Wednesday with Author Kevin Dougherty

With the release of Kevin Dougherty’s second book with Casemate, The Campaigns for Vicksburg, 1862–63: Leadership Lessons, we thought we’d catch up with Kevin to find out a little more about him.

When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?

I became seriously interested in writing as a junior Army officer through military journals such as Infantry.

What is it about writing that appealed to you?

I like the permanency and transparency associated with the written word.  Writing holds one accountable in a way the spoken word does not because of its exposure to continuous public scrutiny.  I think we are more careful with what we write than what we say and I appreciate the discipline that requires.  The idea that the written word endures is very appealing to me.

 Do you have any advice for budding military history authors wanting to get published?

You can’t just write about something you are interested in.  It must be something—and must be told in such a way—that other people are interested in it too.

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

I researched Vicksburg and did field work at the battlefield.  I have been a practicioneer and student of leadership all my adult life and the leadership examples I saw at Vicksburg struck a familiar chord.  Then it was just a matter of putting the two together.

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

I grew up in Virginia where there are many Civil War battlefields.  My Dad took me to many when I was little.  I was struck by the connection walking those battlefields gave me to great men of the past.

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

The leadership lessons are timeliness and I think we can learn much by examining the decisions and actions of those who have previously been in situations similar to our own.

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

I think the book appeals to a wide audience: Civil War historians, military men and women, managers and leaders of all walks of life.  The Vicksburg Campaign provides the story, but the lessons are nearly universal.

Kevin Doughterty, a former U.S. Army officer, has previously written several highly acclaimed works on the Civil War, and currently teaches at The Citadel.  Be sure to check out his first Casemate book, Strangling the Confederacy:Coastal Operations in the American Civil War.

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