Thursday, February 28, 2013

Press Release-Mount Vernon & University of Southern California

University of Southern California Announces Partnership with Mount Vernon’s Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington

Contact: USC Media Relations at (213) 740-2215 or
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28, 2013 – The USC Price School of Public Policy has announced a new partnership with The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, a new facility under development just outside the main entrance to Washington’s Virginia estate.
Thanks to the support of Maribeth Borthwick ’73 and William Borthwick to the Campaign for the University of Southern California, USC Price and the library have jointly established the Partnership for the Study of George Washington at USC and Mount Vernon. The Borthwicks’ campaign gift also includes support of the Second Year Inquiry Program at the USC Dornsife College for Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“We are tremendously excited to partner with Mount Vernon to develop this unique leadership program at its new library,” said Jack H. Knott, dean of the USC Price School of Public Policy. “The legacy of George Washington will serve as a powerful inspiration to students at USC Price who, like Washington himself, seek to positively impact policy and government for the common good of all citizens.”
The new program will provide students and faculty at USC Price with opportunities to better understand Washington’s impact on the fields of governance, planning, public policy and leadership. Capitalizing on the resources of the library, this program will facilitate unique research and programming opportunities at USC and Mount Vernon. David Sloane, a USC Price professor and director of undergraduate programs, will direct the program elements at USC.
Slated to open in September, the 45,000-square-foot library will serve as a place to safeguard original Washington papers and volumes, as well as a center for scholarly research, educational outreach and leadership training programs. The latest initiative of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the library is being built solely through the generosity of private donors. Borthwick serves as the association’s vice regent, or board member, representing the state of California.
“I am thrilled to support the establishment of the Partnership for the Study of George Washington at USC and Mount Vernon,” Borthwick said. “As an alumna of USC and a California resident, I know how important it is to bring a little of Mount Vernon and George Washington to California. The university is ideally suited to partner with the library to honor the legacy of Washington and imbue the next generation of our nations’ leaders with the exemplary standards of civic responsibility and leadership that our founding father possessed.”
USC Price was selected from among dozens of West Coast universities, both for its academic reputation and national ranking, as well as its commitment to the values that George Washington represented.
“USC Price is truly an ideal partner for us,” said Stewart McLaurin, vice president of the library. “There are tremendous parallels between the professional accomplishments of George Washington and the academic disciplines at USC Price. George Washington was a planner, surveyor, military leader and, of course, one of our nation’s finest chief executives — all noble academic and professional fields that students pursue at the school.”
The first component of the new partnership will be the Borthwick Lecture Series on George Washington, an annual bi coastal lecture program devoted to the life and legacy of Washington. The program will convene students, scholars, historians and the general public for an ongoing exploration of Washington’s personal and professional accomplishments. The first lecture, titled “Washington’s Leadership and His Vision of the American West,” will take place on Oct. 17 at Mount Vernon.
The event will feature USC University Professor Kevin Starr, who will discuss Washington’s interest in frontier expansion and how it shaped the nation’s approach to the American West.
Starr is one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on California history and American culture. He has authored 15 books on California and was named State Librarian Emeritus by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after serving as California State Librarian from 1994 to 2004.
In the coming years, USC Price will seek additional funds to expand the partnership. Additional program elements will include undergraduate and graduate student educational opportunities at Mount Vernon that will allow students to pursue research projects that explore aspects of Washington’s leadership and presidential legacy, as well as faculty research opportunities at the library.
About the University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international trade, USC enrolls more international students than any other U.S. university and offers extensive opportunities for internships and study abroad. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.
About the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
The USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, established in 1929, is one of the premier schools of its kind in the nation. Through a time-honored commitment to public service, a legacy of strong connections to professional leaders and a world-renowned research portfolio, the school’s faculty, students and alumni work to improve the quality of life for people and their communities worldwide. The USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is at the forefront of research and teaching on today’s major issues, including: housing and real estate markets, environmental sustainability, health care, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, governance and leadership, nonprofits and philanthropy, civic engagement, immigration and the impact of terrorism.
About George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. The Association’s latest venture, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, will open September 27, 2013.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Press Release-LSU Press to release book on "Secret Southern Society"

LSU Press to Release Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)

Book Traces Expansion of Nineteenth-Century Secret Southern Society

Baton Rouge-Based on years of exhaustive and meticulous research, David C. Keehn's study provides the first comprehensive analysis of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret southern society that initially sought to establish a slave-holding empire in the "Golden Circle" region of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Keehn reveals the origins, rituals, structure, and complex history of this mysterious group, including its later involvement in the secession movement. Members supported southern governors in precipitating disunion, filled the ranks of the nascent Confederate Army, and organized rearguard actions during the Civil War.

The Knights of the Golden Circle emerged in 1858 when a secret society formed by a Cincinnati businessman merged with the pro-expansionist Order of the Lone Star, which already had 15,000 members. In 1860, during their first attempt to create the Golden Circle, several thousand Knights assembled in southern Texas to "colonize" northern Mexico. Due to insufficient resources and organizational shortfalls, however, that filibuster failed. Later, the Knights shifted their focus and began pushing for disunion, spearheading pro secession rallies, and intimidating Unionists in the South.

According to Keehn, the Knights likely carried out a variety of other clandestine actions before the Civil War, including attempts by insurgents to take over federal forts in Virginia and North Carolina, and a planned assassination of Abraham Lincoln as he passed through Baltimore in early 1861 on the way to his inauguration. Once the fighting began, the Knights helped build the emerging Confederate Army and assisted with the pro-Confederate Copperhead movement in northern states. With the war all but lost, various Knights supported one of their members, John Wilkes Booth, in his plot to assassinate President Lincoln.

Keehn's fast-paced, engaging narrative demonstrates that the Knights' influence proved more substantial than historians have traditionally assumed and provides a new perspective on southern secession and the outbreak of the Civil War.

David C. Keehn is an attorney from Allentown, Pennsylvania, with a history degree from Gettysburg College and a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

April 15, 2013
328 pages, 6 x 9, 41 halftones
ISBN 978-0-8071-5004-7
Cloth $39.95

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Upcoming Post--My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy

Thanks go out to George Winston Martin for kindly sending along a nicely autographed copy of his new book My Brother, My Friend, My Enemy: A Novel of the American Civil War.

Mr. Martin is the author of the highly regarded book I Will Give Them One More Shot: Ramsey's First Regiment Georgia Volunteers published in 2011 by Mercer University Press.  Mr. Martin publishes a blog dealing with the 1st Georgia Volunteers. I highly recommend you take a look by clicking here.  You may also keep up with him by checking his website here. I found out from his website that he is a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University which I worked at many years ago at the start of my college book selling career. Small world huh?

Here's a preview of My Brother... from Amazon and also the back cover of the book:

Caught up in the calamity of a nation teetering on the brink of Civil War, two brothers, both Southern-born but separated by hundreds of miles and vastly differing traditions, struggle to find themselves in the radically opposing cultures of North and South. William Marsh of Dahlonega, Georgia, enthusiastically answers his state's call for volunteers and marches off to war. While naively searching for glory, he pines for beautiful Mary Stewart, a temptress who rewards his affections with deceit as she obsesses over Jonathon Evans, a rogue and William's sworn enemy. Residing with relatives in the rugged mountains of Northern New Hampshire, William's older brother Thomas struggles against inner demons and regional prejudice, all the while daring to love the intelligent and passionate Stephanie Carroll, whose rabidly anti-Southern uncle schemes to drive them apart. As the nation tears itself apart in ever more bloody clashes, the brothers not only face perils and temptations at home, but also the hazards of distant battlefields, as their destinies thrust them into the ranks of opposing armies - where one wears gray, and the other blue.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Upcoming Post-Leonidas Polk Biography

Thanks going out to my good friends at The History Press for sending along a copy of their new release Confederate General Leonidas Polk: Louisiana's Fighting Bishop written by Cheryl White.

Polk has been the subject of several other biographies but I have not read any of them so I am interested in learning more about the "Fighting Bishop". This book looks to follow the fairly standard History Press format coming in at just over 100 pages of text and containing ample b/w illustrations. Priced at under $20 the price is right.

From the back cover:

Leonidas Polk is one of the most fascinating figures of the Civil War. Consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church and commissioned as a general into the Confederate army, Polk's life in both spheres blended into a unique historical composite. Polk was a man with deep religious convictions but equally committed to the Confederate cause. He baptized soldiers on the eve of bloody battles, administered last rites and even presided over officers' weddings, all while leading his soldiers into battle. Historian Cheryl White examines the life of this soldier-saint and the legacy of a man who unquestionably brought the first viable and lively Protestant presence to Louisiana and yet represents the politics of one of the darkest periods in American history.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Release--The Prairie Boys Go To War

Thanks go out to the great folks at Southern Illinois University Press for sending along a copy of The Prairie Boys Go to War: The Fifth Illinois Cavalry, 1861-1865 . Written by Rhonda M. Kohl, this is "...the only modern, comprehensive analysis of a southern Illinois regiment during the Civil War and combines well-documented military history with a cultural analysis of the men who served in the Fifth Illinois.

"The regiment’s history unfolds around major events in the Western Theater from 1861 to September 1865, including campaigns at Helena, Vicksburg, Jackson, and Meridian, as well as numerous little-known skirmishes. Although they were led almost exclusively by Northern-born Republicans, the majority of the soldiers in the Fifth Illinois remained Democrats. As Kohl demonstrates, politics, economics, education, social values, and racism separated the line officers from the common soldiers, and the internal friction caused by these cultural disparities led to poor leadership, low morale, disciplinary problems, and rampant alcoholism.

"The narrative pulls the Fifth Illinois out of historical oblivion, elucidating the highs and lows of the soldiers’ service as well as their changing attitudes toward war goals, religion, liberty, commanding generals, Copperheads, and alcoholism. By reconstructing the cultural context of Fifth Illinois soldiers, Prairie Boys Go to War reveals how social and economic traditions can shape the wartime experience."

With over 30 pages of end notes and a 10 page bibliography the research appears to be quite thorough. The book contains 10 maps, several of which are full page and 12 b/w photos.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Press Release--The Reckoning: Saga of a Civil War Blockade Runner

Thanks to author Bob Larranaga for sending along a nicely signed copy of his new work of fiction The Reckoning: Saga of a civil war blockade runner . Recently published through the Createspace platform the book has received a couple of nice comments already and looks like it would be a book that anybody interested in adventure fiction would enjoy.

"Ex-soldier Ed Canfield is haunted by what he did in the Mexican American War. When the Civil War erupts, he bars his son from joining the Confederate army. But an attack by a Union gunboat forces them deep into the Everglades where Yellow Fever strikes their refugee camp. In a race against time, Ed runs the Union blockade for the medicine needed to save the refugees. In his absence, renegade rebels take Ed's love ones hostage. Saving them will test Ed's soldier's heart to the core."

Mr. Larranaga has a website for his book that you may visit, just click here. The site is nicely done and includes biographical information, book club ideas, a contest, links, and more. Please take a minute to have a look.

For those who are Amazon Prime members you may borrow the book for free from the Amazon Kindle Lending Library.