Sunday, December 27, 2009

Upcoming Posts

Recently I've acquired some great books that I hope to actually have time to read. With the busy season coming up at work it'll take a bit longer than normal but I'll get through.

I recently finished reading Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine written by Thomas A. Desjardin and enjoyed it. I hope to the review posted shortly. I have a 40 minute drive each way to work and home so my wife has gotten me started on audio books. I've recently listened to A. Lincoln by Ronald White and also to General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse written by Joseph Glatthaar. I enjoyed both and even though I couldn't really take notes on either I'll put up some details regarding them shortly.

Within the last month or so I have been in contact with Scott Mingus Sr. and have purchased two books directly from him that I am looking forward to. The first is Flames Beyond Gettysburg and the second is The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign. Scott writes a couple of interesting blogs that you can visit here and here. Contact him directly (his email is on his blog or if you are a friend through Facebook contact him there) for inscribed and signed copies.

Jim M. Schmidt is another blogger that I follow. His blogs are here and here. Through his blogs I recently ordered his books Years of Change and Suffering (OK he's a co-editor but he does have an essay in the book) and the book I am currently reading Lincoln's Labels. Check out his interesting blogs and order a book if you are inclined. It's easy to do and can be paid through paypal.

Just as an FYI both Scott and Jim shipped their books very quickly and were both great to deal with and very appreciative of a future reader. It's always good to support authors directly when possible, plus you can get really nice inscriptions in your books. The reviews I have seen on their books have been positive and I am looking forward to all of them.

Some others in the pipe are War Like the Thunderbolt written by Russell S. Bonds. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bonds and if you get a chance to hear him speak don't miss out. This book was recently named by as a top history book for 2009. If it is anywhere near as good as Stealing the General it will be a great read. I am also looking forward to Like a Meteor Blazing Brightly written by historian, author, blogger, attorney, etc. Eric Wittenberg. Last but not least is a Christmas gift from my wife; The New Civil War Handbook written by Mark Hughes and published by Savas Beatie.

As if this wasn't enough there's the ever increasing pile of magazines!

Happy reading!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Newsletter Review--The Lincoln Forum Bulletin

The Lincoln Forum Bulletin. Issue 26, Fall 2009.

I recently received the new issue of the Lincoln Forum Bulletin published by the Lincoln Forum. This is only the second issue I have received but I have been impressed by both. The quality of the writing as well as the physical quality of the newsletter are above most.

The lead article this issue is titled Sandra Day O'Connor Earns the Lincoln Forum Award of Achievement. In addition to being the first woman Supreme Court justice O'Connor has written several books, chaired the 2007 400th anniversary of Jamestown, founded the website, and was the featured speaker at the 1998 Gettysburg ceremony honoring the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's speech dedicating the Soldier's National Cemetery. This just scratches the surface of the achievements of this remarkable woman.

Further articles include News From the Lincoln Bicentennial: The Celebration Continues, Abraham Lincoln: Made in New York which focuses on the New York Historical Society exhibition titled Lincoln and New York, Lincoln Briefs: Recent News and Notes, and The Lincoln Forum Scholarship Essay. A full page article titled In Memoriam: William Safire, Merrill Peterson, Milton Metzler memorializes these great writers. The back cover article is titled Rededicating A National Landmark: The Lincoln Memorial at Four Score and Seven. This briefly discusses the ceremony that took place 87 years after the original dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. The issue wraps up with New on the Lincoln Bookshelf, which contains brief overviews on nine new Lincoln books.

The article I may find most interesting though is a very brief one titled Thanks for Family which discusses the reality of the Lincoln family in light of the scene painted by Francis Carpenter (shown at left). It discusses how this painting was really pieced together as a "composite dream of what might have been had the Lincolns lived ordinary lives around the dinner table." The main pose is based upon the famous Matthew Brady photo of the president and son Tad. Mary provided photos of herself, Robert, and her late son Willie from which Carpenter was to work. The work is still popular today and is included in the NYHS exhibit and is also available for purchase as a fine art print.

Yet again a nice newsletter from a fine organization. If you are interested in Lincoln this is an organization you should consider being a member of.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Federal grant to help digitize Lincoln documents

OK $50,000 is just a drop in a $600,000 bucket but it's a pretty good start and considering what a lot of federal money goes for this is a great change of pace. Once completed this project will allow everyone access to the Lincoln Collection held at the Allen County Public Library.

Read further here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Russell Bonds speaks on Stealing the General

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting Russell Bonds and hearing him speak on his wonderful book Stealing the General. Mr. Bonds was the guest speaker at the Christmas meeting of the W.W. Loring Camp 1316 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mr Bonds uncle, the late Jan Parham, had invited him to speak. Mr. Bonds gave an interesting talk which was enhanced with a PowerPoint presentation. While I have read and highly recommend Stealing the General I was able to learn some new things. The city now known as Atlanta went through several name changes but did you know that Atlanta is actually an old Cherokee word for "to change planes"? (See Russ we really were paying attention).

In all seriousness Russ gave a very interesting talk and if you get a chance to see him I highly recommend making the time. In addition to a great talk Russ was genuinely glad to "press the flesh". When I walked in he recognized me within literally just a couple of minutes and came and introduced himself. He introduced my wife and I around to several people including is aunt and charming wife Jill. He really made a positive impression on me as an author, speaker, and person. My wife, who despite having been a history major is not enthralled by the Civil War, told me the talk was interesting enough she may have to read the book herself. She'll have to get her own copy though because she can't have my signed hardback copy!

I had never been to a SCV event before and was not sure what to expect. I must admit my wife and I were treated with kindness and respect by everybody. I was wearing my FSU windbreaker and stepped outside for a few minutes. A young man who happens to be a University of Florida fan struck up a conversation with me about college football and we had a really nice talk. Many others came up to say hi to the "new couple" and all were pleasant. Even new camp commander James Davis talked to me and made a point to tell me I was always welcome and he'd love to see me again. The United Daughters of the Confederacy even talked to my wife and promised to send her information. Whether we have any interest in joining these groups isn't relevant it's that they tried to make sure we didn't feel like outsiders.

Overall 5/5 stars on the presentation. And to think all it cost me was a trip to the St. Augustine Outlet Mall afterwards! That's a whole different story though.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Newsletter Review--The Surratt Courier

The Surratt Courier. The Surratt Society. December 2009, Volume XXXIV No. 12.

The December issue of the Surratt Courier arrived in the mail today. Included is the normal brief President's Message, Mark Your Calendar for upcoming events, New members listing, and a brief update on "cosmetic surgery" going on at the Surratt House and surrounding buildings.

The main article this month is a six page article titled "The Missing Confederate Gold: Raid at Chennault, Georgia, May 24, 1865" written by Marshall P. Waters III. The article briefly discusses what happened to the Confederate treasury that left Richmond with Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. An interesting article that doesn't seem to have a direct relation to the Surratt family or the Lincoln assassination.

The book linked to below deals with the Confederate treasury after the war. I have not read the book so I have no comment as to whether it is good or not. The Amazon reviews are positive for whatever that is worth.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Help Franklin's Charge Battlefield and get great cookies

Christie's Cookies is offering to donate 20% of your online purchase price to the Franklin's Charge Battlefield charity now through December 25th. Be sure to use Special Offer Keycode: 25K19 so that the donation can be made.

Franklin just fell short in the contest Christie's had earlier this year on their website so here's a chance to get some great cookies and support a worthy cause!

Painless way to help the CWPT

For most of us the Civil War Preservation Trust is a cause we deeply support. In addition to being a member I'm sure many of us contribute to the long list of preservation efforts that we receive mailers or email on. Here's another way we can help out. Do you sell on eBay? If so, consider donating a portion of your sales to the CWPT. It's as easy as selecting "giving works" when setting up your auction. You can choose amounts from 10-100% of each auctions final bid price. eBay will even credit part of your fees back in the percentage of your donation. If you donate 10% they will refund 10% of your listing AND final value fees. Remember donations can also be tax deductible for some people.

Do you bid on eBay? Be sure to check out the listings that qualify for donations to the CWPT. It's not many right now but how about bookmarking the site and checking occasionally. Support sellers that support a much needed group. You can also go to the main giving works page and by typing in "civil war" you get this list of groups that are Civil War related.

It may not be much but every dollar helps these organizations carry on the vital services they provide.