Update: Within thirty minutes of posting I was contacted by the editor of a major university press: “Let’s talk.” I take this as a positive sign. Stay tuned.
The other day I outlined the final chapter of my book on Confederate body servants and the myth of the black Confederate soldier. The chapter focuses specifically on the rise and spread of this narrative leading to and especially through the sesquicentennial years. It’s by far the most interesting chapter and will likely be a good deal of fun to write. As you might imagine the chapter borrows heavily from this blog, which over the years has offered the most sustained critique of this myth that you will find anywhere on the Internet.
As I was perusing through previous blog posts it occurred to me that a new visitor would likely have a great deal of difficulty exploring the scope of what I’ve written on this blog on this specific subject. Admittedly, I could have done a much better job with categorizing and tagging posts, but most people from what I can tell don’t spent much time in the archives of my blog beyond where a search engine happens to send them. In other cases I suspect that visitors simply do not know how to effectively navigate a blog. This exercise has reinforced for me the limits of the blogging format as narrative.
Since November 2005 I have written just over 3,300 posts, which have received over 35,000 comments. [Wow! That's close to ten years.] Civil War Memory is being archived at the Library of Congress so I don’t have to worry about the long-term preservation of this site’s content. However, in an attempt to bring some coherence to what I’ve written I’ve decided to apply the same approach to my manuscript’s final chapter to the blog as a whole. Essentially I am going to turn Civil War Memory into book form organized into individual essays.
The subject of the book will the Civil War sesquicentennial, but it will also be an opportunity to share a bit of my own journey through blogging. Some research will be necessary, but the goal is to use the blog as a foundation for the various subjects that I will tackle from monument controversies to the intersection of politics and Civil War history. I suspect the turnover will be fairly quick once I finish this project, but that will likely make it the first book on the sesquicentennial. My hope is that it will appeal to Civil War enthusiasts and academics looking for an entertaining read and a chance to bring some historical, cultural, and political context to the past few years of Civil War memory making.
When the time comes I will have to make some decisions about publishing. I can see this project going the traditional route, but there may also be opportunities in the area of self-publishing.
So, what do you think? I’ve had some pretty idiotic ideas in the past and this may certainly be one to add to that list. Am I too wrapped up in my blog or do I have something here?