25 February 2008 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 5 comments

Last week, I received an e-mail from one of the editorial assistants at the Syracuse University Press, asking me if I would be interested in doing a review of a book manuscript for them. The e-mail was addressed to “Professor Wittenberg”, so I had to let them know that I am but a humble lawyer and not a professional historian, and I offered to step aside if that was a problem.

They wrote back quickly, letting me know that they wanted me to proceed with the review. I don’t want to say what the book is about, as the review process is supposed to be confidential. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but they always prove to be interesting exercises. It’s actually rather flattering to think that a university press thinks enough of my opinion to not only ask me to review the manuscript, but to pay me $100 for doing so. I will start on it on the plane on Thursday, and will get through it just as quickly as I can.

It’s going to be an interesting exercise, and I’m looking forward to reading it. At the same time, Syracuse is not exactly known for prodigious output of books on the Civil War; a review of the Press’ on-line catalogue didn’t turn up a single Civil War book, although I will acknowledge that I didn’t do a greatly detailed review of the available titles. I guess I’m not sure why someone would submit a manuscript to a press that’s not known for expertise in the area covered by the manuscript, but, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson, said, “ours is not to wonder why, ours but to do or die.” And so I shall.

I will let everyone know what I think of it once I’ve had an opportunity to read the thing.

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 25th Feb 2008 at 10:38 pm


    Congratulations on the opportunity to do the review. I can tell you from the writer’s perspective that such a review (you probably rec’d some guidelines from the publisher) is VERY helpful. A few years ago, my “Lincoln’s Labels” manuscript was under consideration at University Press of Kentucky. I rec’d some thorough and expert feedback, and even though my manuscript wasn’t accepted, I can assure you that the comments I received were incorporated into later revisions and that the final product is all the better for it. I’m sure you will do a writer/historian the same favor.

    All My Best,

    Jim Schmidt

  2. Tue 26th Feb 2008 at 11:07 am

    Rev. Dr. Prof. Wittenberg, PhD., DDS:

    Have fun with the manuscript ๐Ÿ™‚

    Plain ol’ J.D.

  3. Brooks Simpson
    Wed 27th Feb 2008 at 1:07 am

    Don’t get too swelled of a head, Eric. ๐Ÿ™‚ My 16-year-old daughter assisted me on a piece I did on Derek Jeter, and the press decided it wanted to contract her as well. So she got a letter addressed to Professor Rebecca Simpson. Made her day.

  4. Art Bergeron
    Wed 27th Feb 2008 at 9:07 am

    I have met several people who automatically assume that if a person has written a book that the person is Dr. So-and-so or Professor So-and-so.


  5. John Foskett
    Sun 02nd Mar 2008 at 11:47 am

    On Syracuse, I think that they published one on the Iroquois in the ACW a few years back (it’s at home, so I haven’t confirmed). But that’s about it so far as I know. Look at it this way – if it’s going to be marketed to we addicts, better to have a licensed physician checking on the quality.

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