Simon & Schuster

My thanks to Leah Wasielewski at Simon & Schuster, who has apparently decided that blogs are a good source of publicity for new Civil War books. I see from Dimitri Rotov’s blog that he has received advance copies of the same new books that I have: The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Boritt and Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney by James Simon.

My fellow bloggers on Civil Warriors are all professionals, so they are used to receiving review copies of new books; but for me, this is an exciting first. I just received my copies last night, but have already pounced on Boritt’s book, which is a history of the Gettysburg Address and its reputation over the past 143 years – an examination of the ways in which the meaning attributed to Lincoln’s words has evolved over time. So far I find it very satisfying, and I agree with Dimitri that it is a positive development to see this sort of work directed at the general reading public. It’s also interesting to see that at least one trade publisher has so quickly recognized the value of specialized bloggers in getting the word out about new books.

Oh yes – in the same package, S & S included Union 1812: The Americans Who Fought the Second War of Independence, by A.J. Langguth, author of the very excellent popular work Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution. I’m excited to see this development as well, because the War of 1812 deserves far more attention from the trade publishers.

A Postscript: Kevin Levin has quite legitimately raised the issue of our responsibilities as bloggers not to avoid negative assessments of books out of appreciation and/or in hopes of receiving future books. I gave this some thought soon after I was offered the books and quickly concluded that, considering the personalities currently involved in Civil War blogging, any unwarranted praise for a book is not likely to go unchallenged. Right, guys? :)

Comments (1) to “Simon & Schuster”

  1. Sean,

    Just a couple of comments. First, like you, I am very interested in the War of 1812, and it is definitely encouraging to see a popular release on that obscure conflict. Second, I agree with Kevin (and I’m sure the other bloggers do too) that we all have a responsibility to give an honest assessment, even if that assessment is negative and might prevent the possibility of future free books. Of the books I have received at no expense to myself (only three at this point), I have been fortunate to receive three solid works. I have been contemplating sending review requests to several of the University Presses. If I ever find the time to do that (likely later this winter), I hope to do a few blog entries on the process.

    Brett S.