Bruce Catton (October 9, 1899 — August 28, 1978) was a journalist and a notable historian of the American Civil War. He won a Pulitzer Prize for history in 1954 for A Stillness at Appomattox, his study of the final campaign of the war in Virginia.
Catton was known as a narrative historian who specialized in popular histories that emphasized the colorful characters and vignettes of history, in addition to the simple dates, facts, and analyses. His works, although well-researched, were generally not presented in a rigorous academic style, supported by footnotes. In the long line of Civil War historians, Catton is arguably the most prolific and popular of all, with Shelby Foote his only conceivable rival. Oliver Jensen, who succeeded him as editor of American Heritage magazine, wrote: "There is a near-magic power of imagination in Catton's work that seemed to project him physically into the battlefields, along the dusty roads and to the campfires of another age."
Bruce Catton was born in Petoskey, Michigan, but spent most of his boyhood in Benzonia. He was the son of a Congregationalist minister, who accepted a teaching position in Benzonia Academy and later became the academy's headmaster. As a boy, Bruce first heard the reminiscences of the aged veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Their stories made a lasting impression upon him, giving "a color and a tone," Catton wrote in his memoir, Waiting for the Morning Train (1972), "not merely to our village life, but to the concept of life with which we grew up ... I think I was always subconsciously driven by an attempt to restate that faith and to show where it was properly grounded, how it grew out of what a great many young men on both sides felt and believed and were brave enough to do."