Over the past few months, has been adding new features to their book pages that are of great use to the consumer – but also turn out to be very revealing and helpful to publishers and authors.  One recently-added feature is the “category ranking” of books.  This can be found just under the “Sales Rank” section of a book’s page, and usually has several sub-categories that get progressively narrower.

For instance, click on the book page of any book about a Gettysburg subject.  Below its overall sales rank, you see a horizontal line of categories (each of them linked to pages of ranking lists).  The first is “Books,” and after that would be – History – United States – Civil War – Campaigns – Gettysburg.  You can click on each of these sections, and the particular book you’re looking at will be ranked within each section.  Each category is updated, according to the website, every hour.

It’s obviously useful to the consumer, because now instead of just seeing how a particular book ranks among the over 4 million books on Amazon, one can see how it ranks among progressively narrower categories.  You can now, for instance, find the “best sellers” among the Civil War, or Gettysburg or Antietam, etc. in particular.  And the benefit and interest to the publisher and author is obvious.

As for the Gettysburg category, I’ve been finding it interesting that over the past few months since this feature has been available, that Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels and Newt Gingrich’s Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War have been pretty consistently #1 and #2.  What this says about the public wanting to get its history from fiction instead of non-fiction, I’m not sure.  But as I’ve long said, if such works lead folks into reading non-fiction works on these subjects, then all the better.  I suspect (and I see this in local schools in my area) that many of our young people’s first introduction to subjects such as the Civil War and Gettysburg in particular is Killer Angels.  Hopefully, of course, if they wish to further their interest, they will take up non-fiction historical works.

Regardless, these new features, some of several that the site has instituted recently, are very helpful and interesting to all – and, I’m sure, a great marketing tool for Amazon.  They provide very interesting snapshots as to what the public is reading in various categories.

Published in: on October 31, 2007 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Premier Publisher Savas-Beatie teams with CWPT

It was recently announced on Savas-Beatie’s website that the premier publisher of historical works has teamed up with the Civil War Preservation Trust to donate money from book purchases to saving land.  When buyers use a special code, 10% of the purchase price goes to the CWPT for battlefield preservation.

I’ve long been a contributing member of the CWPT, and this is an example of a publisher putting their money where their mouth is, and taking a proactive role.  Ted Savas, managing director of the company (and respected historian in his own right) continues to impress with his efforts.  How many other publishers do this?  Darn few if any that I know of.  As said below, Ted “gets it.”  Please check out their website, their titles, and see if you’d like to make a qualifying purchase for yourself.

Here is the text from Savas’ website announcing the partnership:


El Dorado Hills, CA October 10, 2007 — Historical book publisher Savas Beatie LLC and The Civil War Preservation Trust have teamed up to raise money for endangered Civil War battlefields.

Savas Beatie is a leading independent publisher of military and general history books. Many of its titles focus on specific battles and campaigns, and so have been used by various groups and individuals to raise funds for various preservation causes. The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) is America’s largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields. The Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war’s history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it. Recently, CWPT picked up two special editions of Savas Beatie titles – Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg, by Timothy Smith, and Chicago’s Battery Boys: The Chicago Mercantile Battery in the Civil War’s Western Theater, by Richard Brady Williams—as premiums to help raise money for newly-acquired property on the Champion Hill battlefield.

When customers purchase any Savas Beatie book(s) from the company’s website (, they can include the coupon code “CWPT” with their order. Whenever an order is placed with this designation, Savas Beatie will donate 10% of the purchase price of the order to The Civil War Preservation Trust.

“People who know me know I care deeply about preserving endangered battlefields,” explains Savas Beatie Managing Director Theodore P. Savas. “Our new partnership with CWPT offers our readers a unique opportunity to acquire any of our titles—from ancient Rome to modern military science and sports history titles—and know that part of the purchase price will go directly to the best, most effective land-preservation company in the business. Over time,” continues Savas, “this could be a significant amount of money.”

David Duncan, Director of Membership and Development for CWPT agrees. “The Civil War Preservation Trust is thrilled to be working with Savas Beatie, the company that has been responsible for such tremendous Civil War scholarship—and other history—for so many years,” Duncan says.

“The fact that they freely offered to donate a portion of every purchase—regardless of genre—made by a CWPT member to saving hallowed ground speaks volumes to their dedication to preservation. Ted Savas ‘gets it,’” Duncan continues, “and while he is looking to sell books (which is fine with us), he is also looking to give back, which is all too rare in many corporations today.”

For additional information on the Savas Beatie-CWPT donation arrangement, contact Sarah Keeney or visit

About Savas Beatie LLC:

Savas Beatie LLC is a leading military and general history publishing company.

About The Civil War Preservation Trust:

The Civil War Preservation Trust is America’s largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields.


Sarah Keeney, Marketing Director
Savas Beatie LLC
Phone: 408-892-1316
Fax: 916-941-6895


Published in: on October 26, 2007 at 3:04 pm  Comments (1)  

Hunterstown Preservation Society

Today I had a very nice conversation with Laurie Harding, President of the Hunterstown Preservation Society.  This was the first time Laurie and I spoke – we’ve previously corresponded by email, and some of my readers might be familiar with some exchanges we’ve had here concerning the interpretation of this cavalry battle between Union BG Judson Kilpatrick and Confederate BG Wade Hampton’s troopers on July 2, 1863.  Laurie and her group have made yeoman’s efforts in order to try to save this currently pristine, beautiful little battlefield only 4 miles from Gettysburg – the sight of George Armstrong Custer’s first mounted charge as a brigadier.  The battlefield is under enormous threat to be turned into a McMansion housing development.  The historic Felty barn, where many of Custer’s troopers holed up to shoot at Hampton’s men, and which was a prominent and famous feature of the battlefield, was torn down by its owner recently.

This past Saturday, Eric Wittenberg and I gave a tour of Hunterstown to the members of the Harrisburg (PA) Civil War Roundtable as part of our all-day tour of Jeb Stuart’s Ride to Gettysburg (based on the tour in our book).  For perhaps a very short time, visitors can still see this battlefield – but soon, it may be plowed under so thousands of families can have a place to build their cookie-cutter homes.  Laurie and the Society are raising money to do all they can to stop the bulldozers and save this important piece of American and Gettysburg history.  The group is also putting together a monument to memorialize the fighting there.

Let’s hope the property owners have a change of heart, and place more importance on history than the almighty dollar – and that our local government officials get involved.  In the meantime, how can you help?  Please visit the Hunterstown Historical Society website, join them, and do whatever you can to make your voice heard.  I’ve joined at the Preservationist level, and will be visiting members of the group next month while I’m in Gettysburg.

Published in: on October 25, 2007 at 2:41 pm  Comments (8)  

Scope of the reclamation of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg

Today I received my new copy of The Gettysburg Quarterly, published by the National Park Service.  Of special interest to everyone following the current rehabilitation of the battlefield is the building of the new Visitor Center and Cyclorama off of Hunt Avenue.  This issue had an article on the Cemetery Ridge reclamation once the current VC/Cyc buildings are removed – and I hadn’t fully appreciated the scope and cost of it until now:

* The over 43-acre project area includes historic houses, barns, fences, stone walls, and orchards, as well as more than 70 monuments.

* Seven of the monuments near the Cyclorama building were moved during the construction of the building in the 1960’s (I wasn’t previously aware of that).  This project will put those monuments back in their original locations, where the veterans dedicated them.  One can appreciate the difference in interpretive value, for those of us who didn’t see them in their original locations…

* 6,700 feet of overhead utility lines along Taneytown Road will be buried (yay!)

* The total project cost is $9,588,694.  The Gettysburg Foundation will provide $7 million of that, and the NPS is asking Congress for the balance.

Those of us watching the tree clearings closely are remarking how the Gettysburg of today is such a different battlefield than what we’ve been used to, and I can’t wait to see the Cemetery Ridge/Zeigler Grove areas reclamed – and those monuments back in their original places.

Published in: on October 25, 2007 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Back after a breather

My apologies to the many folks who have written and wondered what in the world I’ve been up to these past couple months.  I guess I’ve been busier than I should be!  Over that time, Eric, Mike Nugent and I finished up our new book on the Retreat from Gettysburg, and I’ve spoken to Round Tables in New York City, Stanford CT, and Harrisburg PA.  Plus, this past Saturday, Eric and I gave an all-day bus tour of Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg to the Harrisburg CWRT. 

For a time, I’m on a self-imposed break from writing and speaking, just to catch my breath.  There’s a ton of work on the horizon, though – another series of books for Eric and I, numerous joint magazine articles (we recently have worked on three), and a number of solo articles.  I’m back in the saddle as far as blogging is concerned, and I have quite a number of subjects to speak about.

Something very exciting came in over the weekend – the newly designed cover of our new book.  Called “One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863” will be released by Savas Beatie LLC this coming June (in time for the Gettysburg Anniversary).  We took a great deal of time finalizing the subtitle of this book, to emphasize that our narrative deals in detail with the pursuit of the Confederates – all too often, the retreat is seen as only that – a retreat.  The efforts by the Federal army to pursue is often forgotten or missed.  We have put together a narrative (18 chapters) of the 22 battle and skirmishes during the retreat that have never been done before, our conclusion, an epilogue that discusses the period after both armies cross the Potomac after July 14, and two immensely detailed driving tours… one of the Wagon Train of Wounded, the other of the main armies.  Along the way, each conflict is dealt with in detail.  The book will be about 550 pages long, nearly 200,000 words.  The footnotes alone are around 30,000 words, virtually another book in themselves. 

We couldn’t be more proud of it.  Those familiar with the book by Eric and me on Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg will recognize that the cover of this book is similar – since the two books “bookend” the Gettysburg battle and are a set match.

Soon, we will be launching the website we will have for this book, and I’ll be releasing more details about the book as time goes on.

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 3:11 pm  Comments (3)