Discovering the Civil War Online Webcast – March 3rd

Steven WoodworthDiscovering the Civil War Online” is the title of a unique webinar that will feature Steven E. Woodworth, professor and award-winning Civil War author; and Tom Daccord, an educational technology specialist. They will explore utilizing online databases to research Civil War topics.

Noah Shunfenthal, the event coordinator, has indicated that the focus of the webcast will be two fold:

  1. Using period newspapers, periodicals, diaries, and letters to research the Civil War
  2. How to research via online databases, portals, etc.

The level of information to be provided is expected to be of interest to Civil War fanatics, accomplished historical authors, unpublished historians, students, professors, and others who want to step up their online research skills.

I’m a fan of this kind of event and certainly a fan of Professor Woodworth who taught my last class. I plan to attend!

A big shout out to the American Public University (and American Military University) and Best of History Web Sites for co-sponsoring the event.

Here is your call to action:

March 3rd from 11am-12pm ET.
Please pass along to your fellow history buffs and/or students.
Register here.

Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter?

Seth Grahame-Smith
Seth Grahame-Smith

Abraham Lincoln a vampire hunter? This may well be the most unusual book I’ll review on Wig-Wags. The good folks at Grand Central Publishing recently sent me an advance review copy of  New York Times best selling author Seth Grahame-Smith’s new book, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I’ll put it into a genre of historical/fantasy/horror.

The story puts lost journals of Abraham Lincoln into the hands of an undiscovered writer. I have to say that I intended to just peruse the book a bit before this initial posting. Forty pages later, I realized I should probably put it down and get back to that paper I was writing. In other words, it is a good read. An added plus is that it has a fair amount of historical fact weaved in.

Now lest you think of dismissing Grahame-Smith’s book, note that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum (March 6, 2010) and the Smithsonian (March 9, 2010) will host author appearances, the latter a panel. What’s compelling is that Grahame-Smith may reach new readers and there is some real history amidst the fantasy.

According to the Library’s press release, “Abraham Lincoln was a fan of macabre literature, particularly stories and poems written by Edgar Allan Poe, and had committed Poe’s The Raven to memory.  Lincoln dabbled in poetry himself, and his verse mimicked Poe’s dark themes.”  To explore Lincoln’s poetry, I recommend the National Park Service site, Lincoln’s Notebook and the entry Matthew Gentry featuring a poem about the future President tells of a childhood friend gone insane.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & MuseumAccording to the Library’s press release,

Lincoln also wrote an anonymous narrative published in the Whig and the Sangamo Journal in 1846, “Remarkable Case oPride and Prejudice and Zombiesf Arrest For Murder,” about a real murder case where the alleged victim appeared with amnesia in the courtroom just before the defendants, the Trailor brothers, were to be sentenced to death for murder. In the narrative, Lincoln admitted “while it is readily conceived that a writer of novels could bring a story to a more perfect climax, it may well be doubted, whether a stranger affair ever really occurred. Much of the matter remains in mystery to this day.” The ALPLM has the original letter that Lincoln wrote to Joshua Speed on June 19, 1841 describing the incident that he recounted five years later for the Whig.

Listen to a podcast about the book posted at the ALPLM here.

Grahame-Smith is also author of the wildly successful Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.