No, it’s not the day we crawl from bar to bar, drinking heavily. It’s publication day, when American Emperor officially hits the bookstores and Amazon starts shipping. It’s one of those exciting days when the author passes people on the street and thinks, with a flitting sense of dismay, “They don’t even know that my book came out today!”
But then the author returns to his or her lair, gazes fondly but not too long at the newly printed book, and pretends to get down to work on the next one. Hah!
Tonight, at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Politics and Prose Bookstore on Connecticut Ave., to spread the word about American Emperor. On Saturday I’ll be in Nashville to subject myself to the rigors of Aaron Burr Association, a group of delightful folks who are dedicated to the memory of AB (which is how Burr often referred to himself in correspondence). If there is something they don’t like in the book, I will hear about it.
And some very nice reviews have started to trickle in. Jon Kukla, a fine history writer, wrote generously this morning in the Washington Independent Review of Books. I was particularly warmed by the following passages:
“[Stewart’s] brilliant depiction of the hostile relationships of Hamilton, Burr and Jefferson reminds us of historian Henry Adams’s classic remark about sketching the semi-transparent shadows of character ‘touch by touch with a fine pencil’ . . .And American Emperor is a page-turner as well! It is no wonder that Brown University’s Pulitzer-winning Gordon S. Wood, reigning dean of historians of early America, recently placed David O. Stewart on his short list of ‘popular historians who dominate narrative history-writing in the United States today.’”
On Sunday, Doug Childers wrote in the Richmond Times Dispatch that “American Emperor is a rousing book . . . with a cast of characters that could slip comfortably into a three-volume melodrama of the 19th century.”
So it’s a good start — happy pub date to all!