Library Additions: October 2018 (1)

Thank you to the good people at Da Capo Press for providing a complimentary copy of the new book A Fierce Glory: Antietam–The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery  written by Justin Martin. ISBN 9780306825255, cover price $28.

From the publisher website:

On September 17, 1862, the “United States” was on the brink, facing a permanent split into two separate nations. America’s very future hung on the outcome of a single battle–and the result reverberates to this day. Given the deep divisions that still rive the nation, given what unites the country, too, Antietam is more relevant now than ever.

The epic battle, fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was a Civil War turning point. The South had just launched its first invasion of the North; victory for Robert E. Lee would almost certainly have ended the war on Confederate terms. If the Union prevailed, Lincoln stood ready to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. He knew that freeing the slaves would lend renewed energy and lofty purpose to the North’s war effort. Lincoln needed a victory to save the divided country, but victory would come at a price. Detailed here is the cannon din and desperation, the horrors and heroes of this monumental battle, one that killed 3,650 soldiers, still the highest single-day toll in American history.

Justin Martin, an acclaimed writer of narrative nonfiction, renders this landmark event in a revealing new way. More than in previous accounts, Lincoln is laced deeply into the story. Antietam represents Lincoln at his finest, as the grief-racked president–struggling with the recent death of his son, Willie–summoned the guile necessary to manage his reluctant general, George McClellan. The Emancipation Proclamation would be the greatest gambit of the nation’s most inspired leader. And, in fact, the battle’s impact extended far beyond the field; brilliant and lasting innovations in medicine, photography, and communications were given crucial real-world tests. No mere gunfight, Antietam rippled through politics and society, transforming history.

A Fierce Glory is a fresh and vibrant account of an event that had enduring consequences that still resonate today.

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World War I Centennial Event in Geneva, FL

Press release from the Geneva Historical & Genealogical Society:

leinster-colour-40~ Oct. 10, Wed. – Come to a WWI Centennial Memorial for Perry Taylor of Geneva and the other 500+ who died on the RMS Leinster in the Irish Sea on Oct. 10, 1918, when it was hit by 3 German torpedoes just before the end of WWI. Memorials are being held in Ireland and other Allied countries on the same day. Most of those killed were military young men and women. It is at 2:00 PM, in Geneva Cemetery, Cemetery Road, off 1st Street. Come honor those who died as well as our military men and women from WWI buried in Geneva. We are the only U.S. community having the Memorial for the 6 U.S. soldiers who drowned.

Art in Public Places–DeLand, Florida

Art is all around us. Some cities are enthusiastic supporters of public art and work to make sure their landscapes are enhanced with art, whether it be murals, sculptures, or other types. The city of DeLand, Florida is one of those cities.

Take a look at this page hosted by Maintstreet DeLand to review an amazing series of murals that can be found throughout the city. Here is an interesting look at Florida and DeLand history on the sides of local businesses. Also included in the listing is a page showcasing a series of plaques recognizing historical buildings. You can learn a lot about early DeLand history by taking this walk.

If you are more interested in sculpture how about taking the DeLand Sculpture Walk, available through the Museum of Art—DeLand. My personal favorite is American Dog, by Dale Rogers, that is located at the fire station. On this page you can also learn about the DeLand Utility Box Art Project, which is an innovative way to disguise the rather ugly utility boxes that dot modern American streets.

No matter where you live or visit, keep your eyes open. There is wonderful public art available for your viewing pleasure. Some is traditional, some is modern, a lot of it is just plain funky. It’s up to you to find and enjoy it.

Have a favorite piece of public art? Share it with us by commenting.

New Book on World War II Era Sherman Tanks

ATGLEN, PA – Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. would like to introduce Sherman Tank Vol. 1: America’s M4A1 Medium Tank in World War II (Legends of Warfare: Ground) by David Doyle.

This book documents the development and production of the M4A1 through its many variations, as well as its combat use around the globe. Produced by Lima Locomotive Works, Pressed Steel Car Company, and Pacific Car and Foundry, the M4A1 was the first of the famed Sherman tanks and preceded the welded-hull M4 into production. Powered by a nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine, the M4A1 fought in North Africa with both US and British forces, across northwestern Europe, and on Pacific Islands with both the Army and the Marines, serving well into the 1950s. The evolving design went through three major hull designs, multiple turret designs, and armament with either a 75 mm or 76 mm gun—all of which are detailed in this book. Extensive archival photographs are augmented by stunning color images of preserved tanks, taking the reader around and inside this famed warhorse. Part of the Legends of Warfare series.

David Doyle’s earliest published works appeared in periodicals aimed at the historic military vehicle restoration hobby. By 1999, this included regular features in leading hobby publications, appearing regularly in US, English and Polish magazines. Since 2003, over 100 of his books have been published. Broadening his horizons from his inital efforts concerning vehicles, he soon added aircraft and warships to his research objectives.

New World War I Related Exhibit at Musee de l’Armee Invalides

A major new exhibition at the Musée de l’Armée (if you visit the museum website you may translate to English through the drop down menu in the upper right corner) opening musee de l'armee invalidesin October will retrace the reorganization of the Eastern Europe and the Near East from 1918 with the loose conglomeration of disturbances, violence and instability. The exhibition will explore this little-known period in history marked by revolutions, civil wars, major border shifts and the creation of new states.

While the conflicts came to an end on 11 November 1918 in Western Europe, the Great War allowed in the East until 1923. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to understand the complex struggles of the Eastern Europe and the Near East whose repercussions can still be seen today.

In the wake of the fall of the empires – Russian, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and German – some new countries were created by treaties which were soon contested. The Treaty of Sèvre, signed on 10 August 1920 by Turkey and the Allies, was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24 July 1923.

The exhibition sets out to show how, in this troubled context of the resolution of the First World War, France tried, with some difficulty, to put its military dominance to use in bringing stability to the region within a complex partnership of allies.

READ THE PRESS RELEASE

Rufus Pinkney Mural Unveiled in DeLand

RufusWe all live somewhere; whether it be a town, village, or city; urban or rural, small town or giant metropolis. What makes it home though is a sense of community. Men like Rufus Pinkney are what makes a community.

You don’t know who Rufus Pinkney was? Well you must not have lived in DeLand, Florida at any time for the past sixty odd years. Rufus was an institution in the downtown area. Even if you didn’t know his name you knew who he was. He was a local legend. Was he a sports star? Was he a political figure or a prominent banker or lawyer? No. Mr. Pinkney shined shoes. That’s right. He shined shoes and he was a more beloved representative of small town community than any sports star could be.

Rufus was born June 12, 1932 in Palatka to parents Pearl and Rufus Pinkney. As a child the family moved to Miami before Rufus left south Florida, ending up in Mississippi where he met his future wife, Mary Louise Gray. Rufus and Mary had two children; a daughter Sharon and a son, also named Rufus.

Pinkney operated his shoe shine business out of a small building located in the parkingRufus 2 lot near 127 E. New York Avenue. Here, according to a Daytona Beach News-Journal article “…is a jumble of polishes, brushes, calendars, shelves of gleaming shoes, and more signs. One praises him as the “Master Engineer in Charge of Preserving the Primary Means of Personal Locomotion,’ and a bulletin board [was] thickly thumbtacked with business cards.” His shop was most recently adorned with a sign painted by Stephen Danko showing an alligator shoe with the words “Shoes Shined by Rufus”. Mark Lane of the News-Journal reports that Pinkney had shined shoes in Deland since 1955 and before that in St. Augustine at the old railroad station.

In addition to his skill at shining shoes, Rufus was a well-known local harmonica player and received the gift of being a great conversationalist. He was an elder at Greater Refuge Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. When you saw him he was always dressed well and of course his shoes were never scuffed.

Rufus passed away September 12, 2016 after suffering a stroke. In his 84 years though he touched many lives. Personally, I can remember Rufus from back in the late 1980’s and early 90’s when I worked in downtown DeLand. He used to always stop in for his daily coffee. Sometimes more than once a day would we see him. He never really lingered long though he was always pleasant and had a smile and kind word for everyone. He couldn’t linger because he was busy. He had to get back to the shop and take care of business.

Recently the City of DeLand unveiled a mural in Mr. Pinkey’s honor near where his popular shoe shine stand used to be. It is only fitting that he be remembered in this way. Please read more about the mural unveiling and see several photos here.

Florida Lecture Series at Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College has posted their 2018-2019 Florida Lecture Series schedule and it looks like some good speakers are lined up. Lectures start at 7pm and will be at different locations on campus. Click the link at the bottom of this post for more information and specific campus locations.

Speakers and topics include:

September 13
Gilbert King (Pulitzer Prize-winning Author)
“Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found”

October 25
Leslie Kemp Poole (Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Rollins College)
“Saving Florida: Women’s Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century”

November 29
Anne Rosen and Claudia Slate (Writers)
“Reflections from a Civil Rights Journalist: St. Augustine and Beyond”

JANUARY 10, 2019
Tracy Jean Revels (Professor of History, Wofford College)
“Florida’s Civil War: A Family Story”

February 7, 2019
David Head (Author and Lecturer, University of Central Florida)
“Privateers of the Americas”

March 21, 2019
John Capouya (Professor of Journalism, University of Tampa)
“Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to K.C. and the Sunshine Band”

For more information visit the Center for Florida History website.

Pressure: A World War II Play

PressureDuring our recent vacation we had the privilege to see the play Pressure performed at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. Written by, and starring, David Haig, Pressure tells the story of Scottish meteorologist James Stagg and his role in convincing Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to postpone the D-Day invasion due to deteriorating weather conditions.

The storyline focuses on the 72 hours preceding the anticipated launch of Allied forcesHaig and Cairns Pressure in their effort to push back German troops and ultimately regain control of France and the continent. American meteorologist Colonel Irving P. Krick, portrayed by Phillip Cairns, however has the ear of Eisenhower, portrayed by Malcolm Sinclair, and Stagg must overcome the influential and charismatic American. If Stagg is correct thousands of lives, and perhaps the entire mission, is saved. If he is wrong the Germans might get wind of the invasion, send reinforcements, and be in a position to defend the coast.

It is hard to imagine that anybody attending the performance doesn’t know Eisenhower’s decision. He ultimately sides with Stagg, who is proven correct as the weather turned dramatically for the worse. D-Day was pushed back to June 6 with the Allies ultimately being successful in penetrating the coast of France which helped lead to the final victory over Nazi Germany.

While Stagg comes off as gruff and difficult, his more delicate side is shown in a sub-plot revolving around his wife’s pregnancy. An earlier birth was difficult and Stagg has received word she is showing the same signs this time. What started out as a rocky relationship with Kay Summersby, portrayed by Laura Rogers, who is Eisenhower’s chauffer, turns to friendship and respect with Summersby providing support for the overburdened Stagg.

Sinclair and Rogers PressurePlaywright Haig also hints at the often discussed relationship between Eisenhower and Summersby. Whether there was ultimately a physical relationship will never be decided. There is not an agreement from those who knew both as to what their relationship was.

I found the storyline interesting and well done. The performers did a great job. The setting is an intimate one. The theatre itself was nice and it did not seem like there was a bad seat in the house. We were towards the rear of the theatre but had no vision or sound problems. Ticket prices for our seats were more than reasonable at only $15.

While a play about 1944 weather probably isn’t one that would immediately attract the interest of most people, I would say don’t miss this one.

All photos are from the play and are not my own.

Press Release: Forgotten Soldiers of World War I

ATGLEN, PA – Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. would like to introduce Forgotten Soldiers of World War I: America’s Immigrant Doughboys  by Alexander F. Barnes & Peter L. Belmonte.

“A really well researched book. This book tells about the nationalities of the soldiers who were in the American Army in the First World War. It tells us where they were from, where they fought and what happened to them. This is a fascinating read about bravery and men who sacrificed so much to fight for a country they wanted to belong to. This is a fascinating and insightful read” – NetGalley reviewer.
This book covers the entire spectrum of military service during World War I. It gives examples, including many photographs, from almost every ethnic and national group in the United States during this time. Including draft registration, induction and training, stateside service, overseas service, combat, return home, and discharge, learn the history of America’s foreign-born soldiers during World War I and how they adapted to military service to become part of the successful American Expeditionary Forces.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexander F. Barnes served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer. He retired as a Department of the Army Civilian in 2015 and is currently the Virginia National Guard Command Historian. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology and has authored: In a Strange Land; The American Occupation of Germany 1918-1923 (2010), Let’s Go! The History of the 29th Division 1917-2001 (2014), To Hell with the Kaiser, America prepares for War (2015), and Desert Uniforms, Patches, and Insignia of the US Armed Forces (Schiffer Publishing 2016).Peter L. Belmonte is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and freelance historian. A veteran of Operation Desert Storm, he holds a master’s degree in history from California State University, Stanislaus. He has published articles, book chapters, reviews, and papers about immigration and military history and has been a college adjunct instructor of history. Pete has written two books: Italian Americans in World War II (2001) and Days of Perfect Hell: The U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, October-November, 1918 (Schiffer Publishing, 2015)

Library Additions–August 2018 (1)

Thank you to my friends at Southern Illinois University Press for sending along a copy of Sixteenth President-in-Waiting: Abraham Lincoln and the Springfield Dispatches of Henry Villard, 1860–1861 edited/written by the very knowledgeable Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame.

From the publisher website:

Between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and his departure for Washington three months later, journalist Henry Villard sent scores of dispatches from Springfield, Illinois, to various newspapers describing the president-elect’s doings, quoting or paraphrasing his statements, chronicling events in the Illinois capital, and analyzing the city’s mood. With Sixteenth President-in-Waiting Michael Burlingame has collected all of these dispatches in one insightful and informative volume.

Best known as a successful nineteenth-century railroad promoter and financier, German-born Henry Villard (1835–1900) was also among the most conscientious and able journalists of the 1860s. The dispatches gathered in this volume constitute the most intensive journalistic coverage that Lincoln ever received, for Villard filed stories from the Illinois capital almost daily to the New York Herald, slightly less often to the Cincinnati Commercial, and occasionally to the San Francisco Bulletin.

Lincoln welcomed Villard and encouraged him to ask questions, as he was the only full-time correspondent for out-of-town papers. He spoke with inside sources, such as Lincoln’s private secretaries John G. Nicolay and John Hay, devoted friends like Jesse K. Dubois and Stephen T. Logan, political leaders like Governor Richard Yates, and journalists like William M. Springer and Robert R. Hitt.

Villard boasted that he did Lincoln a service by scaring off would-be office seekers who, fearing to see their names published in newspapers, gave up plans to visit the Illinois capital to badger the president-elect. Villard may have done an even greater service by publicizing Lincoln’s views on the secession crisis.

His little-known coverage of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Senate race, translated from the German for the first time, is included as an appendix. At the time Villard was an ardent Douglas supporter, and his reports criticized Lincoln.

Not only informative but also highly readable, Villard’s vivid descriptions of Lincoln’s appearance, daily routine, and visitors, combined with fresh information about Springfielders, state political leaders, and the capital, constitute an invaluable resource.

Hardcover. ISBN 9780809336432, $45.50. 407 pages, index, notes.