Update on Crater Manuscript

Update: I just agreed to do my first book signing in Chicago at the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop. Of course, the date has yet to be determined. This is shaping up to be a pretty good weekend.

I am pleased to report that Remembering War As Murder: The Battle of the Crater took a giant leap forward yesterday toward publication.  As many of you know back in August I submitted a revised manuscript to the publisher after responding to extensive comments by three anonymous reviewers.  All of them provided a healthy dose of criticism and suggestions for improving the overall manuscript.  Following the resubmission I was told that the manuscript would be sent to one of the original reviewers as well as a new outside reader.  A few weeks ago I heard from the first reviewer, who gave it the green light and yesterday I received a copy of the second report.  The reviewer was incredibly enthusiastic and concluded that the book, “stands to make a real and lasting contribution to the field of Civil War Memory studies.”  That’s music to my ears.  Both reviewers pointed out a few minor things to address, which I will take care of over the next few weeks.  I’ve been working with a university press, which is why the process is perhaps a bit more involved than usual. Let me just say that it’s been worth it. The peer review process once again served me well and no doubt saved me from a few errors and helped to point out ways to make my argument even stronger.  The final step will be to present the manuscript to the publisher’s board of editors in May.  In addition to making these final changes I am also putting together a list of possible photographs as well as a few ideas for the cover.  I would love to have the famous John Elder image of the Crater on one side and Don Troiani’s recent print of Mahone’s Charge.  The two images beautifully capture the central theme of the book, which is the evolution of how Americans remembered the racial aspect of the battle.

This will be my first book and like every author I hope it sells well.  The reviewer quoted above also suggested that the book will likely be used in college classrooms and be attractive to Civil War enthusiasts as well.  That’s a positive sign, but how many academic titles have been marketed as having the potential to bridge these two communities?  I assume that most people who publish with university presses don’t expect their book to break into mainstream readership.  In my case, however, it will be very interesting to see the extent to which my Online presence will push sales.  Yesterday I offered a brief update on the status of the manuscript on my Facebook page and within a few hours I had over 40 people express their enthusiasm.  A number of people emailed me to let them know when the book is available for pre-order.  I am going to go out on a limb here to suggest that this may be the first academic history title to come out of a strong social media presence.  As many of you know much of this project was discussed at one point or another on this blog and many of you offered assistance through your thoughtful comments and offers to share your own research materials.  What I am suggesting is that many of you have become invested in this project for one reason or another and I have every reason to expect that this will translate into additional sales.

It’s too early to tell, but I may have stumbled upon not only a legitimate method of vetting my ideas with a large audience, but in turning that interest eventually into a book sale.  Stay tuned.

22 comments… add one
  • Rob Baker Sep 18, 2011 @ 9:31

    I look forward to the opportunity to read this scholarship.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 18, 2011 @ 10:44

      It will be available in the spring of 2012.

  • Page Nelson Jan 30, 2011 @ 6:11

    I will definitely buy Kevin Levin’s book. The Crater battle was, for me, the single greatest event of the Civil War as a seventh grader at Venable School during the Centennial doing my Civil War project. To me it represented pure horror and unimaginable threat–I imagine somehow connected with the (then, in 1961) current terror of a nuclear attack. And yet I knew almost nothing of the facts of this episode

    I don’t recall any mention of “U.S. Colored Troops” as our Virginia state history book, which I unfortunately don’t have a copy of, may have left that part out. But then any mention would likely have gone over my head–I never knew of Ft. Pillow, Cold Harbor or the 54th Mass. and Fort Wagner until I read Page Smith’s volume on the Civil War in the mid-’80s.

    By the way, thanks for linking your web site to David Blight’s You Tube presentation. I am now reading ‘Race and Reunion” as an e-book through my CA State University library.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 30, 2011 @ 6:20


      Thanks so much for the kind words and thanks for taking the time to share your recollections of the Centennial. The link to a nuclear attack is very interesting and one that I failed to connect. I guess to a child an image of the Crater explosion would have served as a reminder of just such a threat. I would love to hear more. I couldn’t be more pleased to hear that the video led you to Blight’s book. Enjoy it.

  • Brendon Jan 29, 2011 @ 16:54

    You having the book published by Pelican Press? LOL!!!

    • Kevin Levin Jan 29, 2011 @ 16:55

      That is pretty funny, Brendon. LOL

  • Rene Tyree Jan 29, 2011 @ 11:06

    Fantastic news Kevin. Quite an accomplishment. Can’t wait to read it!


  • Tom Jan 29, 2011 @ 7:00

    Congratulations, I know this is exciting for you. I’m looking forward to the finished product. I’ve always liked Tom Lovell’s depiction of the Crater (first image on left):


    • Kevin Levin Jan 29, 2011 @ 7:50

      Thanks Tom. I also like the Lovell print. It was used in my most recent article in Civil War Times.

  • Ken Noe Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:53

    We’ll talk when they give you three weeks to do all of your final revisions and compile the index 😉

    • Kevin Levin Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:58

      I was going to have one of my graduate students handle the index for me. 🙂

  • James F. Epperson Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:28

    Congratulations! Take the spouse out for nice dinner!

    • Kevin Levin Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:30

      Looks like the wife is taking me out for a nice dinner tonight. I assume that is what you meant to say. 🙂

      • James F. Epperson Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:42

        No, I meant you should reward her for all the support she gives you. But enjoy, anyway!

        • Kevin Levin Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:47

          Point well taken.

          • James F. Epperson Jan 29, 2011 @ 6:53

            I’ve learned a few things in 27+ years of marriage! And my wife would confirm: “*Very* few!” 😉

  • Emmanuel Dabney Jan 29, 2011 @ 5:46

    And obviously a “me too” is inserted here.

  • Julie Holcomb Jan 29, 2011 @ 5:18

    Congratulations, Kevin. Count me in that group awaiting an opportunity to order your book!

    • Kevin Levin Jan 29, 2011 @ 5:18

      Thanks Julie. 🙂

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