22 October 2006 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 10 comments

In addition to everything else on my plate, I am also the president, managing editor, and CFO of Ironclad Publishing. I am also the fulfillment department. In other words, I handle pretty much everything for the company but marketing and the vast majority of the copyediting (although I’ve done some of that, too). As if I don’t already have enough to do, right?

We just came out with a new title. The book is titled The Battle Between the Farm Lanes: Hancock Saves the Union Center; Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, and was written by Dave Shultz and David F. Wieck. Some of you may be aware of Dave Shultz’s excellent little book about the Federal artillery in Pickett’s Charge, Double Canister at Ten Yards: The Federal Artillery and the Repulse of Pickett’s Charge. Dave’s primary focus has always been on the artillery, but he also has a gift for incorporating the artillery’s role into the bigger picture, and the new book proves that beyond all doubt.

The farm lanes in question are the Trostle and Hummelbaugh farm lanes. The book addresses Hancock’s superb management of the fight that hot, dry afternoon, the magnificent stand of the 1st Minnesota infantry, and the hard fighting of the Second Corps that day. Like so much of the other work done by Dave and his former partner, the late Rich Rollins, this book emphasizes the role of the terrain in the development of the fighting. The book is part of Ironclad’s “The Discovering Civil War America Series”, and, like every other book in the series, it incldues a detailed walking/driving tour for those interested in seeing that portion of the battlefield in depth.

The production process takes time. In June, we decided to do a pre-publication special price, and the orders started coming in then. We also ran a fair amount of advertising in the magazines and in The Civil War News, so before we knew it, a whole bunch of orders waiting to be filled. It took about six weeks from the time that I sent the book to the printer until we had finished books, and then those finished books had to be shipped by the printer. In short, I just got three boxes of the books on Friday.

I spent about an hour yesterday doing the necessary bookkeeping, entering all of those orders into Quickbooks so that there is a full and complete record of all of these purchases.

It took Susan and me the better part of two hours and $125 in postage to get all of the pending orders filled. We shipped close to 50 orders today. We had to make two separate trips to the post office, as I missed four orders the first time around. It was a marathon, and, to be honest, I had been dreading it. Now, don’t get me wrong–I love books. I love the publishing process, and I especially love selling them. However, today was a sterling example of too much of a good thing. Hopefully, it’s going to be a while before I have that many orders to fill in one shot again.

Brett Schulte, your copy was one of the ones that I shipped today. I packed that sucker myself.

It still absolutely amazes me the way that books on Gettysburg sell. If it’s Gettysburg, it’s going to fly off the shelves. This book is apparently no exception to that rule.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Steve Basic
    Mon 23rd Oct 2006 at 1:29 am

    Eric,

    Just my opinion, and yes, books on Gettysburg sell, but am not surprised about the interest in the new book, as it focuses on a part of the battle in a more in depth way. Much like “Plenty of Blame To Go Around”, the subject deals with a certain aspect of the fighting there those 3 days in July.

    I have a hard time dealing with those who continually say that there is nothing more to write about Gettysburg. I agree in terms of books on the overall coverage of the battle, but am also a supporter of those who find a part of the battle, and they focus on that part of the battle.

    There are many stories of the battle that have been written about, but not in depth as many of us readers out there would like bookwise. To use an example, and just from touring with you down there, the tales of Calef and Dilger and their men deserve more looking into, IMHO. The same can be said for the entire XI Corps, as when I read about them at Gettysburg, they get ripped apart, which is not fair at all.

    And with all due respect to my Southern friends, while I enjoy and have read many books on Southern officers who fought there, to me there is a lack of books out on the Union officers who fought at Gettysburg. Hard for me to believe that no one has really tackled Meade from the time he found himself in charge of the Army of the Potomac. Howard is another who needs a fresh look as to his role at the battle. Yeah, I know they have been written about, but were written about eons ago, bookwise.

    The point I am making is, when folks tell me Gettysburg has been done, ad nauseum, they miss the point. And it is not just about Gettysburg here. More should be written about Vicksburg as well.

    Regards from the Garden State,

    Steve Basic

  2. Mon 23rd Oct 2006 at 10:01 am

    Amen, Steve.

    And as far as Union officers who served at Gettysburg, I quite agree. I think regarding Meade – and Eric can correct me if I have some details incorrect – Jeff Wert proposed tackling a new bio of Meade to several publishers. As I recall, none of them thought there’d be sufficient interest in Meade (I don’t know whether Wert approached commercial or university publishers, or both).

    There have been a number of articles lately dealing with Meade’s command decisions, and I think a modern military bio would be well received. And I think a fresh look at Meade with Grant and Sheridan in 64/65 would be interesting.

    Just my thoughts.

    J.D.

  3. Steve Basic
    Tue 24th Oct 2006 at 3:11 am

    J.D.,

    That’s why I don’t get publishers. Meade at Gettysburg is a major part of the story, and yet it is ignored. Also agree with your point on Meade when Grant came East. Yet another venue to be explored.

    Will just add, in terms of Meade and Doubleday at Gettysburg, and what transpired there, is yet another thing that should be delved into more deeply.

    Too many books on Gettysburg? I think not, especially when there are so many topics and questions to delve into.

    Regards from the Garden State,

    Steve Basic

  4. Andy Papen
    Tue 24th Oct 2006 at 11:12 pm

    Meade certainly deserves a fresh look, along with a lot of other Union generals. George Thomas desperately needs an up to date biography. James McPherson, army commander and highest ranking Union officer killed in battle, has no biography of which I am aware. I don’t share the same opinion of McPherson that Grant and Sherman did, but he certainly deserves a biography.

  5. Wed 25th Oct 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Andy

    McPherson has a small biography called ‘Forgotten Hero,” by Elizabeth Whaley (NY, 1955). It is what you would expect it to be–a fawning treatment. Read “Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg,” by Tim Smith, if you want a good fresh new look at McPherson. Certainly rankled feathers.

    Wish Wert had come to us. I would have told him to jump right in.

    I think the best overall Gettysburg book in the last several years was Bowden and Ward, “Last Chance for Victory.” [Seven awards]. The 144-page chapter on the Second Day completely changed the way I look at the battle. And I am about as well read on the subject as the next guy.

    Disclaimer: we published Smith and Bowden/Ward.

    Ted Savas
    http://www.savasbeatie.com

  6. Wed 25th Oct 2006 at 1:07 pm

    Ted,

    I think the reason why Jeff didn’t come to you about Meade is that he’s got an agent, and his agent doesn’t deal with “little guys” like you.

    Eric

  7. Andy Papen
    Wed 25th Oct 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Mr. Savas

    I was not familiar with the Whaley book, but it certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of book McPherson needs. I’m a Vicksburg fanatic, and I bought and read Tim Smith’s book as soon as it was out. Excellent work!

    I’m looking forward to your publication of Cunningham’s dissertation on Shiloh as well.

  8. Wed 25th Oct 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Eric,

    I was wondering as I read the first part of your post if my copy was in the mail. The suspense was ended rather quickly as I got to the bottom. Thanks! I know I talk about “too much of a good thing” when it comes to studying Gettysburg sometimes, but the books in the Discovering Civil War America Series have all been very good, and I didn’t want to miss a volume. I’ll be looking out for it in the mail.

    Brett

  9. Mike Peters
    Thu 26th Oct 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Ted & Andy:

    I have to second everything said re: Tim Smith’s Champion Hill book. Very good indeed! I was recently informed that Ranger Smith has left the Park Services for academia, taking a teaching position at UT Martin.

    Brett, the Ironclad books are worth the investment, if only for their tour guides. But they go way beyond that.

    Mike

  10. Steve Basic
    Thu 26th Oct 2006 at 11:18 pm

    Speaking of Vicksburg, I did notice today at the bookstore that Terry Winschel has a second volume of essays on the campaign published by Savas/Beatie.

    The Civil War Chat room I belong to takes an annual trip to a battlefield, and we were lucky to have Terry as our guide for the weekend in Vicksburg. We even had a book chat in the room on the first book of essays to prepare us for the trip there.

    Look forward to reading this new book, especially his essay on General McClernand.

    Regards from the Garden State,

    Steve Basic

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