A Year-End Note from Casemate’s Editorial Director

As we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, and enjoy the general Holiday respite before embarking upon 2012’s endeavors, I’ve thought it a good time to reflect back on the past year, from Casemate’s editorial point of view.

In short, nothing could be more pleasing, also frequently exciting, than the progress the company has made over the past year. Once again, and in fact more than ever, we’ve been able to feature an excellent array of original works that contribute much to the public’s understanding of the sacrifice of others in defense of their ideals or country. Military history provides a vast pool of insights beyond which the normal citizen can experience, and our dedication has been to illuminate it whenever possible.

Even as Casemate has expanded considerably in recent months, through new distribution opportunities, technologies, and proud acquisitions of fellow firms, our own publishing program remains the fulcrum, and at this point I believe has become the leader in its field.

At our delightful company Christmas celebration in Philadelphia last week (the luncheon followed by a little bit of pub-crawl, which provided even more interest), the publisher, David Farnsworth, generously reaffirmed our mission statement: Publish the most useful and instructive works of history we can lay eyes on, thence support them with professional expertise and our very best promotional efforts in order to enhance the knowledge of both the public and scholars alike.

A problem remains that publishing is largely an “advance” industry, so that our upcoming 2012 list is due to gain more supportive energy than the works just recently released. Here I’d like to acknowledge all the authors who helped to make our year just past so successful.

First in my mind is Flint Whitlock, whose first-ever comprehensive account of D-Day airborne operations, If Chaos Reigns, was superb in research, writing, and execution. It was a pleasure dealing with such a learned author, and his selection by the Military Book Club, right off the bat, put us into rush-mode from the start.

Then we had Alan D. Zimm’s Attack on Pearl Harbor, which dissected that battle in time for its 70th anniversary as no one has before (not even the Japanese). Alan’s work, now in its second printing, achieved a prominence among reviewers that should ensure its continued place as a must-read for any future scholars of the Pacific War.

A special point of pride for us was Jess Goodell’s memoir, Shade It Black, which earned national acclaim. Assisted by the calm hand of her co-author, John Hearn, Jess revealed an aspect of our recent Iraq War that was unique and rarely heard, as well as the experience of being a female US Marine.

Hope Hamilton somewhat surprised us with Sacrifice on the Steppe, perhaps the first full-length English work on the Italian army’s experience in WWII Russia yet published. Her grasp of the subject was later explained by word that two of her uncles had served in the Alpine Corps, the only Italian unit that stood fast during the Soviet counteroffensive after Stalingrad.

Under our auspices, former Special Forces Colonel Henrik Lunde continued his march toward the elite of military historians with Finland’s War of Choice, following up his work on the Norway campaign. We were happy, too, to publish a work by the noted historian Lester Grau. Gary Rashba provided us an amazingly astute survey of battles around Israel, from Jericho to Hezbollah, with Holy Wars. Janet and Richard Fogg provided a delightful WWII fighter pilot memoir of their famous forebear in Fogg in the Cockpit; and Kevin Dougherty, now at the Citadel, lent his plethora of insights into the Civil War with The Campaigns for Vicksburg.

And those were just just a few of our last-springs.

In fall we were able to feature Lt. Col. Michael Silverman’s Awakening Victory, which described the exact juncture where the Iraq War turned around in our favor (at least for the time being). Bob Tonsetic, after his acclaimed trilogy on Vietnam, wrote 1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War, which focused on the crucial moments as only a former combat leader could.

Mike Guardia, one of the most brilliant young history writers extant, currently an armor officer in the 4ID, continued his exploration of unconventional warfare with Shadow Commander, a long-overdue biography of Donald Blackburn. And from the UK, William Mortimer Moore provided us Free France’s Lion, the first full-length English biography of General Leclerc.

Other authors who’ve provided us their works are too numerous to mention in this note; however their expertise has been appreciated and I trust they have since gained confidence in our full editorial and promo effort placed behind them. A special shout-out should go to Christine Alexander and Mason Kunze, whose grandfather’s diaries of WWII in Russia have continued to sell throughout the year, having truly unveiled a perspective on that conflict seldom before seen.

Our mission statement, as ever, is to hit fresh points of history, yet we continue to rely on, and be grateful for, the immense expertise and research of our authors. Each one of them is a partner to us, and judging from our results in 2011 we’ve been fortunate to this date to encounter a great team.

We’re now at work on our 2012 releases, which I’m sure will be as fascinating as ever to the military history audience. With the recent advent of Richard Kane, formerly of Zenith and Presidio, we are also branching out a bit to address current military policy as well as history. Readers of this space will hear about all our upcoming projects shortly. Meantime, I thought it proper at this juncture to acknowledge our superb authors from the past year, with wishes that their works will continue to endure.

It’s an exciting period for us here at Casemate, the company expanding on all sides, somewhat bucking the general publishing trend by becoming larger and more influential all the time. This is attributable mainly to the fact of a great number of discerning readers, but also expert authors, who still insist on important, informative works, with which our editorial team is more than pleased to comply.

Happy New Year to all. On behalf of we at Casemate, I’m confident that the year 2012 will hold as much fascination for us as any period before.

Steven Smith

Editorial Director, Casemate Publishers

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