Thursday, July 24, 2008

What's On My Plate - Part I

I'm guessing that fellow Civil War authors like Eric Wittenberg and Michael Aubrecht, would agree with me that writing (unless it is for newspapers) is something of a "hurry-up-and-wait" proposition. Book and magazine articles - especially - may be finished many months ahead of when they finally appear in print. The best thing to do in the interim, then, is to have other projects to work on. That's my strategy, I thought I would give a heads-up in what I'm working on now for publication in the coming months and year:

North & South magazine - Readers of the blog will know that the genesis of my forthcoming book, Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War (Edinborough Press, August 2008) can actually be traced to a series of short "Civil War corporate history" articles that have appeared in N&S over the past several years. Although he's not covered in the book, I have finished an article on the interesting role that game maker Milton Bradley played in the war, and it will appear in N&S late this year or early next year. You'll find a preview here and here. I'll probably also be working on adapting some of the other book chapter into "short form" pieces for N&S.

"Medical Department" Column in The Civil War News - I've been writing a regular column on 19th-century medicine for The Civil War News since late 2000. I've taken a "break" for the past few months to give my full attention to a Civil War medicine book project (more on that later), but have material for a number of new columns and will certainly get back to work this fall. Here's a preview of some forthcoming columns:

  • "It's All In Your Head" - Phrenology in the Civil War -Phrenology (adapted from Wikipedia) is a defunct field of study, once considered a science, by which the personality traits of a person were determined by "reading" bumps and fissures in the skull. Developed around 1800, the discipline was very popular in the 19th century. As early as 1843, it was referred to as "a pseudo-science of the present day,a" but phrenological thinking was influential in 19th-century psychiatry and modern neuroscience. My focus will be on the American Phrenological Journal - published before, during, and after the Civil War; during the war, the journal often contained articles on notable generals, politicians, and the armies themselves.
  • "The Soldiers' True Friend" - Patent Medicines and the Civil War - a column on the nostrums, snake oils, and quack medicines - often peddled by sutlers - common during the war, which were sometimes advertised directly to soldiers.
  • "Chemical Weapons and the Civil War" - with the same exceptional scholarship and writing he gave to his research on pharmacy, medical cadets, quinine substitutes, and other topics regarding Civil War medicine, my good friend, Guy Hasegawa, Pharm.D., has recently published a wonderful article on "Proposals for chemical weapons during the American Civil War," (Military Medicine, May 2008), and - as i have done before - I'll feature an interview with Guy about his interesting findings.
Speaking of Guy, he is the co-editor of our forthcoming book on Civil War medicine (Edinborough Press, 2009), and I'll provide more details on that exciting project in my next post.

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