Dec 132015

 By David Madden

In 1992, Congress passed a resolution supporting the creation of the United States Civil War Center at Louisiana State University, the mission of which was to study the war from the perspective of every conceivable academic discipline, profession, occupation, ethnic group, and women and children, and to facilitate the planning of the sesquicentennial of the war. In 1996, fifteen years before the sesquicentennial began, I testified as founding director of the Center in support of the creation of a national Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission patterned after the Centennial Commission. The Congress failed to act, LSU incrementally dismantled the U. S. Civil War Center, and the sesquicentennial ended in 2015 after four years of lackluster, unimaginative commemoration.

One of the most innovative books on the Civil War, Look to the Earth: Historical Archeology and the American Civil War, edited by Clarence Geier and Susan Winter, appeared in 1996 from the University of Tennessee Press. The Center helped develop and facilitated the publication at that press of a unique book, Ninety-eight Days: A Geographer’s View of the Vicksburg Campaign, by Warren Graybau, and two unusual books on the neglected work of engineers for the Confederacy and for the Union.

Now the University of South Carolina Press has the distinction of publishing one of the few innovative books of the sesquicentennial years, The Civil War as Global Conflict: Transnational Meanings of the American Civil War, edited by David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis. This collection of thirteen solicited, previously unpublished essays by older well-established and young historians is also a major contribution to the relatively new and innovative Atlantic Studies discipline, and the first to examine the Civil War.

Continue reading review published in The Key Reporter (Phi Beta Kappa’s Publication for News and Alumni Relations).

 Posted by at 6:39 am
Dec 122015

 By David Madden

While serving four years on an escort carrier, William Goyen began House of Breath, probably the most lyrical passages ever written on an aircraft carrier.

Oh, but he did, as this comment on his first and finest novel, House of Breath, attests. “There are long passages of the best writing, the fullest and richest and most expressive that I have read in a very long time,” wrote Katherine Anne Porter, preeminent Texas short story writer, who passionately loved and pursued not only the writing but the man himself–Goyen’s longest heterosexual love affair, and, for literary history, most important.

Continue reading review published in The Key Reporter (Phi Beta Kappa’s Publication for News and Alumni Relations).

 Posted by at 7:25 am
Nov 202014

The Last Bizarre Tale, a new collection by Knoxville native David Madden, serves the dual purpose of introducing its prolific author to new readers and offering a summa to his long, impressive career. Sixty years of sustained productivity merits our respect, and the fact that so many of the tales carry the unmistakable sheen of a well-made story provokes admiration. The book demonstrates the protean nature of Madden’s gifts: his tales run the gamut of literary styles and genres, each entry marked with the stamp of its author’s ingenuity…  [Read more at Chapter 16]

 Posted by at 6:38 am
Feb 092014

SilentWeStoodSilent We Stood

by Henry Chappell

A Novel of the Underground Railroad in Texas

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Retail Price: $29.95
Issue: Winter 2014
ISBN: 9780896728325

Henry Chappell, author of Blood Kin and The Callings, fresh uses of the Western genre, has based Silent We Stood on actual events, which he describes in a preface. On Sunday, July 8, 1860, twenty-five establishments around the town square in Dallas burned. The fire was later determined to have started in the kindling box of a drug store, but suspicion that some whites among the 775 citizens were conducting an underground railroad and long-festering fear of an insurrection among the 1700 slaves in the county put the blame on three, and they were hanged. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:32 am