A Case of Poor Timing

I noticed yesterday that Louisiana State University Press is bringing out an edition of John Washington’s slave narrative edited by Crandall Shifflett.  The problem, of course, is that six months ago David Blight published Washington’s narrative along with a second set in Alabama.  Blight struck out across the country to promote the book and it is safe to assume that those who have an interest in the story have purchased the book.  [Click here for a related post on David Blight and John Washington.]  In yesterday’s post I briefly referenced James McPherson’s review of Drew Faust’s new book on death and the Civil War. In addition to Faust, McPherson reviewed Mark A. Schantz’s Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death (Cornell University Press, 2008).  Tell me if I am mistaken, but it seems to me that McPherson preferred Schantz’s study over Faust.  Unfortunately, given Faust’s notoriety and the support of Knopf’s publicity department it is unlikely that Schantz will make a splash.  Perhaps that is why Amazon is offering the book at a major discount.  Timing is everything.

Anyone out there in the finishing stages of a book manuscript on the battle of the Crater and historical memory?  Let’s talk.

1 comment add yours

  1. This is every historian’s nightmare–especially junior historians. My book filled a fairly obvious gap in the literature of Pacific Northwest history. It was my dissertation topic and it took me years longer than anticipated to turn it into a book. I would open every new book catalog from Nebraska and Oklahoma with dread, fearing I had been scooped.

    Soon after my final galleys went to the printer, I got a worried email from a grad student who was working on the same topic and had just learned about me. Fortunately he wasn’t too far along, I sent him my detailed outline and was able to shift his research to compliment what I was doing rather than repeat it.

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