…apparently very little.
With the Future of Civil War History conference right around the corner it should come as no surprise that I’ve had Gettysburg on my mind. I am also looking forward to a return visit in June for the annual Civil War Institute, which will focus on the battle of Gettysburg. With the 150th anniversary just a few months away you would think that publishers would want to cash in on the general public’s interest in this specific battle. It goes without saying that no other Civil War battle looms larger in the nation’s collective memory.
Surprisingly, however, there is very little that is slated for publication this summer. In fact, the only full length treatment seems to be Allen Guelzo’s Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. Brooks Simpson offers a much more concise overview of the battle in his, Gettysburg, 1863 and for those looking for a detailed study of Confederate action on July 2 there is Philip Thomas Tucker’s BARKSDALE’S CHARGE: The True High Tide of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. And that’s about it folks.
I really thought that the major publishers, in addition to Knopf, would find some way to squeeze something out of the 150th. Perhaps I have overlooked additional titles. If not, have we hit a wall?
Howard Bahr, The Judas Field: A Novel of the Civil War, (Picador, 2006).
William A. Dobak, Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862-1867, (Center of Military History, 2011).
Christopher Hager, Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing, (Harvard University Press, 2013).
Harold Holzer and Sara Vaugn Gabbard eds., 1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year, (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013).
Walther Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom, (Harvard University Press, 2012).
Rhonda Kolh, The Prairie Boys Go to War: The Fifth Illinois Cavalry, 1861-1865, (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013).
Margot Minardi, Making Slavery History: Abolitionism and the Politics of Memory in Massachusetts, (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Joshua D. Rothman, Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson, (University of Georgia Press, 2012).
John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis, The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On, (Oxford University Press, 2013).
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
It’s safe to say that 2013 is already shaping up to be a good year for Civil War titles. I am in the middle of Oakes’s book and really looking forward to digging into new books by Kelman and Levine. If I am not mistaken we now have the first modern biography of Thomas Nast.
Fiona Deans Halloran, Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).
Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, 2013).
Bruce Levine, The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South(Random House, 2013).
James Oakes, Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 (W.W. Norton, 2012).
Craig Symonds, The Civil War at Sea(Oxford University Press, 2012).
Daniel R. Weinfeld, The Jackson County War: Reconstruction and Resistance in Post-Civil War Florida (University of Alabama Press, 2012).
The end of my first full year of living in Boston and what a year it’s been. It should come as no surprise that the highlight of the past year was the publication of my first book in June. I’ve always loved the social aspect of doing history, whether its teaching in the classroom, working with history teachers or lecturing in public. I’ve met some wonderful people this year and I thank each and every one of you for purchasing a copy. Based on the few notices I’ve received from the publisher it looks like sales have been brisk. I am hoping that my royalty check at least allows me to take my wife out for a really nice dinner next month.
As for 2013 I am looking forward to working with the Massachusetts Historical Society on some programs for teachers as well as the Massachusetts 150 Commission. On the writing front I am hoping to complete the Confederate camp servants book and finish up with editing the letters of Captain John Christopher Winsmith. We shall see. For now I want to thank all of you for continuing to visit Civil War Memory. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at this thing called blogging for over seven years now. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
…and now to the list.
Continue reading “Best of 2012”