Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Virtual Book Signings!

I can't believe that I completely forgot to blog about this most wonderful find,! This is an absolute treat of a website that I discovered a few months ago, to my great and everlasting joy! Sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop in Chicago, this website hosts online author interviews and book signings of recently published volumes on Civil War topics.
"Why so great?" you may ask. Well, living on the Left Coast, there is a notable discrepancy in all things Civil War-related as compared to the East Coast and Midwest. While we do have at least one pre-eminent ACW scholar in our midst (Dr. Joan Waugh at UCLA, my college professor, thank you very much) the bulk of ACW scholarship and discussion does not spring from the west. Thus, virtualbooksigning puts us Cali-based scholars in touch with the newest and brightest in ACW publishing and learning.
The website allows you to log on and stream live interviews in real-time, all you have to do is join when the interview is taking place. You can buy the book if you like and get it signed by the author, even watch the author do it. You can submit questions and have them answered a few minutes later. Seriously, it's really fantastic.
I first ran across it a few months ago and, as luck would have it, Gary Gallagher was just sitting down to discuss his new book "For Cause and Comrades". I got to watch the interview and submit a few questions, which was a total hoot, and a few weeks later, my signed copy arrived in the mail.
If you miss the live webcast, there is a fantastic archive available stretching back a few years, so all you need to do is click on who you'd like to hear and BANG! you're watching Gordon Rhea or Brad Gottfried. Don't forget to check out who's coming up: Peter Cozzens, one of the nation's leading authors on the war in the Western theater, and Pulitzer Prize winner James McPherson.
Yes, I'll be watching both of those with rapt attention.
After you've had your fill listening to some of the foremost authors out there, you can browse the bookshelves of the store, though I warn you, unless you've got some serious wallet, you'll be hanging with me at the window looking in.
I have no association with either the Abraham Lincoln Boostore or beyond thinking they're both absolute treasures and deserve whatever publicity they receive. Even if you just have a passing interest in Civil War writing and study, you should tune in once or twice; nothing will get you more fired up about a topic than watching a leading expert break down their research and publications and interacting with them, even if you live thousands of miles away.

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