Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Week of Losses

This week has been a tough one for those of us who study history.

April 14 and 15 mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

April 15 marks the 103rd anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Today I also received the news of the passing of a true Civil War scholar; Elizabeth Brown Pryor who passed away in an automobile accident yesterday. You may read more about her and the accident here. The book she is most known for in Civil War circles would be Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters.

Friday, March 27, 2015

New World War I DVD Available in April

An outstanding cast of acclaimed British actors bring the First World War to life;
Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) narrates this touching documentary which stars Claire Foy, Matthew McNulty, Alison Steadman, Daniel Mays, Romola Garai, and Brian Cox
 
WORLD WAR ONE: THE PEOPLE’S STORY
DVD Debut from Athena on April 14, 2015
 
“An incredibly moving testament” Daily Express
“Fascinating insight” The Newcastle Journal
“Outstanding actors…read earnestly, with heartfelt honesty” Daily Mail
“Beautifully captured an era” Daily Mail
 
Silver Spring, MD — Following the centennial of WWI, World War One: The People’s Story makes it’s DVD debut on April 14, 2015 from Athena, an RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand. An outstanding cast of acclaimed British actors bring the First World War to life in this stirring documentary created to commemorate the conflict’s centennial in 2014. This unique four-part series mixes archival footage with reenactments by actors playing real participants in the war and performing excerpts from their original letters, memoirs, and diaries of the time. The series is narrated by Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) and stars Claire Foy (Little Dorrit), Matthew McNulty (The Paradise, Jamaica Inn), Alison Steadman (Pride & Prejudice), Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes), Romola Garai (Emma), and Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy). This DVD 2-disc set features four episodes plus a 21-page viewer’s guide ($39.99, AcornOnline.com). Originally broadcast in the UK on ITV in August 2014, The People’s Story premiered in the US on Acorn.TV, the premier British TV streaming service in North America, in February 2015, and is available to available to stream any time on Acorn TV at www.Acorn.TV.
 
Through original diaries, letters, and memoirs, this unforgettable documentary tells how the lives of regular British men and women were transformed by the Great War. A reservist leaves for the front determined to write to his mother every few days. A newlywed says goodbye to his pregnant wife. A young woman fears that when her fiancĂ© sails for France, her hopes of marriage will disappear. For parents and children, soldiers and factory workers alike, life and love go on but never again as they did before. Few could imagine the horrors ahead: hundreds of thousands would never return, and those who did would carry wounds—physical, emotional, psychological—that would change their lives forever.
 
Along with historical footage, an outstanding cast of actors reenact first-hand accounts uncovered from attics, archives, and libraries across Britain. Narrated by Olivia Colman, this four-part series re-creates the extraordinary stories of ordinary people, told in their own words.
 
BONUS FEATURES: 12-page viewer’s guide with a map of the western front; an overview of WWI; and articles on trench warfare, the suffragist movement, and the WWI poets
 
Street Date: April 14, 2015                                SRP: $39.99     
DVD 2-Disc Set: 4 episodes – Approx. 192 min. – SDH Subtitles
UPC 0-54961-2324-9-9                           ISBN 978-1-62172-324-0
 
An RLJ Entertainment, Inc. brand (NASDAQ: RLJE), Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. Athena’s 2014 releases included: Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey, Secrets of Ancient Egypt, The Science of Measurement, Talks About Nothing, The Story of Medicine, Civil War: The Untold Story, Theatreland, The Rise of the Nazi Party, Alexander’s Lost World and David Suchet: In The Footsteps of St. Paul. 2015 releases include: The Story of Women and Art, World War I: The People’s Story, and Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty: The Plantagenets. Athena DVD sets are available from select retailers, catalog companies, and direct from RLJ Entertainment at (888) 870-8047 or AcornOnline.com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Michigan Civil War Landmarks--New Book Release from The History Press


On Monday, April 13, The History Press will add Michigan Civil War Landmarks to its catalogue. Authors David Ingall and Karin Risko guide readers through the Civil War sites and landmarks of Michigan.


When America faced its greatest internal crisis, Michigan answered the call with over ninety thousand troops. The Story of that sacrifice is preserved in the state’s rich collection of Civil War monuments, markers, forts, cemeteries, reenactments, museums and exhibits. Discover how General George A. Custer and the famed Michigan Cavalry Brigade “saved the Union.” Visit the chair that President Lincoln was assassinated in at Ford’s Theatre, and view the grave of the last African American Union veteran. With a foreword by Civil War historian Jack Dempsey, this work is the first of its kind to chronicle the many Civil War Landmarks in the Wolverine State.


David Ingall is the former assistant director of the Monroe County Historical Museum and was the chairman of the monument dedication ceremony for the Monroe County Civil War Fallen Soldier’s Memorial. He is a sought-after Civil War speaker and tour guide. He’s a member of the Civil War Trust, Monroe County Civil War Round Table, and many other prestigious organizations.

Karin Risko is the founder of Hometown History Tours, a local tour company that shows off the rich history of Detroit and southeast Michigan, including its Civil War and Underground Railroad history. A member of the Detroit Metro CVB, Karin is frequently called on by local professional and social organizations to speak on local history.


New Fiction title-Daughter of the Regiment

For those who like historical fiction I received this press release recently from Hachette Book Group.

Stephanie Grace Whitson
 
“Whitson celebrates the strong but unknown heroines who marched off to war with their men, as well as those who maintained the home front in this Civil War-era inspirational...Based on true events, [Daughter of the Regiment] will capture the hearts of historical fiction fans.” —Publishers Weekly
 
During the American Civil War, thousands of women organized to join the war efforts, turning their attention from household to battle in support of the soldiers. In her new novel, DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, Stephanie Grace Whitson describes this time in history through life-threatening encounters and action-filled romance, sweeping readers into the world of Irish immigrant Maggie Malone and her privileged neighbor Elizabeth Blair.
 
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Maggie Malone inevitably experiences the effects of war firsthand—first, when her brothers join the Missouri Irish Brigade, and again when a group of unknown bandits attack her farm. Desperate to hear news from her brothers, Maggie sets off to find them at the Federal Army camp. There she quickly captures the admiration of Sergeant John “Colt” Coulter, who immediately notices her skill and dedication. When Maggie realizes that she must stay among the brigade, she discovers that there’s a lot a good woman can do to help these brave soldiers in need.
 
As the hostess to an acclaimed Missouri plantation, Miss Libbie Blair has learned to play her part and remain uninvolved in the business affairs and political aspirations of her brother, Walker. When his endeavors lead him to organize the “Wildwood Guard,” a group of locals in support of the Confederacy, Libbie must gracefully manage the house with officers camped out on the lawn. With war drawing closer to her doorstep, she must find a way to protect those who depend on her.
 
Despite being neighbors, Maggie and Libbie have led such different lives that they barely know one anotheruntil war brings them together, and each woman discovers that friendship can come from the unlikeliest of places.
 
Whitson brings extensive research on the role women played in the military during the American Civil War to life in DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT. These women, known as “vivandiers” or “daughters of the regiment,” were continuously finding ways to work on the front lines of battle. With Missouri as a border state in the war, Maggie and Libbie represent the efforts from two opposing sides and demonstrate that we all have potential for determination and courage in times of uncertainty.
 
About the Author
Stephanie Grace Whitson is the author of over 20 inspirational novels and two works of nonfiction. She received her Master of Arts degree in history in 2012. Whitson is a frequent guest lecturer for quilt guilds, civic organizations, libraries and historical sites, and she has keynoted conferences throughout the Midwest. When Stephanie isn’t writing, speaking, or trying to keep up with her five grown children and perfect grandchildren, she loves to take long distance rides aboard her Honda Magna motorcycle named Kitty. Her church and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum take up the rest of her free time. Stephanie resides with her husband in Lincoln, Nebraska.
 
Pub date: March 24, 2015 | 978-1-4555-2903-2| 336 Pages | $15 | Trade Paperback Original  | Available where books are sold.
 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

LSU Press to Publish Book on Sherman and the Confederate Home Front

Sherman’s War on Women

A Study of Home Front Hostilities on Sherman's March

Baton Rouge—Lisa Tendrich Frank’s book The Civilian War, to be published in April 2015, explores home front encounters between elite Confederate women and Union soldiers during Sherman’s March, a campaign that put women at the center of a Union army operation for the first time. Ordered to crush the morale as well as the military infrastructure of the Confederacy, Sherman and his army increasingly targeted wealthy civilians in their progress through Georgia and the Carolinas. To drive home the full extent of northern domination over the South, Sherman’s soldiers besieged the female domain—going into bedrooms and parlors, seizing correspondence and personal treasures—with the aim of insulting and humiliating upper-class southern women. These efforts blurred the distinction between home front and warfront, creating confrontations in the domestic sphere as a part of the war itself.

Historian Lisa Tendrich Frank argues that ideas about women and their roles in war shaped the expectations of both Union soldiers and Confederate civilians. Sherman recognized that slaveholding Confederate women played a vital part in sustaining the Rebel efforts, and accordingly he treated them as wartime opponents, targeting their markers of respectability and privilege. Although Sherman intended his efforts to demoralize the civilian population, Frank suggests that his strategies frequently had the opposite effect. Confederate women accepted the plunder of food and munitions as an inevitable part of the conflict, but they considered Union invasion of their private spaces an unforgivable and unreasonable transgression. These intrusions strengthened the resolve of many southern women to continue the fight against the Union and its most despised general.

Seamlessly merging gender studies and military history, The Civilian War illuminates the distinction between the damage inflicted on the battlefield and the offenses that occurred in the domestic realm during the Civil War. Ultimately, Frank’s research demonstrates why many women in the Lower South remained steadfastly committed to the Confederate cause even when their prospects seemed most dim.

Lisa Tendrich Frank received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Florida. She is the author and editor of numerous works relating to the Civil War, including Women in the American Civil War and the forthcoming The World of the Civil War: A Daily Life Encyclopedia.

April 2015
256 pages, 6 x 9
978-0-8071-5996-5
Cloth $42.50s

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Book by Earl Hess To Be Published in April 2015

Civil War Infantry Tactics LSU Press to Publish Earl Hess’s Groundbreaking Military History in April 2015

Baton Rouge—For decades, military historians have argued that the introduction of the rifle musket—with a range five times longer than that of the smoothbore musket—made the shoulder-to-shoulder formations of linear tactics obsolete. Author Earl J. Hess challenges this deeply entrenched assumption. He contends that long-range rifle fire did not dominate Civil War battlefields or dramatically alter the course of the conflict because soldiers had neither the training nor the desire to take advantage of the musket rifle’s increased range. Drawing on the drill manuals available to officers and a close reading of battle reports, Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-unit Effectiveness demonstrates that linear tactics provided the best formations and maneuvers to use with the single-shot musket, whether rifle or smoothbore.

The linear system was far from an outdated relic that led to higher casualties and prolonged the war. Indeed, regimental officers on both sides of the conflict found the formations and maneuvers in use since the era of the French Revolution to be indispensable to the survival of their units on the battlefield. The training soldiers received in this system, combined with their extensive experience in combat, allowed small units a high level of articulation and effectiveness.

Unlike much military history that focuses on grand strategies, Hess zeroes in on formations and maneuvers (or primary tactics), describing their purpose and usefulness in regimental case studies, and pinpointing which of them were favorites of unit commanders in the field. The Civil War was the last conflict in North America to see widespread use of the linear tactical system, and Hess convincingly argues that the war also saw the most effective tactical performance yet in America’s short history.

EARL J. HESS is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University and the author of fifteen books on the Civil War, including Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign; The Knoxville Campaign: Burnside and Longstreet in East Tennessee; and The Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi.

April 2015
368 pages, 6 x 9, 15 halftones, 20 charts
978-0-8071-5937-8
Cloth $45.00
Civil War / Military History

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

History Press New Release: Unionists in Virginia


The History Press is pleased to announce the publication of Unionists in Virginia: Politics, Secession and Their Plan to Prevent Civil War by Larry Denton.

Whether the Civil War was preventable is a debate that began shortly after Appomattox and continues today. But even earlier, in 1861, a group of Union-loyal Virginians—led by George Summers, John Brown Baldwin, John Janney and Jubal Early—felt war was avoidable. In the statewide election for delegates to the Secession Convention that same spring, the Unionists defeated the Southern Rights Democrats with a huge majority of the votes across the state. These heroic men unsuccessfully negotiated with Secretary of State William Henry Seward to prevent the national tragedy that would ensue. Author and historian Lawrence M. Denton traces this remarkable story of Virginians working against all odds in a failed attempt to save a nation from war.

Larry Denton, an authority on the secession crisis, is the author of "A Southern Star for Maryland: Maryland and the Secession Crisis," and "William Henry Seward and the Secession Crisis: The Effort to Prevent Civil War." He held several academic administrative posts at the university level from 1968 to 1978. In 1978 he accepted an appointment to serve as special assistant to the associate administrator of NOAA, a presidential appointee. He ended his career representing the Weather Channel in Washington and resides in Easton, Maryland.