I have nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women of the National Park Service, who help to preserve and interpret our nation’s historic sites. They include some of the most passionate and talented historians. For those focused on Civil War related sites their jobs come with increased attention and scrutiny by the media as well as various interest groups who have a stake in maintaining or protecting a specific narrative of the war.
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I apologize for the lack of posts over the past week, but as most of you know my wife and I just completed a move to Boston. We absolutely love our new home as well as the surrounding neighborhood. I am enjoying a very cozy reading room surrounded by my Civil War library. Our house is a short walk from a village area that includes a nice variety of restaurants and small shops.
Unfortunately, we are without Internet access until the middle of next week. Let’s just say that our local Department of Motor Vehicles is more efficient than Comcast. Although we’ve been tied up with house chores, we did manage to take a short walk through Forest Hills Cemetery, which is absolutely beautiful. Along the way we found a number of noteworthy grave sites, including that of William Lloyd Garrison.
Posts may be sporadic for the next two weeks. I have to make some final changes to my Crater manuscript and put together two teacher workshops for a Civil War Preservation Trust conference. See you soon.
Yesterday I took one final trip up Rt. 20 to Fredericksburg. Apart from a few select pieces I was able to sell the remainder of my Don Troiani collection to a Marine officer, who is going to auction them off to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior project. [More on this at a later date.] It’s one of my favorite drives and it gave me the opportunity to reflect on just how much I am going to miss this place.
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I know some people have trouble with these kinds of awards, but since the Society of Civil War Historians has created the prize we can have some fun and suggest a few nominees. Last year Daniel Sutherland won for his outstanding synthesis of guerilla warfare, A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War. You can read Sutherland’s acceptance speech in the latest issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era. Here is the announcement for the 2011 award:
The Society of Civil War Historians is soliciting nominations for the Tom Watson Brown Book Prize for books published in 2011.
All genres of scholarship on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War are eligible. This includes, but is not exclusive to, monographs, synthetic works presenting original interpretations, and biographies. Works of fiction, poetry, anthologies, and textbooks will not be considered. Jurors will consider nominated works’ scholarly and literary merit as well as the extent to which they make original contributions to our understanding of the period.
Elizabeth R. Varon, Professor of History at the University of Virginia, will chair the prize jury. The other members are Daniel E. Sutherland, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, and J. Matthew Gallman, Professor of History at the University of Florida. Tad Brown, President of the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., will serve as a non-voting member of the jury.
Publishers are asked to send nominated books (only those published in 2011 will be considered) directly to the four jurors no later than January 31, 2012. The winner will be announced by August 1, 2012. The award will be presented at the SCWH banquet at the Southern Historical Association meeting, where the winner will deliver a formal address that will be published in a subsequent issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era.
Of course, I could nominate any number of studies that fulfill the requirements included in the prize description, but I am going to limit it to just one. My nomination is George Rable’s, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War. I suspect that this book will make the short list for most people and that makes two books by UNC Press that are likely to win back to back prizes. That is a testament to the top-notch editorial work of Gary Gallagher.
So, which book do you think deserves to win?
An official count showed about 21,015 people stood in lines with waits ranging from 3 to 7 hours to see the Emancipation Proclamation, which was on display at the The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, for 36 straight hours. Meanwhile, the Sons of Confederate Veterans continue their quest for vanity plates in former Confederate states and even states that never seceded.