Back in the Saddle So to Speak

I have been out of commission for a while with computer problems. It started out looking like a Windows issue due to a Windows 10 update. My laptop would not let me sign in to my account but only as a temp account meaning I didn’t have direct access to any of my files or photos. I could get to them but not use them. A Google search found that this, while not a super common problem, is a known issue and was not virus related. Multiple fix suggestions were tried to no avail. It finally became apparent that my wife and I were not going to be able to fix this problem. A few computer repair shop recommendations later and out went my poor laptop for repairs. It turns out the hard drive was on its very last legs. Now all is back to working as it should. Of course I am way behind on a couple of contracted pieces of writing. A chapter for an edited volume on unknown Civil Rights workers in Florida is due the first week in June and I have a book project in the works for Arcadia that is due later this year. Let’s not forget the dozens of blog topics racing around in my head. And oh yeah, I am getting the graduate school itch again.

Anyway, it’s good to be back and I hope to see you on a more regular basis.

A Rant About Social Media

Recently I have noticed what I feel is a strange social media phenomenon on Twitter and Instagram. Why do people follow you only to wait for you to follow them back then unfollow you just days later? It seems like such a waste of time.

An example: my wife and I have three dogs and I had followed a Labrador retriever page on Instagram. When I post the occasional photo of one of my dogs I will use the hashtag Labradorretriever or labsofinstagram or something that many others do. All of a sudden I received probably five or six requests to follow from assorted lab pages. I approved them and followed them back, I love lab photos. So lo and behold within a few days they had almost all dropped me, I believe only two are still with me. Sure, I don’t overrun my pages with photos of my dogs so maybe I wasn’t of interest to them. Photos of my dogs are really only of interest to me but I enjoy sharing at times. I have the word historian in my profile, did you think there would be hundreds of dog photos?

Now my Twitter and Instagram accounts do not have large numbers of followers (yet, I suppose I should add) nor do I follow large numbers of people and organizations so I can tell when I get unfollowed. I have started tracking those who have recently followed me and it is almost always one of them who has unfollowed me. If I followed them back I will promise you I respond in kind with a quick unfollow.

Now there are times of course I have not followed back and maybe they got their feelings hurt. Maybe they didn’t like a post: I will post pro Civil Rights pieces on Twitter but then follow it up with a complaint against monument removal. If your skin is that thin I recommend leaving social media and crawling in a hole. For me the issue is, don’t try to run up your numbers and not reciprocate.

And as an FYI, my point is only being made about non famous/prominent individuals. I didn’t expect Stephen King to follow me back when I followed him on Twitter nor do I anticipate whoever runs the Mount Vernon pages to like mine when I follow them. If I follow I don’t really expect a follow back. It’s nice but not expected.

All that said, if you wish to follow me on social media, find the icons on this page and give them a click then like or follow!

Library Additions July 2017 (2)

I recently received a complimentary review copy of the self-published memoir Hilltop Doc: A Marine Corpsman Fighting Through the Mud and Blood of the Korean War written by Leonard Adreon.

As a Marine corpsman, Leonard Adreon saw some of the worst of the Korean War’s carnage and the best of its humanity. His gripping description brings to life the war between the Chinese army and the U.S. Marines as they battled to take the high ground. You will feel the anguish, the frustration and the terror endured by Marines on the hillsides of Korea, and how U.S. troops fought with valor and esprit de corps under adverse conditions and against massive Chinese forces. As a corpsman, Adreon tells the story from the unique perspective of a young man from St. Louis, with no medical background, thrown into the role of saving lives amid the war’s violence. He leavens the grim, emotional, and sometimes ironic battlefield scenes with his background story – of how his own mistakes and the military’s bumbling landed him at Korea’s 38th Parallel.

Learn more by visiting Mr. Adreon’s website by clicking HERE.

With my current writing being about Korean War vets this one will no doubt rise to near the top of my to be read pile considering the early reviews have been positive.

Library Additions–July 2017 (1)

Hurley, Richard. California and the Civil War (Civil War Series). Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2017. 176 pages, index, annotated bibliography, end notes, b/w photos. ISBN 9781625858245, $21.99.

Thank you to Arcadia Publishing for sending along a complimentary review copy. From their website:

In the long and bitter prelude to war, southern transplants dominated California government, keeping the state aligned with Dixie. However, a murderous duel in 1859 killed “Free Soil” U.S. Senator David C. Broderick, and public opinion began to change. As war broke out back east, a golden-tongued preacher named Reverend Thomas Starr King crisscrossed the state endeavoring to save the Golden State for the Union. Seventeen thousand California volunteers thwarted secessionist schemes and waged brutal campaigns against native tribesmen resisting white encroachment as far away as Idaho and New Mexico. And a determined battalion of California cavalry journeyed to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to battle John Singleton Mosby, the South’s deadliest partisan ranger. Author Richard Hurley delves into homefront activities during the nation’s bloodiest war and chronicles the adventures of the brave men who fought far from home.

Blue & Gray Magazine to Cease Publication

Today marks a sad day as the excellent Civil War magazine Blue & Gray announced they will cease publication. You may read their post outlining the reasons by clicking here. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect.

Please remember we have to support the independent publishers that remain, whether it be books or magazines, or they too may go the way of North & South several years ago and now Blue & Gray. Remember we almost lost Civil War News recently as well.

Library Additions–February 2017 (1)

Dirck, Brian R. Lincoln in Indiana. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 2017. Index, notes, bibliography, b/w photos. 132 pages, 92 pages text. ISBN 9780809335657, $24.95.

Abraham Lincoln, born in Kentucky in 1809, moved with his parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, and his older sister, Sarah, to the Pigeon Creek area of southern Indiana in 1816. There Lincoln spent more than a quarter of his life. It was in Indiana that he developed a complicated and often troubled relationship with his father, exhibited his now-famous penchant for self-education, and formed a restless ambition to rise above his origins. Although some questions about these years are unanswerable due to a scarcity of reliable sources, Brian R. Dirck’s fascinating account of Lincoln’s boyhood sets what is known about the relationships, values, and environment that fundamentally shaped Lincoln’s character within the context of frontier and farm life in early nineteenth-century midwestern America.

Lincoln in Indiana tells the story of Lincoln’s life in Indiana, from his family’s arrival to their departure. Dirck explains the Lincoln family’s ancestry and how they and their relatives came to settle near Pigeon Creek. He shows how frontier families like the Lincolns created complex farms out of wooded areas, fashioned rough livelihoods, and developed tight-knit communities in the unforgiving Indiana wilderness. With evocative prose, he describes the youthful Lincoln’s relationship with members of his immediate and extended family. Dirck illuminates Thomas Lincoln by setting him into his era, revealing the concept of frontier manhood, and showing the increasingly strained relationship between father and son. He illustrates how pioneer women faced difficulties as he explores Nancy Lincoln’s work and her death from milk sickness; how Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush, fit into the family; and how Lincoln’s sister died in childbirth. Dirck examines Abraham’s education and reading habits, showing how a farming community could see him as lazy for preferring book learning over farmwork. While explaining how he was both similar to and different from his peers, Dirck includes stories of Lincoln’s occasional rash behavior toward those who offended him. As Lincoln grew up, his ambitions led him away from the family farm, and Dirck tells how Lincoln chafed at his father’s restrictions, why the Lincolns decided to leave Indiana in 1830, and how Lincoln eventually broke away from his family.

In a triumph of research, Dirck cuts through the myths about Lincoln’s early life, and along the way he explores the social, cultural, and economic issues of early nineteenth-century Indiana. The result is a realistic portrait of the youthful Lincoln set against the backdrop of American frontier culture.

Thank you to Southern Illinois University Press for sending a complimentary review copy.

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome everybody. I have decided to take the next step in my writing and have a website. I want to thank my friend Victoria Perkins at Cut Above Designs for helping bring this to life.

So what will you find here? First off, I am a writer and museum executive director. You will find out about my writing; what I am working on, ideas, magazine pieces, etc. As a heads up, my second book Historic Sites and Landmarks of New Smyrna Beach will be published by The History Press in December. It will make a great Christmas gift!

In addition, I will also be posting book notices, book reviews, travel related pieces (both ideas and places that I have recently visited), press releases, interviews, and more. All will deal with history in some respect. These will be almost exclusively American history. Sure, I may throw an oddball piece in every now and then but it’s my site; I am allowed to.

I invite you to also follow me on social media. You can find my accounts by clicking on the icons near the bottom of the page.

As you can imagine, this page will be a work in progress. I am not a web designer so I’ll be going back to Victoria for help I am sure. I hope to add widgets that will enhance the site and be of interest to those who visit the site. Please be sure to check the tabs for further information such as contact info, more information about me, and updates on my books.

If you are a publisher rep, an author, or have a historically related product you would like me to take a look at, review, or post information on please click the “contact” link. If you would like me to promote your book/dvd/game/whatever by offering a give-away that can be arranged as well.

If you recognize me from my prior blogging life please realize this is where you will find me from now on. I will leave my earlier blog available but it is unlikely I will be updating much.

Well, I guess that is enough about me and what this website will be. For now, I am reading Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day and I hear it calling me. Again, I say welcome and I hope you enjoy what I have to share!