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Thursday, November 17, 2011

History on Waukazoo Street!

It was an uncanny coincidence. Only Wednesday morning I had received e-mail from a friend with a Ph.D. in history who had reached page 195 of John Mitchell’s book, Grand Traverse: The Civil War Era and was overflowing with praise for the work. Then that very afternoon John called to see how I felt about having him come in to do a couple of book signings before the holidays. Yes, by all means!

If you look at the calendar in my right-hand column (where I am now directing your attention), you will see two different days you’ll be able to catch Mitchell at Dog Ears Books. The first chance will be the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is also Merchants’ Open House day in Northport (and something like Shop Small Business nation-wide) when John will be with us from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. That same day from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. we’ll have Children’s Story Hour, as we did last year at this time, and the village Christmas tree lights will go on at five o’clock.

(There are fliers around town with a full list of special activities around town for November 26. I have some at the bookstore.)

It was our friend Dr. Kenneth Wylie, formerly of Michigan State University, who said of John’s book--
Grand Traverse: The Civil War Era (as I believe you suggested) is far more than a local history. I consider it superior to most leaden memorials to a particular regional or regimental history of the Civil War. John has dredged the abundant sources in anthropology (as far as the local Amerindians), into social and economic patterns, daily life and moreys. Like any trained historian, he manages to cobble the paths throught he greater story (death and mayhem in war) via an intricate tracing back through the core story, how did the diarirst (missionary) Smithsee it all; More important, John shares a popular historian's gift of narrative.

Ken has high standards, so this is high praise. But then, the book has already won a state history award, too.

Those of you who won’t be Up North until December will still have a chance to meet John and have him inscribe a book especially for you or someone on your holiday gift list, as he will make a return visit on the Friday before Christmas, December 23, again from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Gerry said...

I can't say enough good things about Grand Traverse: The Civil War Era. I've been reading a lot of other books about that period and this region, and this one stands out. It isn't just that it's well-written, which it is, or that it's carefully documented, which it is. The work provides a rich context that gives a reader a great deal to think about. That is reaching another level altogether.

BB-Idaho said...

I'm no bibliophile, but rather a civil War buff. This story of Grand Traverse reminded me that somewhere in my shelves and piles
was a thin tome 'Soldier Boy's Letters'. I found it!!
This lad from Wisconsin's Indianhead area where I was born and raised, volunteered over his
mother's objections and served with the 26th WI, probably mingling with Grand Traverse's
21 MI through Stones River and
Chicamauga. It is one of the few
signed books I own, written by
a descendant and consisting mostly of letters home during the war.
Such are the enertwining threads
of history, this same young man
returned and explored the Chippewa River Valley (as I did some 120 years later) leaving fascinating
tales of the incipient lumber era
as well as meeting the indiginous
folk-Ojibways. I'm thinking that
civil war buffs are fairly numerous and suspect (hope?) you get a great and enthusiastic
turnout. (BTW, I have two 15x8
walls of books in my study and they
are not only full, but my category
sections are becoming blurred. Is there an easy approach to properly rearranging these so I can find what I'm after? This last search
took nearly twenty minutes...)

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, I am so, so pleased with the reception John’s book has been getting. It certainly deserves its audience. You and Dr. Wylie and I agree with the people who gave it a state history award.

BB, you’re asking ME for an EASY way to organize your home library? You’re asking someone who has French dictionaries shelved with cookbooks. We have bookshelves in five different rooms in our house! I did quickly look online and see there’s a lot of advice out there. Search for “how to organize a home library” or “how to organize a personal library” or “organizing home library” or whatever other way occurs to you. I didn’t check out any of the sites so cannot recommend one over the other. But isn’t it a wonderful problem to have?!

dmarks said...

BB, I thought I knew about Wisconsin but had never heard of the Indian Head country. I looked it up on a map that shows Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, and Trempealeau Counties as part of it. Well, I love that area.

As for the Civil War, BB, do you like the Bruce Catton books?

P. J. Grath said...

I hope BB comes back to answer your question, dmarks, but I have to say that while Bruce Catton is justly famous for two series of books on the Civil War, one of my all-time favorite books, about Michigan or anything else, is his memoir, WAITING FOR THE MORNING TRAIN. It's much more than a memoir. The author, after all, was Bruce Catton. He also wrote a history of our state, MICHIGAN, that is the best, most readable history of Michigan that I know. Bruce Catton: highly recommended!

dmarks said...

"Waiting for the Morning Train" is actually the only Catton book I've read.

So far.

dmarks said...

And BB will be back, I'm sure. I've linked to this post in tomorrow's post from me.

BB-Idaho said...

Well gosh-darn. You have me shuffling thru the shelves again!
Most of these I've read at least twice:
Catton: Centennial History of the
Civil War (3vol)
Foote: The Civil War (3 vol)Shelby
Foote BTW had a very interesting
background on PBS prior to his death..
Keegan: The American Civil War
(a Brit military view of our war)
McPherson: Civil War in Maps
West Point Civil War Atlas
Bearss: Fields of Honor
Bearss was a Park Service guide and has been on PBS as well
Sears: Gettysburg
Rhea: Battle of the Wilderness
Shaara: The Killer Angels
Shaara's work formed the basis for
the Turner Network 'Gettysburg'
..and others, but I don't have a
Dewey Decimal System..I got a
BB chaos non-system. geeez

P. J. Grath said...

Okay, you guys, my bookstore is not organized by Dewey or Library of Congress numbers, but there is a rough order, and I can find things in it, which is the whole key. I have history and travel combined, so if you want books on China you'll find history and travel books on China together. American history I have shelved in this order: First comes Michigan (with Michigan fiction and nonfiction separated but all in one case), then general Native American, then general U.S., then colonial, followed by Revolutionary, and so on and on. Presidents are together. Regional American travel and history follow, and following those sections come Canada, Australia, Latin America, Mexico, and islands. (Why islands? I had room there.)

Bookcases facing the sections mentioned above hold British, European, and Asian travel and history.

Here I must change the subject from the comment thread to note that another author visit has been added to the December calendar. See right-hand column for time and date to meet Susan Newhof, who will read from her new MICHIGAN novel, SPIRITS AND WINE, published by University of Michigan Press.

dmarks said...

BB: You need a blog!