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
Jan 312014

Southern Festival of Books Panel Discussion (video)

Panel members discussed the daily lives of Civil War soldiers. Mr. Rosen talked about his book The Jewish Confederates, published by University of South Carolina Press. Mr. Groce talked about his book Mountain Rebels: East Tennessee Confederates and the Civil War, 1860-1870, published by University of Tennessee Press. David Madden talked about the book he edited Beyond the Battlefield: The Ordinary Life and Extraordinary Times of the Civil War Soldier, published by Touchstone Books. After their remarks the panel answered questions from audience members.

 Posted by at 8:09 am
May 072013

Opinion Piece- The Asheville Citizen-Times

Published: May 6, 2013

Community and technical colleges are becoming more and more numerous, and the quality of their facilities, teachers and students is increasing. They provide the kind of education and skill training that enables younger and older women and men to apply for a great variety of practical and much needed jobs.

A liberal arts education, on undergraduate and graduate levels, enables students to secure jobs in all fields, from engineering, computer science and medicine to creative writing, drama and the various other arts. Leaders in all fields favor employing people who have had a liberal arts education at some level.

Recent funding cuts, proposed cuts and negative comments from legislative and other elected leaders affecting the liberal arts move me to make a few observations. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:46 pm
May 052013

Why We Read Novels, Letter to the Editor, New York Times

Published: May 2, 2013

To the Editor:

The headline on Nathaniel Rich’s essay “Writing the End” (April 21) asks, “Should novelists try harder to confront long-term environmental crises?” As the author of 12 novels since 1961 and another in progress, I answer no.

Rich’s final paragraph offers a litany of reasons we read novels. They hold “a mirror to our secret desires and fears,” they allow us “to confront our long-term crises,” and they help us “to understand how the vast, complex problems of our time connect with our private inner lives.”

Then Rich burdens fellow novelists with the obligation “to pose the intimate questions” concerning the many ways the bad news about man’s future affects us. As a writer and teacher of writing for 60 years, I cannot recall ever hearing a writer or reader testify to the value of a novel as deriving from such utilitarian purposes as Rich claims. Great novels create pure experiences that affect our emotions, imaginations and intellect in ways that are mostly mysterious.

Black Mountain, N.C.

 Posted by at 8:09 pm
Mar 242013

For over two thousand years, London Bridge evolved through many fragile wooden forms until it became the first bridge built of stone since the leaving of the Roman invaders. In David Madden’s tenth novel, London Bridge is as much a living, breathing character as its architect Father Peter de Colechurch, who began work on it in 1176, partly to honor Archbishop Thomas a Becket, murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. Twenty-five years in the making, that version was a wonder of the world until it was dismantled in 1832. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:47 am