Thursday, 4 November 2010

Historical research in Missouri

As you might have guessed from my previous post, I'm back in Missouri researching my next book for Osprey Publishing. It's for the new Raid series and will be about Confederate General J.O. Shelby's 1863 raid into Missouri. This was one of the longest raids of the war and an important chapter in the history of the war west of the Mississippi.

Osprey is one publisher doing well in the recession thanks to its strong hold on the military history niche and its willingness to expand into new territory. Another new series, Weapons of War, includes my latest book.

I'm based in Columbia, a city in the center of the state that has the State Historical Society of Missouri and the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection, two great sources of information with very helpful staff. They're used to me and my endless questions by now! The two institutions are on the University of Missouri campus, where I took this shot of Thomas Jefferson thinking great thoughts. His leg warmers are courtesy of a local underground knitters group that likes decorating telephone poles, parking meters, and anything else they fancy. They haven't yet been named a terrorist group, but in this political climate that might be coming soon. I was surprised Jefferson's leg warmers actually lasted a whole two days before being removed!

Besides working on the book I'll also be going on a Jesse James roadtrip for Gadling. That should go online near the end of the month. My first stop will be this weekend when I visit the site of the Centralia Massacre, one of the bloodiest episodes of Frank and Jesse's war years.

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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