Monday, February 7, 2011

"The Battle of South Mountain" Now Available

It was in early March of last year when I signed a contract with the History Press to write a short, narrative history of the often overlooked Battle of South Mountain for publication as part of its Civil War Sesquicentennial Series.

Eleven months later, I am very pleased to say that that book is now available.

It has been a great, great pleasure working with the History Press, from my first telephone call with Doug Bostick, managing editor of the Sesquicentennial Series, through all the frequent interractions with Adam Ferrell, Jaime Muehl, and everyone else. They have all been extremely helpful and professional, and all have shown a willingness to work with me in bringing this book to print. I do hope I am able to work the History Press again someday.

The book was originally scheduled for release on March 8; then it got bumped up to February 11. Imagine my surprise, then, when this past Friday, February 4, when I was stepping out for a clear-your-head kind of trip down to Gettysburg when I saw the boxes piled up outside my back door.

I could not be more pleased with the finished product. The book looks great and my only hope is that I have met the expectations placed in me to write this history. The Battle of South Mountain is a tough one to explain and I am sure that despite my best efforts and despite the dozens of times I read through the manuscript, that there will inevitably be some mistakes/errors. But now that the book is done I can only hope that I have succeeded in my goal of helping to bring to light the history of this often forgotten battle, waged on September 14, 1862, just three days before Antietam, and further our understanding of the Maryland Campaign.

To everyone who helped me along the way. . .from Eric Wittenberg, who first put me in touch with Doug Bostick, and Mannie Gentile, who once again did an excellent job developing the maps for this book. . . .from my Park Service colleagues Brian Baracz and Christopher Gwinn who read the entire manuscript and offered very helpful suggestions and pointed out my errors, to Dr. Thomas Clemens, Scott Hartwig, and Ted Alexander who were each of great assistance, as were Isaac Forman, Dave Maher, Dan Vermilya, and James Rosebrock. . .to all of you, and to so many others, I say thanks. Your support, your assistance was all very much appreciated.

The Battle of South Mountain can be purchased either through its publisher at or through any of the major online book retailers. It will also soon be available at various bookstores in the area. I also have some book signing events lined up for ther year ahead, if you wanted to come on out and say hello.

The book runs 224 pages, with over 50 illustrations and eight maps. It retails for $21.99.

I would love to know your thoughts on the book; if you enjoyed it, post a review on amazon; if you didn't. . .well, you can always send me your thoughts via email ;)


Eric Wittenberg said...

Congratulations, John! I wouldn't have put you in touch with Doug if I didn't think you were the right guy for the job.

Anonymous said...

Congrats John! I trust you gave due credit to the 96th PA! I'll announce your new book at next Schuylkill CWRT meeting this week.
Tom Shay

Scott Manning said...

John, I saw your interview on Civil War Trust and I should be getting the book from Amazon soon. You also inspired me to check out the South Mountain locations and I will hopefully visit them this summer.