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"To Make Men Free" a "guilty pleasure" -- CW News

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  • richard@rcroker.com
    Hey guys -- you ve been awfully quiet lately! I got some personal news to relate. First (what a rush) I was asked to make a speech at the Carter Center on the
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 19, 2004
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      Hey guys -- you've been awfully quiet lately!

      I got some personal news to relate. First (what a rush) I was asked to make
      a speech at the Carter Center on the anniversary of the Preliminary
      Emancipation Proclamation. What a rush! I also had a very successful trip
      to Brunswick, GA to be the keynote speaker at the inaugural meeting of the
      Coastal Georgia Civil War Roundtable. So things are going well.

      Several months ago, I requested that Civil War News review my book. I knew
      I was marching into the heart of “I Don’t do Fiction” country. I knew that
      the best I could hope for was a “mixed” review, notwithstanding Ted
      Alexander’s (Chief Historian, Antietam NBP) statement that TMMF is “The
      Killer Angels of Antietam.”


      The review is out, and it is “mixed,” but I am VERY pleased.
      They called it “a guilty pleasure.” Hey – a huge slice of chocolate cake
      and a Texas tumbler of ice cold milk is a guilty pleasure, and a “rave”
      review.



      They nit-picked the history, as they should and I knew they
      would, and in 428 pages they found only four errors. On one of them they
      are right and I am wrong. My bad. Two of them are subjective, one saying
      that I favor Confederate generals over Union generals. I have a defense.
      Duh. While my cultural heritage may have sneaked through, we’re comparing
      Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet with John Pope, George
      McClellan and Ambrose Burnside. I say again, “duh.”



      Two additional errors were found in the Afterword. This is my
      favorite. After watching his own men kill his brother-in-law, it has been
      Southern lore for generations that General “Neighbor” Jones died “of a
      broken heart.” I relayed this tale, quotation marks included. Civil War
      News found it imperative to point out that Jones died of a heart disease –
      NOT a broken heart.



      In short – I am VERY pleased with my excursion into the land of
      “I Don’t do Fiction” and consider it a victory. They even confessed to have
      learned something along the way.



      So please give “To Make Men Free” a fair trial. I think you
      will approve of the history and you may even “learn something along the
      way.”



      For those of you who have helped me research the second book in
      the series (A Place Worse than Hell; a Novel of the Battle of
      Fredericksburg) I thank you once again. My never-ending quest to blow the
      dust off of our fascinating and dramatic history while remaining true to the
      facts continues.



      Thank you all and please check me out at www.rcroker.com



      Richard Croker

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "NJ Rebel" <gerry1952@...>
      To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 6:57 PM
      Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] CW Properties Protected


      > Dear Richard,
      >
      >
      >
      > Contact me privately and I will be happy to share some sample draft
      chapters with you if you would like to review them.
      >
      >
      >
      > I have read another novel about Antietam, the one titled Promise of Glory.
      Have you read it?
      >
      >
      >
      > I remain,
      >
      > Your Humble and Obdt. Servant,
      >
      > G. E. "Gerry" Mayers
      >
      > Corporal,
      >
      > Confederate Signal Corps,
      >
      > Longstreet's Corps
      >
      >
      >
      > "It is Well that WAR is so Terrible;
      >
      > else we shall grow too fond of it."
      >
      > --Robert E. Lee
      >
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      >
      > From: <richard@...>
      >
      > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      >
      > Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 4:14 PM
      >
      > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] CW Properties Protected
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > > Gerry;
      >
      > >
      >
      > > If you're considering a novelized account of the Maryland Campaign, you
      >
      > > might want to check mine out. Sounds like you share my exact passion.
      I
      >
      > > felt no need to create anything or anybody, but "To Make Men Free" has a
      >
      > > much wider scope that yours seems to. I did give names to persons whose
      >
      > > real names have been lost to history, and I tended to overemphasize (in
      >
      > > retrospect) the "great men of history." Book 2 (A Place Worse Than
      Hell)
      >
      > > will land a little deeper in the ranks -- but still real people. This
      one
      >
      > > will feature Henry (Little) Abbott -- The Harvard Regiment -- William
      >
      > > Owen -- The Washington Artillery, William McCarter -- The Irish Brigade
      and
      >
      > > Evan Woodward -- 11th PA Vols among others. But how I DO ramble on.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Check out my site at www.rcroker.com and learn more about TMMF> The
      book is
      >
      > > available at the Antietam NBP bookstore and anywhere on-line. Don't
      know if
      >
      > > NJ bookstores still carry it or not, but Amazon and B&N etc all still
      have
      >
      > > it.
      >
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      >
      > > From: "NJ Rebel" <gerry1952@...>
      >
      > > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      >
      > > Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2004 5:19 PM
      >
      > > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] CW Properties Protected
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > > Dear Tim;
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Again, thank you for your comments. When or if the book is ever done
      and
      >
      > > published, whatever the readers plug into what I write is up to them. My
      >
      > > object is to tell the story of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 from the
      >
      > > Confederate side, micro and macro (using a soldier in the ranks of the
      >
      > > Fourth NCST for micro and a young "staff officer" for the macro about
      the
      >
      > > overall aspects of the campaign), in such a manner that not only
      entertains
      >
      > > the reader but actually gives them a true feel for the historical,
      factual
      >
      > > events.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > I might be willing to privately send you some draft sample chapters
      for
      >
      > > you to get a feel for the work thus far.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > I have "created" fictitious incidents for real people in the book but
      have
      >
      > > carefully considered the situation I place the actual people in vs what
      >
      > > would have been done at the time or what the real persons themselves
      likely
      >
      > > did or experienced at the particular time.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Soldier ghosts... hmm.... that might be interesting to see if it
      happens,
      >
      > > eh?
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > I will keep you posted on possible dates for a visit down SM way.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > I remain,
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Your Humble and Obdt. Servant,
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > G. E. "Gerry" Mayers
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Corporal,
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Confederate Signal Corps,
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Longstreet's Corps
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > "It is Well that WAR is so Terrible;
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > else we shall grow too fond of it."
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > --Robert E. Lee
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > ----- Original Message -----
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > From: "Tim Reese" <tjreesecg@...>
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2004 11:11 AM
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] CW Properties Protected
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Gerry,
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Bring anyone you like. The more the merrier. But be advised if you
      and
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > yours come in uniform you will likely stir up more tales of "soldier
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > ghosts." Happened to me years back. I'm honored to say that I
      personally
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > joined the international brotherhood of Burkittsville specters,
      Local
      >
      > > 1862.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Maybe I'm becoming transparent.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > You have my email address, the rest is on my web site at
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > http://home.earthlink.net/~tjreesecg/ Always welcome.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > You are a truly brave soul to cast the campaign in fictional light.
      Be
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > careful that novelesque elements you create from informed background
      >
      > > work
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > don't leach into the genre as fact, though you really have little
      >
      > > control
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > over such things. Your readers will likely plug-in creative elements
      as
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > logical explanations where primary sources are lacking. Should be an
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > intriguing read.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Create a collapsing universe, throw in the whirlwind, and you have
      Fox's
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Gap. Good luck trying to make sense of it. A colleague recently
      observed
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > that IHHO the FG fight was of little or no consequence or result.
      This I
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > think a bit overstated. More like an immovable object pitted against
      an
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > irresistible force.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Tim
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > ADVERTISEMENT
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > >
      > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > > ------
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TalkAntietam/
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > TalkAntietam-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > > c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
      >
      > > Service.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Tim Reese
      Hi Richard, Methinks someone is walking on cloud 9. And so you might. Speaking strictly as someone who doesn t do fiction, I applaud your effort and
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 19, 2004
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        Hi Richard,

        Methinks someone is walking on cloud 9. And so you might. Speaking strictly
        as someone who "doesn't do fiction," I applaud your effort and attendant
        success. Anything--fictional or nonfictional--which draws attention to the
        campaign and makes people think it out in greater detail is worth its
        weight in platinum. Relish your guilty pleasure; you earned it.

        I wouldn't put too much stock in reviews. They're far too subjective. I for
        one tend to ignore them, but others certainly don't. Therefore they can be
        a fair gauge of reactive publicity. You want folks to know your work is out
        there. This accomplished, readers and word of mouth will take it from
        there. The process unfolds in slow motion. Patience. All things come to he
        who waits.

        Things have been predictably quiet hereabouts due to the post-anniversary
        doldrums and the inescapable fact that everyone is busy gearing up for the
        holidays and winter, myself no exception. Perhaps this reply will spark a
        few more. The shank of the year is always hectic for most. Then we all go
        to hibernation.

        Warm congrats. Feels pretty good, doesn't it. What next? There's always a
        "next," so long as there is breath.

        Tim
      • richard@rcroker.com
        Yeah -- I m buzzin a bit. The Carter Center thing was unbelievable. I ll be posting a photo on the site pretty soon. But the highlight was that two of my
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 19, 2004
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          Yeah -- I'm buzzin' a bit. The Carter Center thing was unbelievable. I'll
          be posting a photo on the site pretty soon. But the highlight was that two
          of my high school history teachers showed up. Understand that I went to HS
          when books were still carved in stone, and I haven't seen one of these
          wonderful people since 1964!

          You're right about reviews. I agree 100%. It was with huge trepidation
          that I approached CW News, knowing full well that it is their job to hammer
          all fiction. Understanding that, I was pleased.

          Regarding its being "a long process" -- you couldn't be "righter" about
          that. While there is a chance that TMMF might require a second hardback
          printing, without adequate promotion, it's incredibly frustrating. I have a
          major publisher, but I think that may hurt more than it helps. They spend
          all their promotion dollars on the guys who don't really need and all us
          "first timers" are left to fend for ourselves. The second book ("A Place
          Worse then Hell") is not going to be published until March of 2006! A
          argued with them on that, but in a match between first-time authors and
          HarperCollins -- well -- I'm the cobra, and they're the mongoose. Don't get
          me wrong! They've been great. One quick story -- there was a bit of a
          tragedy in the book affecting 7-year-old Ada Mumma. My editor thought it
          was too depressing and wanted me to change it. I told him I didn't create
          it -- God did -- I just told the story as it happened. He caved on that
          one. "If that's what happened, go with it." So they have fully supported
          me in my effort to keep the history accurate.

          But my how a ramble.

          One more answer -- I working on a proposal for a book about Harry Truman and
          "the BOMB." Talk about "depressing."

          Thanks for everything Tim -- bundle up!

          Richard
          www.rcroker.com
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Tim Reese" <tjreesecg@...>
          To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 10:48 AM
          Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] "To Make Men Free" a "guilty pleasure" -- CW
          News


          >
          > Hi Richard,
          >
          > Methinks someone is walking on cloud 9. And so you might. Speaking
          strictly
          > as someone who "doesn't do fiction," I applaud your effort and attendant
          > success. Anything--fictional or nonfictional--which draws attention to the
          > campaign and makes people think it out in greater detail is worth its
          > weight in platinum. Relish your guilty pleasure; you earned it.
          >
          > I wouldn't put too much stock in reviews. They're far too subjective. I
          for
          > one tend to ignore them, but others certainly don't. Therefore they can be
          > a fair gauge of reactive publicity. You want folks to know your work is
          out
          > there. This accomplished, readers and word of mouth will take it from
          > there. The process unfolds in slow motion. Patience. All things come to he
          > who waits.
          >
          > Things have been predictably quiet hereabouts due to the post-anniversary
          > doldrums and the inescapable fact that everyone is busy gearing up for the
          > holidays and winter, myself no exception. Perhaps this reply will spark a
          > few more. The shank of the year is always hectic for most. Then we all go
          > to hibernation.
          >
          > Warm congrats. Feels pretty good, doesn't it. What next? There's always a
          > "next," so long as there is breath.
          >
          > Tim
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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