Kickstarter Campaign for “To Appomattox” Dead on Arrival

Update: This post has sparked a discussion over at The Battle of Gettysburg Discussion Group. J. D. Petruzzi, who is an adviser for the film project, is apparently not happy with my comments. I admit that there is much I don’t know and I accept that the script has met the high standards set by the advisers, but in the end what stands out to me is that after four-plus years this film is no closer to being made. This failed Kickstarter campaign speaks volumes regardless of J.D.’s whining.

"To Appomattox" KickstarterIt’s unclear whether Ron Maxwell intends to employ a crowdfunding campaign for his next project. The producers of “To Appomattox” recently attempted to raise money from the general public through Kickstarter and failed to make even a small dent in their goal of 2.5 million dollars. [The contributions of four totaled $30,000.] I am not surprised.

I first heard about this production back in 2011 and there was a lot of buzz. Producers managed to attract a fairly impressive cast and a number of historians/bloggers signed on as advisers. You may remember their attempt to brand the project with the backing of NASCAR, which at the time I thought was somewhat curious. [click to continue…]

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Say It Isn’t So

It’s difficult to imagine what aspects of the Civil War that Ron Maxwell has yet to butcher. Stay tuned.

Ron Maxwell

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Edward Sebesta Strikes Again

Earlier today Edward Sebesta posted some commentary on a recent controversy over the management of Jefferson Davis’s postwar home at Beauvoir. I also commented on this story back in March and was highly critical of the Mississippi SCV. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for Sebesta, who takes issue with my belief that the home deserves to be “professionally interpreted.”

Levin believes himself to be a member of the elite interpreters of the Civil War and is upset that Beauvoir isn’t going to be interpreted by people like him. Note his terms “professionally interpreted” and “respectfully and tastefully.” He would be quite happy with Beauvoir continuing to be used as a Confederate shrine by “professional” interpreters as he is with the Museum of the Confederacy being a Confederate shrine.

This is not the first time that I’ve been accused of being an “elitist” but it is funny to hear it from Ed rather than the usual folks. I do believe that Beauvoir deserves to be preserved and interpreted so as to give visitors a sense of the location’s importance both to Davis and to the memory of the Confederacy. [click to continue…]

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New to the Civil War Memory Library, 05/17

Claiming the UnionWilliam Blair, With Malice toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

James Marten, America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace (University of Georgia Press, 2014).

Susanna Michele Lee, Claiming the Union: Citizenship in the Post-Civil War South (Cambridge University Press, 2014).1

Theodore Rosengarten, All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (University of Chicago Press, 1974).

Jonathan White, Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (Louisiana State University Press, 2014).

1 Congratulations to Susanna on the publication of her first book. I read sections of her UVA dissertation years ago and like a lot of other people have been looking forward to finally seeing it in print. You don’t see too many Civil War titles with Cambridge Press, but it does come with a hefty price tag. Hopefully, the book will eventually be released in paperback.

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Holding the Line on the Traditional Research Essay

My classroom has not been the happiest place in recent weeks. It’s that time of the year when students are finishing up their major research essays. I take them from soup to nuts, from thinking about a narrow topic and framing research questions through the development of a thesis statement, outline, rough and final drafts. They learn how to search and assess sources and, most importantly, students learn how to make a claim about the past and defend it with the written world. For some students it is a grueling process and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it takes a certain toll on me as well – hours on end of reading and correcting, meetings with students and, on occasion, a few tears. [click to continue…]

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