Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Imprimaturs and Lincoln's Labels

im·pri·ma·tur [ ìmprə maa'tər, ìmprə ma'a to'or ] noun; Definition: 1. approval: authority to do, say, or especially print something (formal) ; 2. official license: an authorization allowing a book or other work to be published, now usually confined to works sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church [Mid-17th century Latin, "Let it be printed"]

Books on the Civil War don't require an imprimatur per se, but endorsements, "blurbs," advance praise, or whatever you want to call them often help readers decide whether a work merits their attention; for the author, it is a welcome privilege that their work has earned respect of fellow writers and scholars.

True to my personality, I was actually going to have a silly/humorous theme for this post: maybe a photo of Sally Field accepting her Oscar and a heading of "They Like Me! They Really Like Me!" However, I have to say that there is nothing silly about receiving advance praise for a book...it's actually quite humbling.

It's my pleasure, then, to provide some of the advance praise for my forthcoming book, Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War (
Edinborough Press, 2008):

"Lincoln’s Labels tells how some businesses still operating contributed to, and were affected by, the Civil War. It does this quite well. In the process, we get a look at mid-nineteenth century business practices, some very innovative people, the origins of several notable American institutions, and a little insight into life in those distant days. But Lincoln’s Labels is also about one of the many ways which we – Americans of the early twenty-first century – are linked inextricably to the great national epic. As such, Lincoln’s Labels is a good read for anyone, scholar, “buff,” or ordinary citizen.” - from the Foreword, by Al Nofi, Ph.D., author of numerous books on military history, including A Civil War Treasury, The Pacific War Encyclopedia, and James Longstreet: James Longstreet: The Man, the Soldier, the Controversy

Al Nofi is also the longtime editor of the "Knapsack" section of
North & South magazine. He and publisher Keith Poulter have kindly given me space in the magazine for several capsule "Civil War corporate histories" that formed the foundation for several chapters in my book. Al also kindly agreed to write the Foreword for Lincoln's Labels.

“All the Civil War veterans and their widows are dead, but many of the companies that fed, clothed, armed, and transported them are very much alive. The author's well-written, highly original, and well-researched study fills a void in Civil War knowledge.” – Thomas P. Lowry, M.D., author of numerous books on the Civil War, including Tarnished Scalpels, Confederate Heroines, Swamp Doctor, and The Story the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell

Tom Lowry was an early and enthusiastic supporter of my "Medical Department" column in The Civil War News, and has become a dear correspondent, mentor, and friend.

“In this lively book, Jim Schmidt shows us how some of America’s best-known businesses responded to the challenges presented by the Civil War. Charting the wartime experiences of important companies and their industries, Lincoln’s Labels enriches our understanding of how Civil War soldiers were sustained by transactions on the home front. This well-written, thoroughly researched study should be of interest to readers who wish to expand their knowledge of the Civil War and American business history.” - Mark R. Wilson, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte, author of The Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861--1865

Mark Wilson is an expert in the intersection of business and government relations; he reviewed and commented on the entire manuscript and the book is all the better for it. I reviewed his excellent book, The Business of Civil War, in a previous post.

A link to my
book can now be found on amazon.com. I expect to receive the final galley next week and then it's off to the printer! I'll keep you posted as it gets closer to publication.

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