very broad audience, one that looks to Phi Beta Kappa to provide an on-going intellectual experience that is both substantive and stimulating,” Gerald added.


To be considered for the program, a reviewer must be a resident member of Phi Beta Kappa at a chapter-sheltering institution and is asked to submit samples of previously published reviews as part of our screening process. There are currently about 30 reviewers nationwide writing for the program.


Book reviews for the “Life of the Mind” program will be published by Phi Beta Kappa in The Key Reporter online, a new and expanded version of the national quarterly. The site is in development and will launch this fall.


The website for The Key Reporter will be a companion to the print publication, which will continue to be published and retain its circulation of nearly 500,000 Phi Beta Kappa members. The Key Reporter includes news and stories about Phi Beta Kappa’s various events, programs, awards, members in the news and reviews from book critics.


The LSU chapter of Phi Beta Kappa’s was installed in 1977. The LSU chapter has two primary functions:  To select students for election to Phi Beta Kappa, and to enhance the quality of intellectual life on campus, e.g. by inviting leading scholars and scientists to visit, and interact with, the university and local community.   


Martin was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1969 at Davidson College (Gamma of North Carolina), where he graduated in 1969. He earned his Ph.D. in European history in 1974 from the University of North Carolina.


Martin came to LSU in 1983, after holding positions at the University of North Carolina and West Virginia Wesleyan College. At LSU, he has been recognized with the Roselyn Boneno Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in the Department of History in 2006; “Dedication to Instruction of Freshman Students, 2003,” by Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society; and “Outstanding Professor of 1988,” College of Arts & Sciences (now College of Humanities & Social Sciences).


Martin has reviewed books for a number of publications, including American Historical Review, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, Business History Review, The Historian and Sunday Advocate Magazine, among others. From 2000 to 2002, Martin served as a member of Phi Beta Kappa’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize Committee. Martin has been a part of three History Channel documentaries – “Escape: Papillon,” “In Search of History:  The Infamous Dreyfus Affair,” and “Crimes in Time:  The Stolen Smile,” – and has also appeared on other documentaries on The Learning Channel and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.


Martin is the author of six books: “Years of Plenty, Years of Want:  France and the Legacy of the Great War,” to be released in 2013 by Northern Illinois University Press; “France in 1938,” released by LSU Press in 2005; “France and the Après Guerre, 1918-1924:  Illusions and Disillusionment,” released by LSU Press in 1999; “Crime and Criminal Justice Under the Third Republic:  The Shame of Marianne,” released by LSU Press in 1990; “The Hypocrisy of Justice in the Belle Epoque,” released by LSU Press in 1984; and “Count Albert de Mun:  Paladin of the Third Republic,” released by University of North Carolina Press in 1978.  


For more information on the LSU Department of History, visit For more on the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, visit


About the Phi Beta Kappa Society:
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 280 institutions and more than half a million members throughout the country. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. Among its programs are academic and literary awards, lectureships, a fellowship, a professorship, and publication of The American Scholar, an award-winning quarterly magazine.

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012