The London Book Fair 2014

london-book-fair-press-photoIt is the second day of The London Book Fair, and the Casemate Group is having a spectacular time! We have been quite busy with meetings and catching up with our publishing friends, but we have certainly managed to meet many new people along the way as well.

 The fair began Tuesday April 8th and will be ending tomorrow. If you are attending the London Book Fair this year, make sure to stop by Booth J1010 and say hello! We will be featuring a variety of Casemate and Publisher Client titles in the subject areas of archaeology, architecture, art, aviation, military history and much more!

Make sure to check our Facebook and Twitter Pages for any updates about the show, and we hope to see you there!

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A Nice Weekend with the Society of Military Historians in Kansas City

red-logo-The-Society-for-Military-HistoryThis past weekend Casemate attended the annual conference of SMH, perhaps the most prestigious confluence of current, former, and future military historians in the US.

Represented this time by our Publisher, David Farnsworth, and Editorial Director, Steven Smith, we were not only able to hobnob with authors, professors, and scholars—a number of whom teach at America’s top war colleges—we were also able to reconnect with fellow publishers.

It was a pleasure to see our fellow trade-travellers from Osprey, Naval Institute Press, Praeger, and others, while also resuming friendships with the top university lines in the country, from Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oxford, Cambridge, Missouri, and all points of the compass.

The conference switches venues each year (last time New Orleans, next year Montgomery) but this year Kansas City was a delight. Outside the conference hall, stories of the barbecue abounded, as well as comments on KC’s unique city architecture, which a time-traveller from the 1930’s would also admire.

A boon to attendees was that America’s “Liberty Memorial,” commemorating our losses in the Great War, was just across the street. Ground was first broken in 1926 for the impressive monument, with Marshall Foch of France, Admiral Beatty of England, and General Pershing of the US (along with President Calvin Coolidge) in attendance, as well as a multitude of citizens covering the entire hillside.

IMG_2362The terrific bonus for the conference was that America’s national World War I Museum has also been recently constructed and opened within that hill, directly beneath the monument. Every attendee at SMH made a pilgrimage to the museum, which is more than impressive, some say rivaling if not exceeding the Imperial War Museum’s in London.

Kansas City is always a terrific place to visit, but for establishing America’s own national World War I museum, in elegant yet spectacular fashion, we can recommend it more highly than ever as a fascinating destination for families as well as scholars.

photoDue to the number of discussions David and Steve (pictured here with a fellow attendee at our booth) had with authors and scholars at SMH, we can’t yet say how our talks will bear fruit. We may have to wait till 2015 to see. But as an enjoyable conference, and Kansas City as a delightful venue, we currently can’t say enough.

 

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Presbyterian College Theater presents ‘Kimberly’s Flight’

doc533ab6682496e3763118211Presbyterian College’s Department of Theater will honor the life of Kimberly Hampton by presenting their production ‘Kimberly’s Flight’ on Saturday, April 5th.

A alumni of Presbyterian College, Kimberly Hampton, of Easley, N.C., was killed in Fallujah Iraq when the helicopter she was flying was shot down by enemy fire.

Adapted from Casemate’s 2012 release, Kimberley’s Flight: The Story of Captain Kimberly Hampton, America’s First Woman Combat Pilot Killed in Battle, this production marks the 10th anniversary of Kimberly’s death.

The premier gala for this even is on Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Kimberly Hampton Memorial Scholarship fund.

Ann comforts Kimberly

Additional showtimes are as follows:

Tuesday, April 8 – 7:30 pm
Wednesday, April 9 - 7:30 pm
Thursday, April 10 - 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 12 – $1:30 pm

Ticket are $5.00 and can be purchased here.

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Eerie Similarities Between Disappearance of MH 370 and Meal 88 May Offer Clues

Earl J. McGill, author of Jet Age Man and Black Tuesday Over Namsi reflects on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370:

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The media has been going back and forth with theories and conjectures about the disappearance of  Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: a radio call before, then after a left turn; denial there was a turn; data showing engines ran for several hours, then didn’t … ad infinitum.  One NBC ‘expert’ remarked several times that there has never been another disappearance like this.  I respectfully disagree.

I’ve written an entire chapter on an eerily similar disappearance of our wing B-52 (Meal 88) in detail in Jet Age Man, chapter 20, “Voices From the Sea.” The similarities are striking: experienced crew flying at night over water, sudden loss of all communications and radar–vanished into thin air. Meal 88 is even harder to explain.  The B-52 disappeared just offshore from Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, relatively close to a radar (RBS) site, on a clear night where hundreds, if not thousands of people should have seen a fire or explosion.

At the very beginning, an FAA flight center radar station reported that it was tracking Meal 88 on a return leg to Carswell AFB. It turned out to be another aircraft.  This was followed by a report from an ADIZ site (Weakfish) that observed Meal 88 climbing out of low level and heard a call from “Meal 88″ after their disappearance.  This went on for ten days: dozens of eye witness reports, crash debris spotted all over the Gulf, an SR-71 mapping all bases within fuel radius for possible hijacking, a virtual armada of the best underwater exploration ships in the world on station–finding nothing. Ten days of intensive searching by hundreds of ships and aircraft for the world’s largest production aircraft at the time (Feb 1968) that disappeared within sight of land–and nothing, not a trace, not a scrap of metal, life vests, maps–nothing.

Ten days after Meal 88 first disappeared, shredded pieces of wing, honeycomb, and even a flight jacket washed up on the shores of Padre Island.

It’s a cruel sea that does not give up its secrets willingly.

You can learn more about Earl McGill by visiting his website and following him on twitter @jetageman

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Meet the Author of Casemate’s SECOND FRONT: The Allied Invasion of France, 1942-1943 , Alexander M. Grace, Sr.

As we are expecting Casemate’s first “Alternative History”, SECOND FRONT: The Allied Invasion of France, 1942-1943,  any day now, we decided to sit down and get to know author Alexander M. Grace, Sr.

For those of you haven’t yet heard of this book, it creates a realistic scenario, whereby the vast Allied invasion fleet that hit North Africa in late 1942 had instead turned left, once through Gibraltar, and hit the unguarded southern coastline of Vichy France instead. Coming as a complete surprise to the Germans, the Allies were able to disembark largely at ports instead of across opposed beaches. Vichy’s cooperation had been secured in advance, and the Allies secured a lodgement well before the Wehrmacht could react.

To be sure, the Luftwaffe responded immediately, trying to bomb the invasion ports, but Allied airpower was also in evidence, both fighter and bomber strength. As during the real invasion of France, US paratroopers–in this case the 82nd Airborne– were sewn behind the front, along with French resistance fighters creating havoc with enemy transport routes. German panzer divisions nevertheless soon drove against the rapidly expanding Allied incursion, and titanic tank battles took place near Lyon. We won’t say anything more except to recommend “Second Front” as an intriguing, fact-based look at how World War II in Europe might have unfolded if the Allies had decided in 1942 to assault Europe’s true “underbelly,” not the false one that Churchill mistakenly assumed. Here, in the author’s words:

Why did you decide to write this book? What prompted you to put this story down on paper?

 The inspiration for this book came from watching the opening scenes of “Saving Private Ryan,” with the bloody landings on Omaha Beach.  It occurred to me that the sacrifices made there might not have really been necessary, and I began research into why that road was chosen and whether other options might have been available.

 How long did it take you to write it?

The actual writing process probably took a couple of months.  Of course, I have a “day job” and a family, but I tend to write pretty fast and only having an hour or two a day tends to force me to have my ideas in order for the precious time when I can actually sit down to work.

 What do you like most about your book? Why should we read it?

 I like to think that I present a plausible scenario for how a key event in history did not have to work out the way it did.  Hopefully this will open readers’ minds to the possibility that this is true in other situations as well.

How much research did you do for the book?  Can you give us some tips on this?

I have been a student of World War II for many years and have a rather extensive library of my own on the subject.  Since this is an alternative history, the focus was on the factual data related to the starting point of my divergence, and a study of the capabilities of the contending sides to help determine plausible outcomes.  As a long time wargamer, I was able to set up the simulation and actually game it out to check the validity of my premises.

 What fascinates you about revisiting the past and bringing it to life in a book? Have you always been interested in history?

History has always been my passion.  Fiction can be entertaining and even thought-provoking, but history really happened.  In fiction, the challenge is to make the events believable.  With history, the more spectacular and unlikely the event the better, as long as you can document it.  I was addicted in my youth to historical wargames, fascinated with the idea of changing history.  I played them, reviewed them, and even designed some.  This book is an outgrowth of that thought process.

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Have you read anything lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

On World War II I recommend Gregor Dallas, John Erickson, and Norman Davies.  I have been doing research on the Cold War and recommend Adam Ulam, Roy Medvedev, and Orlando Figes.

 What are you working on at the moment?

 I have recently completed work on a rather ambitious history of the Cold War (1917-1991) for which I am currently looking for a publisher.

 Get your copy here or wherever fine books are sold 

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Palos Heights Soldier Continues Family’s Legacy of Infantry Service

In a note from the Illinois National Guard Facebook:

Story by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

PALOS HEIGHTS, IL– As the nation celebrates the significant contributions grandparents make with National Grandparents Day, Sept. 8, Pfc. James M. Bilder of Palos Heights, Ill., reflects and honors his own heritage.

“There’s such a strong pool of knowledge with our past,” said Bilder an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Bartonville, Ill. “If we take the time to listen and talk to our grandparents we can learn about not only our families, but also how the world might come around.”

9781612000909Bilder is learning more about his past with the help of his father and author, James (Jim) G. Bilder of Palos Heights Ill., who co-wrote the book “A Foot Soldier for Patton” with his father, Michael C. Bilder. The book is an account of Michael’s four and a half years of service during World War II as an infantryman in the 5th Infantry Division, under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army, published in 2008 by Casemate.

“I wanted to be in the Army since I was 6 or 7 years old,” said Bilder. “Naturally, my dad is my hero. I also looked up to my grandpa because he was always there when I was growing up. That always inspired me.”

Bilder’s grandfather influentialed in him to join the Army National Guard, but he never actually advised him to join or not to join.

“James has wanted to serve for a long time,” said Jim. “His grandfather even told him some of the harder realities of military service, especially in the infantry. He didn’t discourage him, but he made him aware it isn’t just parades and getting to wear a uniform.”

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A Special review for “BARKSDALE’S CHARGE: The True High Tide of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863″

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Last July, for the 70th anniversary of Gettysburg, we at Casemate were pleased to release Dr. Phillip Thomas Tucker’s latest work, “Barksdale’s Charge,” an in-depth look at the height of the battle on the second day, when one Confederate brigade nearly cracked the entire Union position on Cemetery Ridge.

But it did not escape us that another book had been published last summer, by Knopf, called “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion,” which described the entire three days of the battle, with rare expertise. This work, by Professor Alan C. Guelzo, became a national sensation, and perhaps the most important Civil War book in the last 20 years. From the New York Times and the Economist, to the Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor, it has been lauded, often called the “definitive” account of the battle.

You can imagine our pleasure, then, at finding that while we were reading Prof. Guelzo’s book, he was also reading “Barksdale’s Charge,” and in the respected journal, Civil War News, penned a review of our work. It said, in part:

“Launched from Seminary Ridge in the late afternoon as part of Longstreet’s assault, Barksdale’s brigade, with Barksdale himself riding at the head, overran the Sherfy farm and the Peach Orchard, captured the Trostle farm, and very nearly broke through the wreckage of the 3rd Corps to the Taneytown Road. In that event, the Army of the Potomac might have had little option but retreat. . . . Barksdale, frantic at how near he was to a complete breakthrough, was cut down by Union bullets. . . . Phillip Thomas Tucker takes up Barksdale’s cause with a vigor that would certainly have won the old fire-eater’s approval.”—Alan C. Guelzo, in Civil War News

It has been flattering in the extreme that Prof. Guelzo chose to read and review our work, in which we posit that Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade might have turned the tide of the battle.

In turn we will now review his excellent work. To be short, Prof. Guelzo’s superb prose and deep grasp of detail caused the battle to come to life once again for another generation of American readers. His combination of strategic grasp, as well as on-the-ground insights, stands as the envy of future historians.

We only hesitate slightly in declaring Prof. Guelzo’s book “definitive.” Instead, to students of the battle, we believe he was purposely being provocative. One must read “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion” to see, but never has the public seen Hancock portrayed so poorly, nor O.O. Howard so well. Or Humphreys, Gibbon and Hunt so poorly, while Jeb Stuart at least has an explanation. His in-depth insights into that 3-days fight are nothing short of amazing.

To we at Casemate it only made the book more of a delight, as Prof. Guelzo, on the basis of his unprecedented expertise, simply knocked down shibboleths or common wisdom left and right.

“Barksdale’s Charge” was written in the same vein, and the most pleasant news of all was that Prof. Guelzo agreed with its premise—that if the Cemetery Ridge position had been cracked on Day 2, the Army of the Potomac would have had no other recourse but retreat.  To be clear, Dr. Tucker did not think the half-shattered Mississippi Brigade could have held that position by its own on July 2, even if gained. But twice in his pages he states that that evening was when Pickett’s division should have gone in.  Pickett’s men had begun arriving at 2:00 that afternoon, fully assembled around 5:00. But at Gettysburg there was to be no A.P. Hill such as at Antietam. Instead Lee sent Pickett an order: “I shall not want you today.”

The truth is, there were no other days! Can one imagine if Pickett’s division had been able to go in on Day 2, following up Barksdale, who was already fighting on Cemetery Ridge, with a completely unopposed approach-march with the entre Potomac Army then hanging by a thread? And with Wofford’s brigade still there, and entire other Rebel divisions on the left not yet committed? It can be said that the entire Potomac Army was just waiting to be defeated again, and were more surprised than anyone that they weren’t.

We know that Longstreet never wanted to go into battle with “one boot off.” But if Pickett’s Virginians, under Armistead, Garnett, and Kemper, had been able to follow Barksdale’s path in that twilight, it is nearly inconceivable to imagine Meade’s army not hastening to try to get back to their Pipe Creek line in Maryland, as best as they could.

In any event, we can all refight the Battle of Gettysburg continuously—while in normal life mistakes are made on all sides, in that case the mistakes were crucial to our entire nation. The final result was grand, as the Union held sway. But it was a near-run thing.

For a comprehensive look at the three days of Gettysburg we urge everyone to read Prof. Guelzo’s “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.” For those who wish to see what one Confederate brigade was thinking at the time, in just one segment, including their ardor when attacking across those open fields in the face of bullets, grape, and canister, in the hope that they could win the war by themselves, if properly led (and then simply go home), we also recommend “Barksdale’s Charge.”

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Filed under Books, Civil War, eBooks, Military History, Publishing, Reenactment

Fighting Fox Company

We’re excited to announce that Fighting Fox Company: The Battling Flank of the Band of Brothers is now available for purchase from Casemate!

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In this new release, author Terry Poyser and Bill Brown reveal the heroic actions and service of the Fox Company in the 506th Infantry Division. With never-heard stories presented directly from the words of the participants, Fighting Fox Company takes the reader into some of the most horrific close-in fighting in the war including the paratrooper drop on D-Day, the drop into Holland, and the Battle of the Bulge.

To learn more about the research and process of writing the book, we talked to author Terry Poyser about his work:

How much research did you do for the book?

I started research in 2000 while looking for information, more out of curiosity, concerning a KIA from the company who was from my home town of Napa, CA.  I looked in local newspapers from the era, interviewed the son of the KIA, contacted and interviewed, in person, all of the surviving members of his units, obtained their letters home, morning reports, jump manifests, company rosters, payroll records, maps, over 500 original photos, and took veterans from the unit back to the battlefields in France, Holland, and Belgium. I also became a member of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team and made parachute jumps from a C-47 across the US, as well as in Normandy and Holland for the 60th Anniversary of their D-Days.

What fascinates you about revisiting the past and bringing it to life in a book?

The truth is better than fiction. Reality is surreal, and fiction is made up fantasy. I see it in my professional work, I hear it from the Veterans. These humble men did amazing things almost seventy years ago, and I feel that their sacrifice needs to be recorded for not only their families, but future generations of Americans who should appreciate the freedom they have given us.

Officers and NCO's 1943

Officers and NCO’s 1943

What prompted you to put this story down on paper?

I just has a desire to document the history of the men in the company. Not only for those interested in World War II history, but also the men who returned and those in the unit who gave their lives for our freedom. After interviewing several members of the company and reading their letters home during the war, I realized that there were some very unique things about the outfit, and some of their unknown actions would change current documented history.

What do you like most about your book? Why should we read it?

I have read hundreds of books on World War II and to my knowledge, there is no previous book with such detail and documentation published. It is the combination of the personal accounts, letters home, and army records that set the book apart from others.

You can purchase your own copy of Fighting Fox Company here.

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ALA Midwinter 2014

ALAMW

This weekend, Casemate and The David Brown Book Company will be at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.  If you’re in the area, be sure to drop by at booth #0543  to say hello!

This years meeting is held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will run from Friday, January 24 to Monday, January 27th. The exhibit hours are as follows:

Friday  5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Saturday  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Monday  9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Hope to see you there!

 

 

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The Casemate Group is hiring!

The Casemate Group is one of the leading independent specialist publishers (Casemate Publishers and Oxbow Books) and distributors, providing global sales, marketing, print, digital and publishing services. Publications include the very best in archaeology, art, architecture, aviation, medieval, military and social history, with over 200 client publishers from both trade and academic sectors.

In this varied role as group marketing manager, you will be required to develop a keen understanding of our customers and niche areas of reader interest, and manage both the day-to-day marketing activities of the marketing department, and long-term marketing strategy for the company.

Key responsibilities include:

·     Managing all marketing for the company and activities within the marketing department

·     Developing the marketing strategy for the company in line with company objectives

·     Overseeing implementation of the marketing strategy – including campaigns, events/conferences, digital marketing and PR

·     Overseeing the company’s marketing budget

·     Overseeing creation and publication of all marketing material in line with marketing plans

·     Work in partnership with the company’s distribution clients to promote their key publications

·     Work closely with the editorial teams to plan marketing campaigns and materials for new product launches


Based at our central Oxford offices, you will work closely with the UK and US sales teams, and collaborate with the company’s US group marketing manager to deliver campaigns that both promote the company’s brands and grow its revenue most effectively, worldwide.

The ideal candidate will have:

·     Strong creative outlook

·     Strong analytical, organisation and project management skills

·     Qualification in marketing or at least three years’ experience

·     Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills

·     Confident, professional and dynamic personality

·     Customer-focused

·     Enthusiasm for history and/or archaeology


Applicants must have an existing right to live and work in the UK. The position is office-based and full-time (35 hours per week, Mon-Fri).
To apply, please contact Simone Drinkwater with your covering letter and CV. The closing date for this role is 3 February 2014.

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