Happy Birthday to Charles P. Roland, who wrote—in my opinion—the 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
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
Monday, February 19, 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
Saturday, November 04, 2017
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
"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."