Friday, May 29, 2009

ThisMightyScourge Interview

Earlier this evening I had the pleasure of being interviewed by my good friend, Mike Noirot, for his blog ThisMightyScourge. The focus was the new book by me and Steve Stanley, The Complete Gettysburg Guide, and it was an honor to be able to discuss the book with Mike. A month or so ago, when Mike offered to interview me for his very popular blog, I sent him electronic files of the book (since we didn't have any hard copies yet) to give him a chance to see it.

Mike's digitally-reproduced interviews are a very popular feature of his blog. Visitors to the site are able to hear these interviews, and because their presentation is much more personal and candid than a text-only interview, I believe readers will enjoy them very much. Mike is actually breaking ground with these interviews - the only similar presentation, for instance, are venues such as Civil War Talk Radio (on which I appeared a couple years ago). In these interviews, you get to hear authors and historians talk personally about their projects, and I predict that Mike's readership will grow enormously as these interviews become more and more popular.

I first met Mike a couple years ago in Gettysburg, through a mutual friend, Duane Siskey. Mike is a very dedicated student of the Civil War and history, and our interview discussion shows that he is a very well read Gettysburg scholar. He asked me really terrific questions about the book, and it was enjoyable talking about how the project began, and how co-author Steve Stanley and I worked through the process of making the book the way it is in its final form. And as I told Mike at the end of the interview, the first time I see someone using the book out on the Gettysburg battlefield, my heart will skip a beat and I'll know that all of our effort was more than worth it.

Mike expects to have the interview up on his blog by Monday, June 1. Please check it out and I hope listeners enjoy it as much as I did. It will give you a lot of background information and behind-the-scenes stuff about the book, and Steve and I are very grateful for Mike's support and appreciation for it. I was humbled when he said he couldn't wait to get back out on the battlefield with the book, and that's the nicest compliment that anyone can receive. Steve and I did this book for everyone from the newest visitor to the most informed student of Gettysburg, and we hope that everyone enjoys and learns from it.

Mike, thank you again for the interview and the great discussion!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Second edition of The Complete Gettysburg Guide ordered!

Steve Stanley and I, as well as our publisher Savas Beatie LLC, are proud and humbled to announce that a second edition of The Complete Gettysburg Guide has just been ordered - and the first edition isn't expected to arrive from the printer for another couple of weeks. Pre-release sales and activity has made it obvious that the first edition would barely last beyond release - and for that we are all very grateful to everyone who has ordered the book and expressed interest in it! The first edition print run was itself rather sizable, but it has become necessary to order a second run that can be shipped early in June to fulfill demand.

So if anyone who has not yet ordered the book wishes to have a first edition - and at the risk of sounding like I'm only shilling books - please do order very soon. Those that have already ordered (or order very quickly) from our book website, or Savas Beatie's site, are guaranteed a first edition of the book (the Special Editions available only on our site are comprised of only first editions obviously). However, if you wait much longer to order we may run out of first editions to fill regular orders. If you've ordered from online sites and storefronts, you should get a first edition. But again, if you wait a few weeks or wait to see it on a store shelf later on, you likely may not see a first edition. (Okay, shilling over!)

Steve and I had a small supply of the books pulled and sent to us directly from the printer (at rather great cost per book) so that we would have them for the Civil War Preservation Trust Conference in Gettysburg next week. We'll have those until we run out at the Conference book sale on Thursday June 4. But we won't have any more until a couple weeks later when the distributor receives them, and we'll begin shipping out our website orders. We expect all orderers to have their copy by June 15 if not a bit sooner.

Gettysburg trip(s)

My apologies to my readers for not posting in a while, but I've been taking a long-deserved break of sorts and doing lots of family stuff lately. I realized recently that I've been writing constantly for about the past four years - three books, several articles, and several other projects - and felt it was time to take a little break. Over the holiday weekend, Karen and I took our daughter out in the boat and we did a lot of fishing - and actually caught fish! It was a relaxing time, and I also got quite a number of projects done around the house that have been waiting much of those four years. I still have several more projects to complete, and have promised myself that I'm going to do them this summer in spite of the fact that I'm starting the next book in late July (a very exciting project with Steve Stanley - more to come about this!).

This Sunday afternoon, I'm driving to Gettysburg to meet up again with my publisher Ted Savas (see his post about his travels this weekend), and to also meet Savas Beatie marketing director Sarah Keeney. We're going to do a little battlefield trekking, and also meet with several distributors. I have to come back home late Monday night, spend Tuesday and Wednesday morning in the office, then drive back to Gettysburg in the afternoon to attend the Civil War Preservation Conference. At the CWPT's Wyndham Hotel HQ on Thursday, Steve and I will have a book signing for our new The Complete Gettysburg Guide. My other books will also be available in addition to several other Savas Beatie titles. I'm very much looking forward to seeing old friends there, as well as making many new ones.
Steve and I have a bunch of book signings scheduled through June and July, and soon I will post the schedule here as well as on the new book's website. I always enjoy them very much - there's nothing I like better than interacting with folks about the books, and hearing their comments and criticisms. Feedback is very, very important to me. I hope to see many of my friends on the fields very soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009 Presentation Sept. 20

I'm very excited to have been asked by the folks of the fabulous GettysburgDaily website to do a presentation for the site this September 20. That day, I will be meeting Bobby Housch to do a taping of tours of the battles of Hunterstown (July 2), Fairfield (July 3) and - if there is time - South Cavalry Field (July 3 - Merritt and Farnsworth).

I've been addicted to the website for some time now. It features very interesting photographic studies of what is going on with the field and town, historic battle and town studies, and video tours by rangers, Guides, and historians. I'm honored to have been asked to participate based on the tours and narratives of the new book I've done with Steve Stanley, The Complete Gettysburg Guide. The taping is a ways off due to the fact that Bobby is literally booked up with presentations through the summer, but I thought I'd give everyone a heads up. Steve Stanley will also be along, and we will likely have some of Steve's maps from the book up on the site. Steve has mapped for the very first time, for instance, the opening skirmishes of the fights at Hunterstown and Fairfield, in addition to the several maps of the battles. He's also done the most accurate and detailed maps of Merritt's skirmish and Farnsworth's Charge on South Cavalry Field ever done. You can only find these in the book.

I'd say I hope they shoot me from my best side, but too many folks I know are likely to comment that it would mean you wouldn't see my face....

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Sickles at Gettysburg" - Jim Hessler's must-have biography of Ol' Dan

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Jim Hessler's upcoming (June 2009) biography of Dan Sickles - Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg. Published by Savas Beatie LLC, this much-anticipated book will be, in my opinion, the seminal work on Sickles at Gettysburg as well as the must-have military biography of the general. Love him or hate him, Sickles is a pivotal figure of the battle, and much has been written about his role on July 2. Jim has presented a very thoughtful, reasoned, balanced, and extremely well-documented treatise of Sickles' controversial participation on the Union left during the second day of battle, as well as his influence on the rest of the Gettysburg Campaign, not to mention Sickles' infinitely interesting post-battle life and career.

I have read the other published biographies, as well as more material on Sickles' Gettysburg role than I care to remember. Jim's book will place all of the extant material in perspective, and I believe will drive much of the opinions to come. Jim has no agenda or axe to grind with his book - he simply presents (in more detail than I've ever seen) all of the facts and circumstances that led to Sickles' controversial move of his 3rd Federal Corps forward from the Cemetery Ridge line on July 2. And the biographical details that Jim provides convinced me that previous to this book, I knew much less about the general than I thought I did.

The July 2009 issue of America's Civil War magazine also contains an article on Sickles at Gettysburg by Jim, based on his book. It's on newsstands now - check out the article for a taste of what is in the book, and don't miss the discussion of the "Sickles Chomping on a Cigar" battlefield story.

I must also compliment publisher Ted Savas and his design folks for the beauty of the cover of this book. It is wonderfully done. Last night, Jim forwarded an electronic image of the full cover of the book, and I was very impressed. Savas is well known for having the best book covers in the business (they have done a beautiful job with all of mine) and this one is gorgeous.

Congratulations to Jim on giving us what will be the standard Sickles work, and an infinitely interesting read that everyone will thoroughly enjoy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Civil War Preservation Trust online bookstore

I'm quite honored that the Civil War Preservation Trust's 2009 Annual Conference in Gettysburg's "Recommended Reading List" features all three of my books. The Complete Gettysburg Guide (with Steve Stanley), Plenty of Blame To Go Around (with Eric Wittenberg), and One Continuous Fight (with Eric and Michael Nugent) are all on the list.

As an aside, I'm also excited to hear that Mike will be a guest on Civil War Talk Radio later this month. Mike, a policeman in Maine and retired Army (armored cavalry) officer, should provide an extremely entertaining interview! I was on CWTR a couple of years ago and enjoyed it very much. Congratulations, Mike, and I will put up more details about your interview shortly.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Hallowed Ground" article

Those you who do not receive the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) magazine Hallowed Ground can still view the article mentioned in the previous post that is based on the new book The Complete Gettysburg Guide. Click HERE to read the article, and see Steve Stanley's maps and photographs that also appear in the book.

The article is based on the chapter in our book about the June 26, 1863 skirmishes near Gettysburg at Marsh Creek and the Witmer Farm (Bayly's Hill). The book chapter goes into much more detail and also contains driving/walking tours of the areas.