I think I finally understand what flag advocates are getting at when they refer to discrimination against and hatred directed at the display of the Confederate flag. Let’s see the officials at the VMFA stand up to this guy. Note, this video contains profanity.
Update: Thanks again everyone. Sold a total of 10 copies on the first day.
You can now purchase my book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder, directly from me for the low price of $25 plus $3.00 shipping. Just click the “Buy Now” button below and you will be taken to my PayPal site. Please use the Contact Form if you would like a signature and inscription. The University Press of Kentucky prices the book at $35 plus shipping and handling, so I hope that this discounted price for a signed first edition makes the purchase more appealing. This is what I sell the book for at talks, workshops, etc.
“In this stunning and well-researched book, Kevin Levin catches the new waves of the study of memory, black soldiers, and the darker underside of the Civil War as well as anyone has. That horrible day at the Crater in Petersburg, its brutal racial facts and legacies, all tangled in the weeds of Confederate Lost Cause lore, have never been exposed like this. Levin is both superb scholar and public historian, showing us a piece of the real war that does now get into the books, as well as into site interpretation.”
– David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
Jon Carson does a wonderful job of responding to the recent flurry of White House Petitions requesting that individual states be given the right to secede from the Union.
Thank you for using the White House’s online petitions platform to participate in your government.
That sentence alone defuses any credibility that these silly petitions might enjoy. There is just a little irony in Americans utilizing their Constitutional rights through a website that encourages participatory democracy and that is maintained by taxpayer dollars.
But just in case you slept through your American history and civics classes Carson follows up with a reminder that the sacrifice paid by Americans during the Civil War and beyond guarantees your right to petition your government.
Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States “in order to form a more perfect union” through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, “in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual.” In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that “[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.”
It’s almost as good as the White House response to the Death Star petition.
It was just a matter of time. After months of protesting outside of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts over the removal of Confederate flags from the grounds of the “Old Soldier’s Home”/Pelham Chapel the Virginia Flaggers have little to show for their efforts. All attempts to branch out and get involved in other causes – most notably with the opening of the MOC in Appomattox [and here] – have failed to generate support.
Individual Flaggers have challenged VMFA authorities in the past so there should have been little doubt as to how this situation would turn out.
A few months ago I was contacted by someone at the VMFA to talk about how they might handle this protest. I didn’t have much to offer beyond suggesting that they wait it out, but I did jokingly suggest that they put together an exhibit on the Confederate flag that utilized the Flaggers as a modernist interpretation/performance. I believe this more than ever after watching the above video. You gotta love those jeans, jacket and sunglasses.
The Flaggers and associated groups will likely milk this for all it’s worth, but it is nothing more than a sign of the organization’s lack of direction and inability to garner support around the substantive issues.
I’ve tried to be as transparent as possible with sharing my experience in seeing a book manuscript through to publication. Some of you have been with me since 2007, when I first announced that I might have the opportunity to publish what was then only a Master’s Thesis. As I got closer to publication I wondered about sales. I knew going in that the book would likely appeal to a fairly narrow audience. The Crater is not the most popular Civil War battle and the study of historical memory is perhaps an acquired taste. My decision to sign with one of the smaller academic presses also tempered my optimism, which is not to say that I in any way regret going with the University Press of Kentucky or that I am disappointed with their work thus far. Far from it.
On occasion, however, I did allow myself to speculate as to how a strong social media presence might translate into book sales. Since I have no frame of reference it was always difficult to arrive at a number, but I thought that my ability to promote the book through my blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed might provide a model for other authors of academic titles who hope to reach a wider audience. OK, so I thought that somewhere around 1,000 books sold by Jan. 1 was not out of the realm of possibility.
At this point, I am disappointed to admit that this apparently has not happened. My publisher informed me that since the book was released in early July 2012 it has sold 621 copies.
Now, it could be the case that this is a pretty good showing for a book such as mine. As I said, I have no frame of reference. And I should note that overall I couldn’t be more pleased with how the book has been received by many of you as well as by both magazine and journal reviewers. That I was able to contribute anything at all to a body of scholarship that has taught me much and provided me with countless of hours of enjoyment is sufficient.
The experience has left me with much to think about as I consider future projects. I see the book format as one tool in my arsenal through which to share my love of history with the general public. We will have to see whether I have another one in me. I certainly hope so. Working with an academic publisher forced me to respond to my peers, who assisted me in improving both the narrative and various interpretive elements. It is an invaluable aspect of the writing process and having the stamp of approval from such a publisher hopefully gives me a certain legitimacy as I move further.
That said, I can’t help but wonder whether I might be able to take the experience of working with a traditional publisher and apply it to another approach that might result in greater reach – perhaps self-publishing? I am willing to consider all options. After all, I don’t need to publish for tenure or promotion. As an author I want to produce a product that has integrity and see it in the hands of as many people as possible. What’s the point of suffering through the process of researching and writing if no one is going to read it?
In the meantime, I recently got the go-ahead from the publisher to sell my book directly. I’ve been buying books with my author’s discount to sell at speaking events. I am still in the process of setting up a PayPal account, but once it’s you will be able to buy the book for $25 + shipping.
Thanks again to all of you who have bought the book.