- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 2, 2006

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Burke Davis, a longtime North Carolina newsman and award-winning author who wrote dozens of books about American history, died Aug. 18 at his retirement home in Greensboro after a short illness. He was 93.

“He was a wonderful friend, dispensing gardening advice, carrying his fresh produce to neighbors and encouraging young writers with novel ideas,” Jack Betts, associate editor with the Charlotte Observer, wrote shortly after Mr. Davis’ death.

Mr. Davis spent much of his career working as an editor, columnist, editorial writer and reporter covering sports and politics for the (Baltimore) Evening Sun, the Charlotte News and the Greensboro Daily News.

A sportswriter at heart, Mr. Davis was a devoted fan of Duke University’s Blue Devils basketball team and would record the score, rebounds and shots attempted and made while watching games, said his daughter, Angela Davis-Gardner.

Mr. Davis wrote about 50 books, including many about the American Revolution, the Civil War and the modern industrial age. Some of his titles have been among the Fifty Notable Books as listed by the New York Times.

Mr. Davis’ first novel, “Whisper My Name,” was about a Jewish man who posed as a gentile while running a business in the South. The story was loosely based on an executive at Ivey’s Department Store.

Mr. Davis may be best known for his books about the Civil War including “To Appomattox: Six April Days,” which won the Mayflower Cup award for best nonfiction in 1959. He also was awarded the North Carolina Award for literature in 1973 and served as a juror for biography for the Pulitzer Prizes in the 1980s.

Mr. Davis often wrote in a reassembled log cabin near a home he and his wife owned in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking the Rock Castle Gorge, where they spent summers gardening, Mr. Betts wrote.

“Once when the mountaintop folks were upset that Patrick County had renamed their dirt road for the non-euphonic geological feature called Belcher Mountain, Mr. Davis wisely suggested the French pronunciation. Call it Belle-Chere, he advised, and enjoy,” Mr. Betts wrote.

Mr. Davis’ survivors include two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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