My long-awaited big book project: Embattled Farmers

Embattled FarmersSo, remember the giant book production project that was eating my life from about November to April? It is really, truly, for realsies DONE and published!

So now it can be told: The book is called Embattled Farmers, by Richard C. Wiggin, published by the Lincoln (MA) Historical Society. ISBN: 978-0-944856-10-9 hardcover; 978-0-944856-11-6 paperback. And I did the text and cover design and production (i.e., decided what everything should look like and then laid it out).

Fundamentally, it’s a collection of biographical profiles of the 252 individuals serving in the Revolutionary War who were natives, residents, or in any other wise associated with the town of Lincoln, Massachusetts. This undertaking alone required a massive research commitment, investigating and cross-checking primary and secondary sources all over the region. But the book goes a step beyond those individual statistics, pulling together a surprisingly cohesive narrative from the webs of relationships to the cultural fabric of a small and close-knit New England town at a time of great crisis and upheaval.

The official launch date was Monday, April 15, otherwise known in Massachusetts as Patriots’ Day, not to mention Marathon Monday. I actually had never heard what the final arrangements would be for the big launch event (once it was established that I wasn’t going to be able to get up to Boston for it in any case); and then with the bombings at the Boston Marathon, speaking of crisis and upheaval, I didn’t follow up to ask how things had turned out. But today I got an email from Rick (the author) with the following great news:

The National Park came in with a big order, as did several other shops, museums, historical sites in the area. And I moved a number of books in and around the various Patriots Day events last weekend and the weekend before. The Boston Globe ran an article about the book a week ago. And I’ve been getting phone calls from people wanting the book, from as far away as Amsterdam, NY. By the Launch Party last Monday, I had moved about 80 books. For the Launch Party, we had 290 people show up, and we sold 95 books that night. And since then, I have received restocking orders from 2 of the sites that are carrying it. Hard covers are not likely to arrive for another week and a half, and we have already taken orders for about 1/3 of them. So for all intents and purposes, we have just about sold out our initial print run. I’m doing my best not to let my 15 minutes of fame go to my head. But the Historical Society is ecstatic, to say the least! They have authorized a second print run, which I’d like to get into the works before we actually do run out of our dwindling inventory.

I’m personally very pleased with the way this book came out. At 592 pages (and 157 illustrations), it ended up being at least 20% longer and 100% more complicated than either Rick or I ever anticipated. But I truly believe that in its final form it’s achieved the status of a very important work of scholarship, and I’m proud of my role (technical as it may have been) in helping bring it together.

… Now if only there were a link to order it online! But folks in the Boston MetroWest area can check it out in the following venues:

And eventually I’ll manage to post a sample of the text along with the cover on my portfolio page. In the meantime, however, I would just like to note that the book does already have its own Facebook page. Talk about culture shock.

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