Book Two of my fictional Overstreet Saga, The Burning Land, will launch on April 4, 2023. Here’s the cover — revealed for the very first time! The image is from a painting by Edwin Forbes of the Battle of Gettysburg. Forbes was an illustrator for Frank Leslie’s Magazine during the Civil War and traveled with the Union Army.
The book follows the fierce love of Henry Overstreet and Katie Nash of Maine, whose lives are upended by the Civil War — America’s bloodiest — and then westward migration, both of which inflict excruciating trials and loss.
Early comments on the book have been heartening, beginning with historian Peter Cozzens.
- “The Burning Land is an elegantly written, heartrending evocation of a Maine family’s suffering during the Civil War and its aftermath. The battle scenes are riveting, the characters are convincingly and compellingly developed. As a Civil War historian, I highly recommend David O. Stewart’s marvelous novel.”— Peter Cozzens, author of The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West.
The book is available for pre-order through Amazon, Barn
es & Noble, or your local bookstore.And since The Burning Land doesn’t launch until April, you have six months to catch up with Book One of the Overstreet Saga, The New Land, which you can order from online purveyors of fine books.
(Book Three, The Resolute Land, takes a later generation of Overstreets through the trials of World War II, and will launch next September.)
Proliferating PodcastsAs traditional media pays less attention to the world of books (a/k/a “my world”), podcasts fill some of that void, offering conversations that can be more engaging and immediate than reviews. You can listen in on three podcasts I did over the summer.
Better Known” with Ivan Wise, asked me to list six things (books, people, places) that should be better known. Mine were: (i) George Washington’s political skills, which my recent book about GW traces, (ii) Briton Philip Noel Baker, who won an Olympic medal and the Nobel Peace Prize, (iii) Josephine Tey’s historical novel, The Daughter of Time, (iv) the Valle de los Caidos Spain, built to project fascist ideas but repurposed to more benign purposes, (v) the sieges of Louisbourg in 1745 and 1758, which undermined France in North America and fired American disenchantment with Britain; and (vi) President Andrew Johnson‘s impeachment.
Carl Rollyson’s “A Life in Biography” podcast, where I talked with the talented and prolific author of at least twelve biographies of cultural icons from Marilyn Monroe to William Faulkner. Our topic was “the worlds of biography and fiction.”
Novelist Colleen Shogan named Archivist of the United States
President Biden has nominated Colleen Shogan as Archivist of the United States. Others may worry about a Senate confirmation fight over the appointment, now one of the political hot spots of our struggling democracy.(But what about her emails?)
I’m more interested in Colleen’s career as a mystery writer, with eight novels to her credit, all involving murders in the D.C. area. Who better to sort fact from fantasy in the current controversy? Senators will learn not to mess with someone who has imagined murders all around the American government; if they misstep, they could end up as a thinly-disguised character who meets a gruesome fictional demise.
She’ll be a great Archivist — go get ’em, Colleen!
Good Books I Didn’t Write
I enjoyed these books from diverse genres, with mayhem as a recurring theme:
In American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper, Dan Stashower reveals the “Untouchable” hero Ness as a glory-mad cop of small talents and less judgment. (Not the way Robert Stack and Kevin Costner portrayed him!) The book unwraps the case of the “torso” serial killer (just as icky as you think) in 1930s Cleveland.
Bitter Roots is Ellen Crosby’s twelfth foray into Virginia’s wine country (yes, Virginia, Virginia has a wine country). Another murder — we are fascinated by violators of the Fifth (sometimes the Sixth) Commandment — though with less gore and a neat twist.
The bodies drop faster in Larry DeMaria’s Absent Dead, which features insane killers deftly turning prematurely deceased nursing home residents into a profit center. Not exactly the “Golden Years” we’ve been promised!
Glass Jaw: A Manifesto for Defending Fragile Reputations in an Age of Instant Scandal (an updated reissue), by crisis management guru Eric Dezenhall, offers insightful views of reputational mayhem from a career of advising the besieged. Exploding old nostrums (e.g., you can’t “get ahead of the story” in the Internet era), Dezenhall notes that those under attack may be best served to dummy up and run their businesses well.
There’s no mayhem in Colm Toibin’s The Magician, his fictional treatment of Nobel Literature Prize winner Thomas Mann. But Toibin’s version of the great writer was far more compelling than the protagonists of the two Mann novels I have staggered through while obsesssively checking to see how many more pages were left to read . . . .