Stuff in the ‘History’ Category

1 June, 2020

Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War: One Woman’s Journey to the Medal of Honor and the Fight for Women’s Rights, Theresa Kaminski, Ph.D.

“History has long neglected the inspiring and incredible tale of Dr. Mary Walker, a pioneering Civil War surgeon who overcame rampant prejudice to save countless soldiers’ lives. In Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War, Theresa Kaminski has finally given this American hero her due. With impeccable research and engaging prose, Kaminski captures Walker’s outsized bravery and delicious swagger. The result is a vivid, eloquent portrait sure to thrill history buffs and anyone fascinated by the lives of audacious, before-their-time women.” — Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park

“I will always be somebody.”  This assertion, a startling one from a nineteenth-century woman, drove the life of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the only American woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor and the subject of Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War (Lyons Press). President Andrew Johnson issued the award in 1865 in recognition of the incomparable medical service Walker rendered during the Civil War. Yet few people today know anything about the woman so well-known–even notorious–in her own lifetime. Theresa Kaminski shares a different way of looking at the Civil War, through the eyes of a woman confident she could make a contribution equal to that of any man. She takes readers into the political cauldron of the nation’s capital in wartime, where Walker was a familiar if notorious figure. Mary Walker’s relentless pursuit of gender and racial equality is key to understanding her commitment to a Union victory in the Civil War. Her role in the women’s suffrage movement became controversial and the US Army stripped Walker of her medal, only to have the medal reinstated posthumously in 1977.

“Dr. Mary Walker, once spurned as “the famous man-woman” for her insistence on wearing pants in public, is a heroine not just of the Civil War, when her service as a doctor made her the first and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor, but of the unfinished revolution for equal rights and fair treatment women are still waging today. Theresa Kaminski’s compelling narrative, thoughtfully contextualized and filled with vibrant characters, brings a complicated reformer and nearly a century of movement history back into the light.”— Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast

“Dr. Mary Walker is primarily remembered for one thing, when she is remembered at all: her work as a surgeon in the Civil War. In Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War, Theresa Kaminski gives us an engaging and impeccably researched portrait of Walker as a whole person: devotion to reform, prickly personality, and all. She also demonstrates how easily an important woman can be erased from history during her own lifetime. If you’re interested in Civil War medicine, the history of women’s rights or kick-ass historical women, you’ll want to read Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War.” – Pamela D. Toler, author of Women Warriors

“Theresa Kaminski tells Dr. Mary Walker’s incredible story with an easy to read style and impeccable research. A must read for those interested in not only the Civil War, but also medical history and the history of women’s rights.” — Lori Handeland, New York Times bestselling author


22 October, 2019

MAROONED: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and the New History of America’s Origin, by Joseph Kelly, Ph.D.

Now available in paperback, a groundbreaking history that makes the case for replacing Plymouth Rock with Jamestown as America’s founding myth.

“The U.S. loves its creation myths, and this mythmaking, myth-breaking history gives us a new character, Stephen Hopkins… Though Hopkins and those like him left few records, Kelly fleshes out the available glimpses with a vivid, detailed description of the settlement and its English and Native American contexts…Kelly’s dynamic narrative brings Jamestown to life and shows how history reflects the present as well as the past.” ―starred review, Booklist

We all know the great American origin story. It begins with an exodus. Fleeing religious persecution, the hardworking, pious Pilgrims thrived in the wilds of New England, where they built their fabled city on a hill. Legend goes that the colony in Jamestown was a false start, offering a cautionary tale. Lazy louts hunted gold till they starved, and the shiftless settlers had to be rescued by English food and the hard discipline of martial law.

Neither story is true. In Marooned, Joseph Kelly reexamines the history of Jamestown and comes to a radically different and decidedly American interpretation of these first Virginians.

In this gripping account of shipwrecks and mutiny in America’s earliest settlements, Kelly argues that the colonists at Jamestown were literally and figuratively marooned, cut loose from civilization, and cast into the wilderness. The British caste system meant little on this frontier: those who wanted to survive had to learn to work and fight and intermingle with the nearby native populations. Ten years before the Mayflower Compact and decades before Hobbes and Locke, they invented the idea of government by the people. 150 years before Jefferson, they discovered the truth that all men were equal.

The epic origin of America was not an exodus and a fledgling theocracy. It is a tale of shipwrecked castaways of all classes marooned in the wilderness fending for themselves in any way they could—a story that illuminates who we are today.


5 April, 2019

SEARCHING FOR MESSIAH, Barrie Wilson Ph.D.

A fascinating deep-dive into Old and New testament historiography, SEARCHING FOR MESSIAH will explore our misguided look for a “messiah” in Judeo-Christian tradition as well as our contemporary fascination with demagogues explaining how it is rooted in misconceptions the author reveals in theological traditions.  Author and historian Barrie Wilson, Ph.D is coauthor of LOST GOSPEL and author of HOW JESUS BECAME CHRISTIAN.   (Pegasus, September 2020, World Rights)


30 October, 2018

MAROONED: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America’s Origin, Joseph Kelly, Ph.D.

“The U.S. loves its creation myths, and this mythmaking, myth-breaking history gives us a new character, Stephen Hopkins… Though Hopkins and those like him left few records, Kelly fleshes out the available glimpses with a vivid, detailed description of the settlement and its English and Native American contexts…Kelly’s dynamic narrative brings Jamestown to life and shows how history reflects the present as well as the past.” ―starred review, Booklist

For readers of Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower, a groundbreaking history that makes the case for replacing Plymouth Rock with Jamestown as America’s founding myth. 

We all know the great American origin story. It begins with an exodus. Fleeing religious persecution, the hardworking, pious Pilgrims thrived in the wilds of New England, where they built their fabled city on a hill. Legend goes that the colony in Jamestown was a false start, offering a cautionary tale. Lazy louts hunted gold till they starved, and the shiftless settlers had to be rescued by English food and the hard discipline of martial law.

Neither story is true. In Marooned, Joseph Kelly reexamines the history of Jamestown and comes to a radically different and decidedly American interpretation of these first Virginians.

In this gripping account of shipwrecks and mutiny in America’s earliest settlements, Kelly argues that the colonists at Jamestown were literally and figuratively marooned, cut loose from civilization, and cast into the wilderness. The British caste system meant little on this frontier: those who wanted to survive had to learn to work and fight and intermingle with the nearby native populations. Ten years before the Mayflower Compact and decades before Hobbes and Locke, they invented the idea of government by the people. 150 years before Jefferson, they discovered the truth that all men were equal.

The epic origin of America was not an exodus and a fledgling theocracy. It is a tale of shipwrecked castaways of all classes marooned in the wilderness fending for themselves in any way they could–a story that illuminates who we are today.

“[A] stimulating history of Jamestown . . . a superb portrait of the founding, combining brilliant detail with epic sweep.” ―Starred review, Publishers Weekly

“An insightful re-examination of the 1607 Jamestown settlement . . . Kelly’s lively, heavily researched, frequently gruesome account gives a slight nod to Jamestown as the ‘better place to look for the genesis of American ideals.’” ―Starred review, Kirkus Reviews

“Joseph Kelley’s Marooned is a tale of intrigue, betrayal, and redemption from American’s colonial past. It is also a moving reimagining of the American story. Kelley’s history of Jamestown shows that America is a community born of marooned colonists, escaped slaves, and native inhabitants thrown together by an accident of history, and that the creed of liberty inscribed in the nation’s founding is not a foreign importation, but the unique inheritance of this potent brew.” ―William Egginton, author of THE SPLINTERING OF THE AMERICAN MIND

“Joseph Kelly’s Marooned re-tells the early American story with salutary attention to Native Americans, non-elite English settlers, and the dramas of shipwreck, maroonage, and self-determination. Familiar figures such as John Smith and Pocahontas get reinvented in the bloody story of Jamestown’s struggle against famine and incompetent leadership. Most excitingly, he offers new figures for the first English Americans, especially the rebellious commoner Stephen Hopkins, who lived, labored, and sometimes resisted authority in Bermuda, Jamestown, and eventually Plymouth Rock. Hopkins’s desire for liberty and struggle against aristocratic despotism make the marooned commoner a powerful figure for what was newly American about the early English experience of the New World.” ―Steve Mentz, author of SHIPWRECK MODERNITY: ECOLOGIES OF GLOBALIZATION 1550-1719


2 October, 2018

PHARAOH’S TREASURE: THE ORIGIN OF PAPER AND THE RISE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, John Gaudet, Ph.D.

Just published from Pegasus Books!

“A lively overview of a medium that was central to public and private life in the ancient world.
An engaging journey to the distant past.”
– Kirkus Reviews

A thought-provoking history of papyrus paper―from its origins in Egypt to its spread throughout the world―revealing how it helped usher in a new era of human history.

For our entire history, humans have always searched for new ways to share information. This innate compulsion led to the origin of writing on the rock walls of caves and coffin lids or carving on tablets. But it was with the advent of papyrus paper when the ability to record and transmit information exploded, allowing for an exchanging of ideas from the banks of the Nile throughout the Mediterranean―and the civilized world―for the first time in human history.

In The Pharaoh’s Treasure, John Gaudet looks at this pivotal transition to papyrus paper, which would become the most commonly used information medium in the world for more than 4,000 years. Far from fragile, papyrus paper is an especially durable writing surface; papyrus books and documents in ancient and medieval times had a usable life of hundreds of years, and this durability has allowed items like the famous Nag Hammadi codices from the third and fourth century to survive.

The story of this material that was prized by both scholars and kings reveals how papyrus paper is more than a relic of our ancient past, but a key to understanding how ideas and information shaped humanity in the ancient and early modern world.

16 pages of color photographs; B&W illustrations throughout

About the Author
A Fulbright Scholar to both India and Malaya, John Gaudet is a writer and practicing ecologist. His early research on papyrus, funded in part by the National Geographic Society, took him to Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia. A trained ecologist with a PhD from University of California at Berkeley, he is the author of Papyrus: The Plant that Changed the World, and his writing has appeared in Science, Nature, Ecology, the Washington Post, Salon and the Huffington Post. He lives in McLean, Virginia. Follow John on Twitter @BwanaPapyrus


15 August, 2018

QUEEN OF THE WEST by Theresa Kaminski, Ph.D.

In this new work of history, Dr. Kaminski, author of ANGELS OF THE UNDERGROUND: The American Women Who Restisted the Japanese in the Philippines in WWII,  will offer the first the first full-length biography of mid-20th century multi-faceted star Dale Evans, following her career from small-town girl and radio singer to movie stardom with her life and screen partner Roy Rogers.  (World English to Lyons Press for publication in 2020). For Film & TV, Audio, Translation please contact Jacquie Flynn at jacqueline@delbourgo.914


19 October, 2017

THE PHAROAH’S TREASURE: The Origin of Paper and the Rise of Western Civilization by John Gaudet

Author of Papyrus: The Plant that Changed the World: From Ancient Egypt to Today’s Water Wars, John Gaudet, Ph.D’s THE PHARAOH’S TREASURE: The Origin of Paper and the Rise of Western Civilization, a multi-disciplinary history of how the first paper fueled the development of Western Civilization beginning in Egypt during the Neolithic period through the introduction of rag paper from China. (Pegasus/World Rights/Fall 2018)


3 November, 2015

Kaminski

Theresa Kaminski, an academically trained historian with a Ph.D., published Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War in June 2020 with Lyons Press. Dr. Walker is the only woman to ever receive the Medal of Honor, and for decades she worked for gender equality, especially women’s suffrage. The book is the most recent culmination of her fascination with ordinary but scrappy women in history, an interest sparked years ago by watching the Masterpiece Theatre drama, A Town Like Alice. Theresa’s interest in telling the stories of little-known American women to illuminate major themes in American history led her to write three books about the American women caught in the Pacific theater during World War II: Prisoners in Paradise (2000), Citizen of Empire (2011), and Angels of the Underground (2015).

She thought she was finished writing about war. But not long after signing a contract with Lyons Press for the first full-length biography of America’s favorite cowgirl, Dale Evans, another Lyons editor approached her to write a book about Mary Walker. The goal, which was met with months to spare, was to have it out in time for the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment. With Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War completed, Theresa has returned to the Dale Evans book, which she hopes will be released into a COVID-19-free world.

Theresa continues to seek out stories of scrappy and tenacious American women to provide readers with unusual, fascinating glimpses into under-examined corners of history. In her spare time, she helps moderate the popular Nonfiction Fans group she co-founded on Facebook, streams lots of shows and movies, reads novels, goes for walks, and contemplates playing the piano again. Theresa lives in a small town outside of Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband–and within easy driving distance of her grandson and his parents.

You can also check out her blog on her website theresakaminski.com and follow her on Twitter @KaminskiTheresa and Instagram @hers_torian.

 


30 October, 2013

History Book Club selects America’s Longest Siege

Americas-Longest-Siege-100x150So pleased that the History Book Club has selected Joseph Kelly’s America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery and the Slow March Toward Civil War for their Winter Catalog.  Civil War buffs shouldn’t miss this fascinating book.

The Library Journal said, “Kelly brings a literary sensibility to this vivid and engrossing study of slavery in and around one of its trading hubs, Charleston, SC, site of the first and longest Civil War siege and a hotbed of political, economic, religious, and moral debates about importing, owning, and trading slaves. Well written and finely detailed, Kelly’s debut historical work is an important contribution to Southern antebellum history and is highly recommended to scholarly readers.”


4 September, 2013

Carving Out a Narrative from a Sea of Fascinating Details – On Writing History by Joseph Kelly

Joseph KellyAmerica's Longest SiegeI fell into this book sideways.  A long time ago, I wrote a short article for the Encyclopedia of the Irish in America, and I was hooked by the strange life of John England, the first Catholic bishop of Charleston.  Raised in Cork, Ireland, this prickly champion of Catholic emancipation stuck like a thorn in the side of the British Empire.  A nervous Catholic hierarchy more or less exiled him to the missionary church at the southern extreme of the United States.  He arrived on the Cooper River pier armed with a hatred of racism and a devotion to civil liberties.  He opened a school for black children.  He went to Haiti to negotiate a treaty between that black republic and the Vatican.  And yet, in his dying months he wrote a series of letters attempting to prove that Christianity condoned slavery.

How could such a champion of human rights end up apologizing for this crime against humanity?  Here, I thought, was the stuff of tragedy, and I was determined to find out the whole story.  But this was a different kind of writing for someone whose trade is literary criticism.  I’d written several articles and a book on Irish literature–James Joyce in particular–but no historical narrative.

Somewhat naively, I wrote a hundred pages on the life of Bishop England.  The thread of causes took me back further, and I wrote two hundred pages on the life of Henry Laurens, the second president of the Continental Congress.  I knew these “chapters” were far too long, but I was lost in the details, seduced by the drama of these lives, and I couldn’t see the real story, the important story caked in the dirt of all of this material.

I found an agent at Joëlle Delbourgo Associates who believed in what I was doing.  Molly Lyons helped me transform my ideas into a real proposal, which got us a lead at Overlook Press.  The editors there, first Rob Crawford and then Dan Crissman, coached me further, until that story emerged–a multi-generational tale of rebellions, torture, Machiavellian twists, duels, speeches from the Senate floor, and bloody battles.

America’s Longest Siege tells the story of slavery as it evolved in the American South.   It comes to a conclusion that common wisdom and most historians dispute:  slavery not only should have but would have withered away in the new republic, if not for the very hard work of a surprisingly few, greedy people from Charleston.  That story is as current today as it ever was:  even now we’re debating nullification; even today we’re torturing prisoners; the wagon wheels of today’s South still groan in the grooves of old Carolina roads.

There’s hardly a trace of literary criticism in this book–a dozen pages on the eminent novelist, William Gilmore Simms, but no more.  Yet I feel that I’ve been training to write this book ever since I set foot in graduate school.  This is a story about an idea, just about the worst idea ever promoted in America.  And ideas have to manifest in words–the stuff of literary critics–and the words have to come from the mouths of individual people.

Though I had to throw away most of those biographical pages, they were not wasted.  They taught me to write biography, and my book is first and foremost about people, those who invented and promoted the “positive good theory” of slavery, those who opposed it, and those who wanted to oppose it but failed.  What fascinated me about these people–people like Bishop John England–was their moral stories.  I hope that the lives I write about inhabit the imaginations of my readers as vitally as any character in fiction.