Scott Nelson is Legum Professor of History at the College of William and Mary. His first book, Iron Confederacies, explored the birth of the first modern corporation – the Southern Railway – and its outsized influence in cementing the inequalities of the modern South. Nelson's second book, Steel Drivin' Man, explores the real life and legend of railway hero John Henry. Published by Oxford University Press in 2006, it won four national prizes including Merle Curti Prize for the best book in US Social and Cultural History and the National Award for Arts Writing.
Nelson’s latest book, A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America’s Financial Disasters, was published by Knopf in 2012, and received favorable reviews in The Economist, The New York Times Magazine, and was featured on NPR’s Marketplace and BBC World Service. Business Week named it a best business book of 2012. He is at work on an international history for the years between the panic of 1873 and World War I tentatively entitled Four Horsemen of the Liberal Apocalypse: Freud, Chekhov, Moody, & Luxemburg.