Monday, April 09, 2018

Charles P. Roland turns 100

Happy Birthday to Charles P. Roland, who wrotein my opinionthe best short, single-volume history of the Civil War: An American Iliad: The Story of the Civil War (University Press of Kentucky). 

I had the pleasure of sitting with Dr. Roland at dinner one evening, during a Jerry Russell-sponsored battlefield conference. When he learned I had attended college in Evansville, Indiana, it reminded him of his best buddy in WWII, who hailed from Evansville, and Roland related some stories from their adventures at the Battle of the Bulge. 

Roland is a great historian, a fascinating man, and a pleasant dinner companion. I'm glad to hear he's still going strong. Roland also wrote what used to me, and what may still be, the only scholarly biography of General Albert Sydney Johnston (Albert Sydney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics). While visiting the Shiloh battlefield last weekend, where Johnston was killed, I noticed that this (now revised) book is still in print (also from the University Press of Kentucky). 

Those are two great books from a great university press. Here's hoping Governor Matt Bevin's "petty and barbaric" (quoting eminent Kentuckian Wendell Berry) efforts to close the press are thwarted.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Power of History (Bay Area Book Festival)
There's an interesting American History presence at this April's Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley. Wish I could be there for this discussion, but alas, I'll be traipsing around Old Cahawba Archaeological Park that weekend. 

The Power of History: Turning Groundbreaking Scholarship into Page-Turning Prose

Edward L. Ayers, Peter Cozzens, Joel Richard Paul, T. J. Stiles, moderated by Steve Wasserman
Saturday, April 28
11:15 AM - 12:45 PM 

Is best-selling history bad history? Does good history have to be dull reading? Four award-winning historians and biographers talk about the big questions of American history and reveal how they explore them through captivating narratives that win esteem in the academy yet appeal to wide audiences. Bancroft and Lincoln prize winner Edward Ayers (whose many works focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction), Gilder Lehrman Military History Prize winner Peter Cozzens (most recently “The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West”), Pulitzer and National Book Award laureate T.J. Stiles (most recently “Custer’s Trials: A Life on a Frontier of New America” and “The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt”), and Hastings Law Professor Joel Richard Paul (most recently “Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times”) talk with Steve Wasserman, executive director of Heyday Books, former editor at Yale University Press, and former book review editor of the Los Angeles Times.
BAMPFA - Osher Theater
Sponsored by Reed Schmidt, with partial support from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

Monday, February 19, 2018

Rosebud and Little Bighorn battlefield tours (October 2018)

I'm very happy to announce a new tour happening in October, covering the Battles of the Rosebud, and Little Bighorn, with some essential side trips. Neil Mangum, former historian at LBH, and author of the definitive work on the Rosebud, helped customize a unique 4-day outing that will comprehensively cover both battlefields, and take in many other important sites associated with those events, including Deer Medicine Rocks (where Sitting Bull described his sun dance vision of soldiers falling into camp like grasshoppers falling from the sky). See the flyer here for more details.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

two new GRANT books hot off the presses

It was a big summer and fall for the nation's 18th president. . . Click on the image to go to the publisher's site:

  • Hardcover: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition
    (October 10, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159420487X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204876

  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
    (August 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700624848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700624843

Saturday, November 04, 2017

US Army 29th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve patch with a blue and gray monad

Shoulder sleeve insignia of the United States Army 29th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Blue and Gray Division, based on their circular blue and gray badge with a yin-yang design, or monad, a Korean symbol of eternal life. The colors symbolize the Division tradition of being formed by men whose forefathers fought in the Civil War, for both Union blue and Confederate gray. The 116th infantry regiment of the 29th Division was part of the first wave assault to land at Omaha Beach on D Day, June 6, 1944. They suffered heavy losses, but pushed on to relieve and reinforce combat units inland. At the end of September they were fighting on the German border and, in March 1945, were ordered to attack in the heavily defended Ruhr industrial region. 

On April 3rd, the Division liberated Dinslaken civilian labor camp. They had pushed on to the Elbe River when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. The 29th Infantry served in the Army of Occupation in Frankfurt and Bremen until returning to the US on January 4, 1946, where they were inactivated on January 17.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

General Grant at his new City Point headquarters
From a recent post on one of my favorite Facebook pages

"Wow, I have long liked this detail with General Grant at right at his new City Point headquarters, early summer 1864, but did not until just now did I notice the captured Confederate flag leaning against the tree at left! You can never scour the details of these photos too often."