Two wars, two authors at Literary Bookpost
Back-to-back Saturday Salons at Literary Bookpost on Saturday, Sept. 10, will feature authors with books on two wars the United States engaged in from 1860 to 1945. Both authors will be available to not only sign their books, but also to discuss their research and answer questions from attendees regarding their particular specialties.
Beginning at 1 p.m., Brenda Chambers McKean, a resident of Timberlake, will showcase her two-volume work, ěBlood and War at My Doorstep: North Carolina Civilians in the War Between the States.î A graduate of Duke University and an independent researcher of antebellum and Civil War history, McKean spent two decades researching for this work.
A massive collection of letters, narratives, reportage and commentary by the author, covering almost 1,300 pages, these books are an invaluable resource on civilian life during the Civil War. McKean culled through public and private archives of primary source material, consolidating it by timeline and location, and adding commentary to tie the material into what was occurring at the time.
In ěBlood and War at my Doorstep: North Carolina Civilians in the War Between the States,î readers will learn that North Carolina citizens did not idly stand by as their soldiers marched off to war. The women worked themselves into ěpatriotic exhaustionî through Aid Societies. Civilians with different means of support, from the lower class to the plantation mistress, wrote the governor complaining of hoarding, speculation, the tithe, bushwhackers, unionism, conscription and exemptions.
Never before had so many died due to guerrilla warfare. Unknown before, starving women with weapons stormed the merchants or warehouses in search for food. Others turned to smuggling, spying or natureís oldest profession.
The second volume contains 190 pages of soldiersí letters, mostly unpublished. Read in their own words how some slaves were treated. Did any join the military as soldiers?
Wilmington, our largest city at the time, burst with scandalous persons, yellow fever and blockade-running stories. Rose OíNeal Greenhowís body washed up near Ft. Fisher with a belt of gold coins and cipher codes within her clothing.
The book would not be complete without stories of Shermanís march and Stonemanís western raid. Many civilians were killed in spite of orders to spare the citizens from plunder. Federal soldiers, surprised at the obstinate females they encountered, told of their bravery and pluck.
The end of the war could not come soon enough for those at home. War weary folks, some near starvation, had nowhere to flee from the enemy.
Like waves on a pond, the end came to Ft. Fisher, then the interior, as soldiers retreated. Paroled soldiersí views are expressed as well as a Quaker coupleís campaign to assist the downtrodden in the eastern part of the state and Piedmont. Both Volume I and Volume II cover stories from each of the stateís 87 counties at the time.
Saturday Salon part two begins at 3 p.m. and jumps to World War II. Local resident Bruce H. Smith will be at the shop representing the Smith family at a book signing for ěAboard LCS 11 in World War II: a Memoir by Lawrence B. Smith.î Lawrence Smith (1925-2005) joined the United States Navy in the fall of 1943. He and his shipmates braved the last battle of WWII, Okinawa, where more American sailors were killed than in any other battle. It was the enemyís last bulwark against the allied push toward Japan, and they resorted to a horrific kamikaze assault on the American fleet. Lawrence Smith was a careful observer, and his notes and diaries, along with remembrances in letters from his shipmates, present a fascinating story of war and camaraderie.
ěAboard LCS 11 in World War IIî is edited by Kearney Smith, Lawrence Smithís younger brother. Kearney is a retired professor of English, having taught language and literature in several colleges. He served four years in the Marine Corps in the 1950s. He earned a masterís degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia at Athens.
Brother Bruce H. Smith, a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, will represent all of the Smiths, living and deceased, at the book event on Saturday. As well as acting as the signer for the book event, Bruce will be available with commentary and answers to questions regarding the book, the brothers and the Navy.
Literary Bookpost is located at 110 S. Main St., downtown Salisbury. For more information about these events, call 704-630-9788 or visit www.literarybookpost.com.