Saturday, April 5, 2014

Coming May 1, 2014

Michael C.C. Adams will discuss his book, Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War.  Perhaps because the United States has not seen conventional war on its own soil since 1865, the collective memory of its horror has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized even the experience of the Civil War. Neither film nor reenactment can fully capture the hard truth of the four-year conflict. Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a more accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences.  (Publisher)

Michael C. C. Adams strips away the facade to provide a necessary and compelling dose of reality about the war as it was seen and experienced by those who lived it. This is not another story of battles and campaigns. It is instead a broad tapestry that takes the reader to many dark corners of the war which are often left unconsidered. (Scott Hartwig, noted Civil War Historian)

Dr. Adams is the author of several books including The Best War Eve, The Great Adventure and Our Masters the Rebels. He is professor of history and chair of the History and Geography Department at Northern Kentucky University.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coming April 3, 2014

Jake Boritt will present his original film: The Gettysburg Story: The Battle As You Have Never Seen It Before.
Jake Boritt is an American documentary filmmaker, producer and director.  He is the maker of  many highly acclaimed films which have appeared on HBO, A&E and AMC. His 2007 film Budapest to Gettysburg explored the story of his father Professor Gabor Boritt, a world renowned Lincoln and Civil War scholar who returned to Hungary to find his roots in the tyranny of Hitler and Stalin. The Gettysburg Story brings to life America's greatest battle in a fresh, dynamic way. Cutting-edge technologies including aerial drone cinematography, helicopter mounted cameras, motion control time-lapse, and 3D animated maps bring the stories of Lincoln, Lee, Meade, and others to a new generation.  Never before seen imagery of the exact ground where events changed the course of history is narrated by Stephen Lang.
Jake Boritt has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in Vanity Fair and Newsweek. He has helped guide the President of the United States on the Gettysburg battlefield. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University where he studied under multi-National Book Award nominee Stephen Dixon. He was raised on a Civil War farm in Gettysburg that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and a Confederate Hospital during the battle.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Coming March 6, 2014

Timothy S. Sedore will discuss his book An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments.  As America was torn apart by the horrors of the Civil War, no state bore the brunt of battle more than Virginia. Home to the Confederate capitol of Richmond and the linchpin of the eastern theater of the war, the state now bears a myriad of testaments to its harrowing past, waiting to be explored. With An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments, Timothy S. Sedore presents the first volume to enumerate Virginia's southern Civil War memorials marking the bloody battles that took place on Virginia soil. Sedore's illuminating and highly readable guide catalogs 360 of the state's most infamous and obscure commemorations, and provides not only a fascinating compilation of locations but also a compelling vision of the public sense of loss in the post-Civil War South. (Publisher)

Timothy Sedore is Professor of English at The City University of New York, Bronx Community College.He completed his undergraduate work at New York University with a double major in economics and English.  His Master of Arts degree in English, with a focus on American studies, is from Arizona State University. His doctorate, in English education, is from Columbia University, Teachers College.  He is currently doing a book length study of the Civil War Monuments of Tennessee.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Coming January 2, 2014

Megan Kate Nelson will discuss her book Ruin Nation.  During the Civil War, cities, houses, forests, and soldiers’ bodies were transformed into “dead heaps of ruins,” novel sights in the southern landscape. How did this happen, and why? And what did Americans—northern and southern, black and white, male and female—make of this proliferation of ruins? Ruin Nation is the first book to bring together environmental and cultural histories to consider the evocative power of ruination as an imagined state, an act of destruction, and a process of change. (Publisher) 
Megan Kate Nelson is a lecturer in History and Literature at Harvard University. She has a BA in History and Literature from Harvard (1994) and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa (2002). She is also the author of Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp (Georgia, 2005) and   is a contributor to the New York Times Disunion Blog. She lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Coming December 12th, 2013

Patrick Schroeder will present Brian Pohanka's book, Vortex of Hell.  (From the Civil War Trust:) Patrick Schroeder is a Civil War author and historian. He is the editor and publisher of Brian Pohanka's book, "Vortex of Hell." Patrick worked as a seasonal living history interpreter at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park while earning a B.S. in Historical Park Administration from Shepherd College. In 1993, he wrote "Thirty Myths About Lee’s Surrender," which is currently in its twelfth printing. His thesis for his M.A. in Civil War History from Virginia Tech formed his fourth book, "We Came To Fight: The History of the 5th New York Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Duryee’s Zouaves (1863-1865)." Patrick has written, edited and/or contributed to more than twenty-five Civil War titles. Patrick resides in Lynchburg, VA, has served as the Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park since 2002.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coming November 7, 2013

In two decades as a sculptor and teacher, Frank Porcu has concentrated on art inspired by early Greece and the Renaissance. So when a would-be patron suggested he create a bust of Abraham Lincoln, the Mastic Beach artist initially demurred. "It was extremely different" than any of his past work, the 40-year-old artist said. But Porcu eventually sculpted a bronze bust that is receiving raves from historians for its accuracy and how it captures the power of the 16th president's character.

Porcu's Lincoln was officially unveiled at the New York Historical Society in Manhattan. Historian Harold Holzer, who has written 40 books on Lincoln and spoke at the event, said that Porcu's is the best three-dimensional likeness he's seen created in his 40 years of studying the president. "It's extremely powerful," Holzer said. "From any angle it reflects both power and sadness, and I think that's what Lincoln was all about."

The sculpture came about after Porcu was introduced to Shawn Thomas, a certified public accountant from Bay Shore who is a longtime collector of historical artifacts. "I've been looking for a Lincoln sculpture that truly expressed the essence of the man," Thomas said. He thought Porcu could capture the real Lincoln -- proud and determined -- so he offered to pay for the sculpture and the artist's living expenses like a Renaissance patron. "I said, 'Why? There are so many great Lincolns out there,' " Porcu said. "But Thomas said, 'They don't show who I know Lincoln to have been.' And that was a challenge."

The two collaborated over six months, uninterrupted even when super storm Sandy left Porcu's house awash in 2 feet of water, forcing him and his wife to live temporarily in Hicksville. Most sculptors start with a block of clay and cut it away to unveil their vision. But as a longtime student and teacher of anatomy and medical dissection, Porcu, who is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Figurative Art at the New York Academy of Art, said he envisions a piece from the inside out. "Each piece of clay is planned in advance, applied, and never touched again," he said.

Thomas and Porcu are already talking about collaborating on a different view of Lincoln or a sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt.                                             by Bill Bleyer

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Coming October 3, 2013

Diane Monroe Smith will discuss her book Command Conflicts in Grant’s Overland Campaign: Ambition And Animosity In The Army Of the Potomac. She is the author of three Civil War books; Fanny and Joshua, Chamberlain at Petersburg and Grant’s Overland Campaign.  She is married to a Civil War author, Ned Smith. They live in Holden, Maine and spend their summers in maritime Canada.

In her book, Command Conflicts in Grant’s Overland Campaign, Ambition and Animosity in the Army of the Potomac, Smith supports with substantial historical documentation, her belief that Grant was too lenient with Sheridan, Wilson, and other Western generals, a habit that possibly extended the war in Virginia an extra nine months. The book lays out substantive evidence that had some of the Western generals not been so contemptuous of their Eastern counterparts and had cooperated more with them during the Overland Campaign, Union troops could have captured the under-defended Petersburg in summer 1864 and forced Confederate troops to abandon Richmond and probably Virginia altogether. Smith also supports with ample evidence her belief that Grant cared little about his men’s lives. He earned the nickname “Butcher” Grant during the Overland Campaign, during which he repeatedly hurled his men against entrenched Confederates. “To me, Grant was just a guy who threw men into battle” without personally reconnoitering the terrain, Smith explained.