I received word today that the first copies of volume one of The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It have arrived at the offices of The Library of America. Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Stephen W. Sears, and I coedited the volume (each of us will be in charge of a subsequent volume, with my volume covering 1863 and a little of 1864).
It’s a challenge to try to represent the experience of Lincoln’s election, the secession crisis, and the opening of the war in 120 documents. For each document included, others were excluded, and one could easily double the number of documents. It’s been a worthwhile project with many challenges, and I hope people enjoy the result. I’ll have more to say about the project soon; right now I’m completing an interview on it for The Library of America’s online newsletter.
[UPDATE: The History Book Club has picked up the book.]
As glad as I am that this book is now appearing, I’m also a bit tickled by the news that this Friday the Salt River Project will interview me about Theodore Roosevelt and western lands as part of a documentary on the upcoming centennial of Roosevelt Dam. TR’s something of a family icon: my grandmother told me about meeting him in South America (and how he said “dee-lighted!” when they met), and Sagamore Hill (sorry, Mount Vernon, Monticello, and even White Haven) remains my favorite president’s residence and the only president’s house where I’d like to have lived. As much as I like talking about the Civil War, Grant, and Lincoln, I also treasure these opportunities to show that I do other things.