Monday, July 28, 2008

What's On My Plate - Part II

As promised in my previous post, I want to give an update on a forthcoming Civil War medicine book project that I first alerted readers of this blog to late last year.

The book has its genesis in my "Medical Department" column that has appeared regularly in the The Civil War News since late 2000. I invited some of my favorite interview subjects, as well as a few new authors, to contribute essays on a number of topics. Happily, my good friend, Guy Hasegawa, Pharm.D. - an exceptional Civil War medical historian and editor in his own right - agreed to serve as co-editor.

A wide array of topics are covered in the book, including:

medical education, biography, pharmacy, urology, amputations, neurology, invention, and mental health.

It took awhile for us to recruit a sufficient number of willing participants, but the "panel" that we have assembled is very impressive. Our invitations went out in late winter 2006/Spring 2007, which gave all the contributors ample time to research and write their manuscripts over the course of the next year. All of our contributors are experts in their fields and they bring that expertise to the various subjects they have covered. The editors and authors have decided to donate all royalties from the book to the cause of Civil War preservation.

We started receiving manuscripts in May and in time have reviewed them provided some editorial comments, and returned them to the authors. We have since received several of the "final" contributions and have begun "stitching" them into the final manuscript, which we hope to have completed by late August.

I have to say I am so impressed with the quality, originality, style, and - especially - scholarship, of the contributions we have received. Almost all of the chapters include previously unpublished material. To borrow a phrase from Oldsmobile, "this is not your father's Civil War medicine book."

While some excellent and recent Civil War medicine titles have been published - especially Dr. Alfred Jay Bollet's Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs (Dr. Bollet is one of our contributors by the way) - as surveys, they often don't have room for in-depth treatments of specific subjects. What's more, many of our contributors have done some excellent and groundbreaking historical research in specific areas that might not merit a book-length treatment on their own. This book will give them a chance to showcase that hard work for a larger audience.

As editors, I think the book has also taught us some lessons on how to put this type of project together, and when it's done, I'll post another message with some advice garnered from that experience to others who may be thinking of a collaborative project.

The book will be published in 2009 by Edinborough Press...keep your eye on thsi blog for future updates.

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