54th Massachusetts

I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that A Glorious Fate: The Life and Legacy of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw is now under advance contract with The University of North Carolina Press. From the beginning I had little doubt that I wanted to work once again with Mark Simpson-Vos and the rest of the UNC Read more

One of the many things I am enjoying as I research and write about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw is the sheer volume of source material that is readily available. His personal letters stretching back to the early 1850s have been catalogued and digitized by Harvard University. Most of his wartime letters have been published by Read more

Yesterday I sent off a proposal for what I hope will be my next book, tentatively titled A Glorious Fate: The Life and Legacy of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. This is a project that I began a few years ago, but ended up putting it aside for a number of reasons. I very much regret Read more

GLORY Comes to Netflix

Earlier this month the popular streaming service Netflix added the Hollywood movie, Glory, to its catalog. Released in 1989, Glory is still in my mind the best Civil War movie ever made. Pay crisis scene in Glory To mark its re-release I shared some thoughts about the intersection of fact and fiction in an essay Read more

I’ve spent the better part of the past few weeks reading as much as I can about Robert Gould Shaw and taking extensive notes. In addition to books about the Civil War I have been thinking about how to go about writing and structuring a biography, which I have never written before. Historian and biographer Read more

My Next Book Project

After weighing a number of things I have decided to write about the history and memory of Robert Gould Shaw for my next book project. It is a project that will look closely at two very different individuals. Additional questions? Feel free to fire away in the comments section below Read more

Was Robert Gould Shaw an Abolitionist?

Glory is still one of my favorite movies, but like all Hollywood productions, there are places where it falls short in explaining the history or providing the proper historical context. Few Hollywood movies have had more of an influence on how we remember the Civil War and, specifically, the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Read more

The news coming out of the Massachusetts Historical Society here in Boston could not be more exciting. Yesterday the MHS announced that they are in possession of the sword that was carried into battle at Battery Wagner by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Shaw was killed leading his men Read more

This morning I sat in front of the rear of the Robert Gould Shaw and Fifty-Fourth Regiment Memorial before heading into the Boston Athenaeum for a day of writing. It is certainly not the first time I have read the inscription on the rear of the memorial, which most people miss when they visit. This Read more

Update: I totally called it. The Confederate flag was intended to honor the men of the 54th Massachusetts and was not a pro-Confederate statement. Late last night a Confederate flag was discovered displayed on the Shaw Memorial on Beacon Street across the street from the Massachusetts State House. The flag remained displayed for a couple Read more