Tag Archives: UPK

Johnny Cox Named 2019 SEC Legend

Johnny Cox, a contributor in Doug Brunk’s Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories From Kentucky Basketball Greatswill be the University of Kentucky’s member of the 2019 Southeastern Conference Legends. This group of former stars will be honored during the 2019 SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.

Screenshot (22)

(Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Archives)


Cox’s time at UK was marked by two SEC Championships and a national championship. He was also a three-time All-SEC performer, as well as a NCAA Consensus First Team All-American in 1959. Over the course of his three seasons, he averaged 17.4 points per game and 12.0 rebounds, and he is one of only a handful of players to have recorded more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. Since his time at UK, his No. 24 jersey has been retired and he has been inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.





“When my jersey was retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena I remember feeling like I’d done something worthwhile. I suppose I was successful in basketball at UK because I spent a lot of time fooling with the game, kept trying to get better. When you spend a lot of time doing something, and you don’t deviate from it, you get results.”

Johnny Cox in Wildcat Memories


New Releases: Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series

For those headed to Arlington this week for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) annual meeting, swing by our booth; say hello to our representative, Melissa Hammer; and browse a few of these great new titles!

Click here to view all titles in the Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series.


Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow
Confidential Diplomacy and Détente
Richard A. Moss
Foreword by Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

“Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow will become an instant classic. For all of the books that mention the back channels—Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s most important foreign policy tools—this is the first to exhaustively mine the archives to explain their origin, how they were used, and to what end. Lucidly written and superbly researched, future works on Nixon foreign policy will have no choice but to consult this essential work. It is a must read to understand the era.”—Luke Nichter, author of Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World

Most Americans consider détente to be among the Nixon administration’s most significant foreign policy successes. The diplomatic back channel that national security advisor Henry Kissinger established with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin became the most important method of achieving this thaw in the Cold War. Kissinger praised back channels for preventing leaks and streamlining communications. These methods, however, were widely criticized by State Department officials and by an American press and public weary of executive branch prevarication and secrecy.

Richard A. Moss’s penetrating study documents and analyzes US-Soviet back channels from Nixon’s inauguration through what has widely been heralded as the apex of détente, the May 1972 Moscow Summit. He traces the evolution of confidential-channel diplomacy and examines major flashpoints, including the 1970 crisis over Cienfuegos, Cuba, the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT), US dealings with China, deescalating tensions in Berlin, and the Vietnam War.

Employing newly declassified documents, the complete record of the Kissinger-Dobrynin channel—jointly compiled, translated, annotated, and published by the US State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry— as well as the Nixon tapes, Moss reveals the behind-the-scenes deliberations of Nixon, his advisers, and their Soviet counterparts. Although much has been written about détente, this is the first scholarly study that comprehensively assesses the central role of confidential diplomacy in shaping America’s foreign policy during this critical era.


Foreign Policy at the Periphery
The Shifting Margins of US International Relations since World War II
Edited by Bevan Sewell and Maria Ryan

“Even after the United States became a global superpower, some regions of the world remained peripheral to American interests. What set these areas apart? And why did the U.S. eventually become drawn into their affairs? In this smart collection of original essays, an all-star lineup of historians answers these questions, and more, and uncovers the powerful dynamics that have shaped America’s rise to globalism.”—Andrew Preston, Cambridge University

As American interests assumed global proportions after 1945, policy makers were faced with the challenge of prioritizing various regions and determining the extent to which the United States was prepared to defend and support them. Superpowers and developing nations soon became inextricably linked, and the decolonization of states such as Vietnam, India, and Egypt assumed a central role in the ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. As the twentieth century came to an end, many of the challenges of the Cold War became even more complex as the Soviet Union collapsed and new threats arose.

Featuring original essays by leading scholars, Foreign Policy at the Periphery examines relationships among new nations and the United States from the end of the Second World War through the global war on terror. Rather than reassessing familiar flashpoints of US foreign policy, the contributors explore neglected but significant developments such as the efforts of evangelical missionaries in the Congo, the 1958 stabilization agreement with Argentina, Henry Kissinger’s policies toward Latin America during the 1970s, and the financing of terrorism in Libya via petrodollars. Blending new, internationalist approaches to diplomatic history with newly released archival materials, this book brings together diverse strands of scholarship to address compelling issues in modern world history.


Reagan and the World
Leadership and National Security, 1981-1989
Edited by Bradley Lynn Coleman and Kyle Longley
Foreword by Jack Matlock Jr.

“Coleman and Longley have assembled a terrific line-up of contributors, and both are accomplished scholars whose reputations and skills enhance this valuable contribution to understanding a contested presidency.”—Richard H. Immerman, author of Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz

Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan sought “peace through strength” during an era of historic change. In the decades since, pundits and scholars have argued over the president’s legacy: some consider Reagan a charismatic and consummate leader who renewed American strength and defeated communism. To others he was an ambitious and dangerous warmonger whose presidency was plagued with mismanagement, misconduct, and foreign policy failures. The recent declassification of Reagan administration records and the availability of new Soviet documents has created an opportunity for more nuanced, complex, and compelling analyses of this pivotal period in international affairs.

In Reagan and the World, leading scholars and national security professionals offer fresh interpretations of the fortieth president’s influence on American foreign policy. This collection addresses Reagan’s management of the US national security establishment as well as the influence of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and others in the administration and Congress. The contributors present in-depth explorations of US-Soviet relations and American policy toward Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. This balanced and sophisticated examination reveals the complexity of Reagan’s foreign policy, clarifies the importance of other international actors of the period, and provides new perspectives on the final decade of the Cold War.

9780813169057US Presidential Elections
Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton
Edited by Andrew Johnstone and Andrew Priest

“This book is part of an important trend in examining the connection between domestic policies and foreign policy. Its chapters will have enduring relevance.”—Elizabeth N. Saunders, author of Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions

While domestic issues loom large in voters’ minds during American presidential elections, matters of foreign policy have consistently shaped candidates and their campaigns. From the start of World War II through the collapse of the Soviet Union, presidential hopefuls needed to be perceived as credible global leaders in order to win elections—regardless of the situation at home—and voter behavior depended heavily on whether the nation was at war or peace. Yet there is little written about the importance of foreign policy in US presidential elections or the impact of electoral issues on the formation of foreign policy.

In US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy, a team of international scholars examines how the relationship between foreign policy and electoral politics evolved through the latter half of the twentieth century. Covering all presidential elections from 1940 to 1992—from debates over American entry into World War II to the aftermath of the Cold War—the contributors correct the conventional wisdom that domestic issues and the economy are always definitive. Together they demonstrate that, while international concerns were more important in some campaigns than others, foreign policy always matters and is often decisive. This illuminating commentary fills a significant gap in the literature on presidential and electoral politics, emphasizing that candidates’ positions on global issues have a palpable impact on American foreign policy.

Other great books in the series:

#ReadUPK in the Washington Post

The following editorial has been re-published from the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog (12/16/2016).

Trump may be borrowing Nixon’s ‘back channel’ strategy in his contacts with Russia

by Richard A. Moss

News that the president-elect’s son, Donald Trump Jr., met with pro-Russian Syrian opposition in Paris, or that two Russian officials acknowledged longer term contacts with the Trump campaign, has prompted concern about undue foreign influence — especially given recent news that the CIA has concluded that Russian hacking during the election was designed to help Donald Trump. Those worries have escalated with the president-elect’s apparent selection of Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil who has made multibillion-dollar deals with Russia President Vladimir Putin, for secretary of state — especially since Russian Duma members applaud his nomination.

But we can look at the incoming Trump administration’s contacts with Russian officials in a different way. The Trump team may be taking a page from Richard M. Nixon’s 1968 playbook by using “back channels” to improve U.S.-Russian relations. Perhaps the incoming administration can achieve detente — a relaxation of tensions — through this more informal approach to diplomacy. If that’s what’s going on, the Trump team might wish to be mindful of this approach’s longer-term pitfalls.



Richard A. Moss is the author of Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow

Nixon used two ‘back channels’ before taking office


Before his narrow victory in November 1968, Nixon used two back channels to get messages to the Soviet leadership. First, Nixon dispatched his longtime aide and personal friend, Robert Ellsworth, to contact Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and Soviet Charge d’Affaires Yuri Cherniakov. Once he did so during the campaign, Ellsworth conveyed the incoming Nixon administration’s views on a variety of issues, such as the ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Middle East.

The second channel — one that would probably raise eyebrows today — involved Henry Kissinger and a KGB intelligence officer, Boris Sedov. This connection functioned informally during the presidential campaign when Kissinger was a foreign policy adviser to Nixon and petered out shortly after Kissinger became national security adviser. The Kissinger-Sedov contact added the dimension of Soviet intelligence seeking additional information about the main players in the incoming Nixon administration and corroborating the Ellsworth-Dobrynin-Cherniakov exchanges.

Both Ellsworth and Kissinger were assessing whether the Soviet leadership might be open to working through back channels. These contacts quickly led to the Kissinger-Dobrynin Channel, which came to define U.S.-Soviet relations during the Nixon administration and led to detente.

Many analysts consider “the Channel” to have been an effective tool. At a 2007 conference hosted by the State Department, Russian-born scholar Vladislav Zubok stressed that there was “a 90 percent chance . . . that there would not have been a summit in Moscow in ’72, and such a productive summit that it was, without the back channel.”

Back channels can convey messages more subtly than formal contact  

The early back-channel forays also helped communication during the transition between Nixon’s election and inauguration. Nixon used both channels to kill the idea of an early U.S.-Soviet summit championed by his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson. As Nixon explained later, he did not “want to be boxed in by any decisions that were made before [he] took office.” The Soviet leadership received Nixon’s intended messages via Ellsworth and Kissinger. The private exchanges kept the issue out of the spotlight and set a precedent of back channels as preferred communication mediums for both Washington and Moscow.

Because of an exchange between Kissinger and Sedov, Nixon added a line to his inaugural address. At the posh Pierre hotel in New York City on Jan. 2, 1969, Sedov told Kissinger that the Soviet leadership “was very interested that the inaugural speech contain some reference to open channels of communication to Moscow.” Kissinger recommended that a phrase be included, and Nixon initialed his agreement on a memo two days later.

“I was never clear whether this request reflected an attempt by Sedov to demonstrate his influence to Moscow,” Kissinger wondered years later, “or whether it was a serious policy approach by the Politburo. In any event I saw no harm in it.”

And so in his inaugural address, Nixon proclaimed, “our lines of communication will be open.” The gesture cost nothing but almost certainly established goodwill between the new administration and the Soviet leadership.

Why use U.S.-Russian back channels?  



Nixon, Dobrynin, and Kissinger at Camp David in 1973. Source: NPMP

When used to supplement rather than supplant traditional diplomacy, back channels may offer a protected forum free from leaks to explore points of agreement, disagreement and potential conflict. For instance, on relations with Vietnam, Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev disagreed. The United States wanted the Soviets to cut aid and push Hanoi to negotiate, while Moscow wanted the United States to stop bombing North Vietnam and withdraw its troops from Indochina. Nevertheless, via back-channel exchanges, Nixon and Brezhnev eventually reached tacit agreement on broader issues, like the status and tone of U.S.-Soviet relations, and had a successful summit meeting in Moscow in May 1972.

If they choose, Russian and U.S. leaders may use back channels to clearly convey what they see as their core interests, to explore potential areas of cooperation, and to try to mitigate conflict or escalation.

Back channels are like regular diplomacy, but with more intimacy and without the bureaucracy. Like intimacy, it requires willing partners. Kissinger found one in Dobrynin, and Nixon in Brezhnev; both the United States and the Soviet Union benefited during the short-lived period of detente that enabled the two superpowers to start cooperating on arms control and in other areas, like agreements signed at the Moscow Summit on avoiding naval incidents at seabilateral trade, science and technology, public health, environmental protection, and collaboration on space exploration(the Apollo-Soyuz docking in 1975).

Of course, U.S.-Russian relations are now strained. The two nations have been backing different sides in the Syrian civil war; Russia has invaded and annexed a portion of Ukraine, resulting in U.S. sanctions; NATO installed a missile defense site in Romania and began another in Poland; and the Russians have sent nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, to note a few issues. While there is no Cold War now, both countries remain nuclear powers. In the Internet era, when provocations and communications travel instantly around the globe, keeping back channels open could conceivably help prevent or minimize confrontation.

If the Trump team is indeed in informal contact with the Russians, which it denies, some observers may find comfort in the idea that diplomacy — even the back-channel variety — is underway.

But of course, Nixon — for all his accomplishments — isn’t usually held up as a president to admire, given his illegal actions in the Watergate scandal, leading to the only U.S. presidential resignation in history. Relying on back channel communications too exclusively means operating in secrecy while avoiding — or even disdaining — the news media. Circumventing the usual systems, his example tells us, has its risks.

Richard A. Moss is an associate research professor, co-director of the Halsey Bravo research effort, and a faculty affiliate in the Russian Maritime Studies Institute at the United States Naval War College’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies. His book, “Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow: Confidential Diplomacy and Détente,” is available now.

Author’s note: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of the Navy or the Naval War College.

#ReadUP in the Community: Spotlight on Staff

This week, we’re celebrating University Press Week, which highlights the extraordinary work of nonprofit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society.

The theme of 2016’s #UPWeek is COMMUNITY, and, for us, that means honoring the people we serve through our mission to publish academic books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and to publish significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia.

Download your own UPK #ReadUP Bookmark!

From volunteerism, to mentorships, and staff members with not-so-hidden talents and passions, our friends at AAUP member presses around the world are servicing their communities in myriad amazing ways. Here are just a few examples:

Wayne State University Press

WSUP highlights their new in-house designer as part of their “Shelf-Talkers” series.

University of Washington Press

Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins on community and food sovereignty.

University Press of Mississippi

UPM Project Editor Valerie Jones discusses her volunteer work for a Jackson spay/neuter clinic .

University of Wisconsin Press

Production manager Terry Emmrich, who is also a fine art printmaker, discusses the Art & Craft of Print.

Johns Hopkins University Press

After nine years in manuscript editing at JHU Press, Debby Bors explains her passion for university press publishing.

University of Chicago Press

Associate marketing manager Levi Stahl has built a community of crime fiction fans around the cult-classic mystery novels written by “Richard Stark.”

Purdue University Press

Editor Dianna Gilroy discusses the connections between her work at the press on the Human-Animal Bond series and her work in the local and global community raising awareness about the value of the human-animal bond and the need to help homeless animals.

Princeton University Press

Behind the scenes with Eric Henney, new editor of physical, earth, and computer science at Princeton University Press.

Seminary Co-op Bookstores

Former Triliteral sales rep, John Edlund shares his favorite books that he represented throughout his career with Harvard, Yale and MIT.

#ReadUP in the Community: IndieBound in Kentucky

This week, we’re celebrating University Press Week, which highlights the extraordinary work of nonprofit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society.

This year’s #UPWeek theme is COMMUNITY, and, for us, that means honoring the people we serve through our mission to publish academic books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and to publish significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia.

Download your own UPK #ReadUP Bookmark!

We love to publish great books by great authors, but how do we get the books on your shelf? With a little help from our indefatigable partners in publishing: independent booksellers.

It takes a lot of love and passion for books, knowledge, and community to create a great bookstore. Indie booksellers promote new authors, help readers rediscover the classics, and bond community members through events, book clubs, meeting spaces, and even a cup of coffee.

Kentucky is unique in many ways, but one of the things we love most about our state is the number of amazing, dedicated, and energetic booksellers and bookstores across the Commonwealth!

With that in mind, we approached our #Indiebound friends with a few pressing questions about their reading communities, their favorite UPK books, and their favorite karaoke songs. . . . Get to know these champions of the written word, and stop by to snag a new book to #ReadUP!

Our Bookstores and Booksellers who Contributed here:

Our thanks to everyone who contributed their time and attention to helping us with this post. For a full list of independent booksellers in Kentucky, visit Indiebound.org or the American Booksellers Association.

Poor Richard’s Books, Frankfort
with Lizz Taylor

Find Poor Richard’s Books online here: http://www.poorrichardsbooksky.com

What do you love most about your reading community?
The Frankfort reading community is eager to listen to the recommendations my staff makes for “what their next read could be.”

What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend?

Crawfish Bottom by Doug Boyd is our top bestseller from the University Press of Kentucky titles.  This history of a local neighborhood originally right outside our front door has appeal for those who grew up here, as well as those who have heard the many colorful stories of this neighborhood.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Nashimi.  She describes the young woman in Afghanistan trying to use education to advance their lives.  A great follow-up to Hosseini’s Kiterunner.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I would have liked to have been a doctor or detective, but I still do that type of work trying to find the books to suit my customers.

If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?

“You have been my friend—that in itself is a tremendous thing.”—E B White from Charlotte’s Web.  I love perusing my book shelves and remembering my “old friends.”

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why?

Eleanor Roosevelt for her conviction, loyalty, and strength.

What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
My favorite thing to cook is food for my bookclub, the Absent-Minded Book Club (as we can never remember who is hosting or what we decided to read.  I love attempting a recipe that will enhance our latest reading experience.

If you were a superhero, what would be your name and super power? What would you wear?
I could be Wonder-Book Woman as I must wear so many hats running Poor Richard’s Books.
My costume could be old book pages shaped to drape, but then I’d get caught up reading those old pages before I finish the costume.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?
I loved history, as the “truth is always stranger than fiction.”

What’s your favorite joke?
Not exactly a joke, but Mark Twain referenced Kentucky:  “I want to be in Kentucky when the end of the world comes, because they are always 20 years behind.”

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I love to travel, hike and view art.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?
I actually like the privacy of my life out of the bookstore, where I am social all day long.

If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
I think that Meryl Streep could handle it.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I have some medical background as my mother was in nursing school when I was reading Cherry Ames nurse mysteries as a young girl.

What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song?
The Beatles—I even named my daughter Julia after that song.  I loved the french included in that piece.

Have you ever met any celebrities?
Robert Penn Warren was a real treat.  He said I could call him “Red,” when I didn’t know that he had been a redhead before his hair turned white.

Do you collect anything?
It’s hard to resist books, art and recipes.

What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why?
Music is in my head whenever I’m in a good mood.  But the selection varies from day to day.

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?
A science fiction show like Star Wars, or Star Trek would be an incredible adventure.

Name three things you can’t live without.
Books, color and peace!

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
Jane Austen is a favorite, as she responds to her world and admits her prejudices.

If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why?
A curious cat could work if folks didn’t have allergies.

If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why?
We would be located in the middle of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter world.  How much fun to explore all the unique shops!

If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Jane Austen for the reason previously stated.

If your shop were a food, what would it be and why?
Definitely comfort food..maybe as satisfying as apple pie.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Crestview Hills
with Caitlin Fletcher

Find Joseph-Beth Booksellers online here: www.josephbeth.com

jb-crestviewWhat do you love most about your reading community?
I love how enthusiastic they are! There’s a preconceived notion that nobody reads anymore and I find that to be entirely false. People love their books, they love reading, and they love that anticipation of waiting for a new book. We get customers coming in asking for books that they’ve been waiting for years for. It’s beautiful.
What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend?
I absolutely adored The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson. It was full of rich characters and a plot that makes you want to never put down the book. Crystal was at our store for a signing when the book came out and she was so passionate about the book that it was hard to not enjoy it – so much love, thought, and imagination went into this book.
What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron. It’s beautiful. Diverse, interesting, and realistic. I loved it.
What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why?
Anything by Taylor Swift – usually “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Because no one sounds good singing that song and I love Taylor Swift.
If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?
Gilmore Girls, probably. It’s quick, witty, and I would love to be best friends with Lorelai and Rory.
Name three things you can’t live without.
Books, laptop, and heat. Or food. Or my cat. This is a tough one.
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
Hermione Granger.
If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why?
A quokka. They’re friendly, always smiling, and they’re helpful. Plus they’re really adorable.
If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why?
I couldn’t see us anywhere else except for the Cincinnati area. It’s our home!
If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Wow. I don’t know if I could choose just one. Stephen King is in my top list of favorite authors, so perhaps him. Or JK Rowling. Or Natalie Babbitt. There are so many.
If your shop were a food, what would it be and why?
Something tasty. Like a cinnamon roll – because it’s sweet and comforting.
What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
I’m not very good at cooking, but I enjoy baking. I love baking brownies, which sounds incredibly simple; but for me it’s quite an achievement!
If you were a superhero, what would be your name and super power? What would you wear?
Hydro and my super power would be manipulation of water. As for what I would wear, probably something practical without a cape.
What was your favorite subject in school and why?
English. Words have always come easily to me and reading has always been an escape for me.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through the phases: I wanted to be a doctor, then a social worker, then a rockstar, but in the end . . . I realized I wanted to write and since then, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?
Other peoples’ opinions of you does not define who you are.
If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why?
Maybe Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird continues to be one of my favorite books and I would have loved to talk to her about writing.
What’s your favorite joke?
“Have you heard the cookie joke? You wouldn’t like it. It’s pretty crumby!”
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve never completely finished writing a novel. I start a lot, but never finish them.
What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?
I’m terrified of heights. If they knew, perhaps they’d stop asking me to climb tall things!
If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
I don’t really know . . . I feel like I’m too weird for someone to portray. Maybe Anna Kendrick. She’s got the quirky weird thing down.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can roll my tongue. I don’t think that constitutes as a hidden talent. But it’s the only thing I can think of.
What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song?
Nirvana. They still are, actually. My favorite song by them is “Heart Shaped Box.”
Have you ever met any celebrities?
Not any big ones. I’ve met a few authors because of work and I met this singer from Canada that I’ve been a fan of for going on ten years now, but no one incredibly big.
Do you collect anything?
Editions of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. It’s my favorite book of all time.

Wild Fig Books & Coffee, Lexington
with Crystal Wilkinson and Ron Davis

Find Wild Fig Books & Coffee online here: http://wildfigbooks.net


William DeShazer for the New York Times

Learn more about Crystal, Ron, and Wild Fig Books & Coffee in this recent piece from the New York Times on neighborhood bookstores!

What do you love most about your reading community?
we love their enthusiasm for good books and emerging writers.

What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend?
the man who loved birds with UPofKy

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
the graphic novel, Beautiful Darkness. it was wonderful!

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why?
ron – the first african to see a slave ship off the west coast so he could warn him to the coming danger and to take appropriate action against them.
crystal – ida b. wells because she remains an inspiration.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
we’re both introverts.


Follow the adventures of the Wild Fig “Barista Barbie” on Instagram!

If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
sam jackson as both of us.

Do you have any hidden talents?
crys – trapeze artist
ron – trained assassin for the nigerian secret service.

What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song?crystal – prince, starfish and coffee
ron – funkadelic, maggot brain

Name three things you can’t live without.
tv remote… a car… werther’s originals.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
luke cage and spongebob because they would be awesome together.

If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why?
luke cage and spongebob (see above)

If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why?
luanda, angola because it is so lovely.

What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
waffles. because… “waffles”.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?
art for ron because he paints.
english for crystal because she writes.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
ron wanted to be an architect.
crystal wanted to be a journalist.

If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?
dont be poor.

Have you ever met any celebrities?
crys – bell hooks
ron – haki madhubuti

Do you collect anything?
african sculptures.

What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why?
crystal – starfish and coffee, because she loves prince
ron – black steel in the hour of chaos because he’s a public enemy fan.

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?
the 100. because we could build a life in the hills.

If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
tie among gayl jones, toni morrison, and james baldwin because they are all great writers with excellent social insights.

If your shop were a food, what would it be and why?
avocado toast because we make a great one at the store!

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington
with Kelly Morton

Find Joseph-Beth Booksellers online here: www.josephbeth.com

What do you love most about your reading community?
The diversity and enthusiasm!

What is one University Press of Kentucky book (or another university press book) that you love and would recommend? 
The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson. Plus anything about bourbon.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose? 
The Lorax. Someone needs to speak for the trees.

If your shop had a mascot/spirit animal, what would it be and why? 
We kinda do – he’s a plastic dinosaur named Bob. No idea why.

If someone asked you for a random piece of advice, what would you say?
Listen carefully to everything I say, then completely ignore it and go with your gut.

If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet and why? 
My grandfather while he was fighting in Germany during WWII; he died before I was born and it would be amazing to meet him and tell him what his service in Germany would lead to.

What’s your favorite joke? 
Two cows in a field. One cow says to the other, “Are you worried about that mad cow disease?” Other cow says, “No, I’m a helicopter.” ZING!!

Do you have any hidden talents? 
Nope. Both of them are pretty obvious.

What was your favorite band/musician as a teenager and what was your favorite song? 
Anything by Destiny’s Child. Also the VeggieTales theme song. I was a strange teenager.

Have you ever met any celebrities? 
Yes – if anyone asks, Jason Segel is like, the nicest guy ever.

What is your favorite thing to cook and why? 
Pie because even if you mess it up, it’s still delicious.

If you were a superhero, what would be your name and super power? What would you wear?
I don’t have a clever name, but I’d be able to breathe underwater and talk to sea creatures. I’d wear scales and seaweed – I’m beginning to think I’m just a mermaid.

What was your favorite subject in school and why? 
Lunch because food. But also art because that’s a different kind of sustenance. And English because I loved reading.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I never really decided. I still haven’t. The nice thing about books is that you can become anyone you want in the pages.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? 
I’m an introvert. 

What’s something you wish everyone knew about you? 
I’m an introvert. Seriously. Let me go hide.

If a movie was being made about your life, who would you want to play the starring role?
Someone completely unknown so they could get their big break!

Do you collect anything? 
Elephants, Harry Potter books, and scars, but the last one isn’t intentional.

What’s your favorite karaoke go-to song and why? 
Santeria” by Sublime because I know all the words.

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why? 
Bob’s Burgers because I’m pretty sure Gene is my spirit animal and I think I’d fit in.

Name three things you can’t live without. 
Espresso, cute dresses, and my wiener dog.

If your shop were a world city, where would it be and why? 
Cincinnati should count as a world city! Because we’re big enough but not too big, friendly but not overbearing, and we’re obsessed with buckeyes.

If you could host a book club with any author alive or dead, who would it be and why? 
Barbara Kingsolver because I bet she’d bring all sorts of treats to share.

If your shop were a food, what would it be and why? 
A really, really big just-baked cookie because we’re warm and friendly.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it? 
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Yes, in a my-heart-is-crushed-and-I’m-dying-but-ok-with-it kind of way.

Two Score and Three Years Ago…

Today marks the forty-third anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War.  This twenty-day war was fought over the territory lost during the third Arab-Israeli War in 1967 between Egypt, Syria, and Israel.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and Egypt and Syria used this to their advantage when they decided to attack Israel.  While most of the Israeli guard were away from their posts in observance of the holiday, Egyptian troops swept deep into the Sinai Peninsula while Syria struggled to overthrow the occupying Israeli in Golan Heights.  Not too long after Syria’s siege did Israel counterattacked and recaptured the area.

After less than a month of fighting, the Egyptian-Israeli cease-fire was secured by the United Nations on October 25, 1973.

The following two books are fantastic resources for anyone who is wanting to learn more about the Yom Kippur War.


Inside Israel’s Northern Command by Brigadier General Dani Asher is a personal account from the war, relaying stories of war strategies used to fight off the Syrians during the Yom Kippur War.  Established as the successor of the 1948 Northern Front, the Northern Command was in charge of the operational routine, ongoing defensive activities, and the preparation for war with regards to Israeli borders with the three Arab nations: Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.  The crushing victory of the Six-Day War served as the basis for the concept of security, the doctrine building, and for the way we view the enemy in the six years’ period from the end of the Six-Day War to the onslaught of the Yom Kippur War.



Soldier in the Sinai is another personal account from the Yom Kippur War that describes the impact of the security concept on Israel’s defensive doctrine in Western Sinai after the Six-Day War, especially during the War of Attrition and the following cease-fire. Sakal examines the performance of the ground troops on October 6-15, 1973 (especially October 6-9) and their total dependence on airpower. Major General Emanuel Sakal, IDF (Ret.) focuses on a tactical and operational analysis of the defensive battle on the southern front from early morning October 4, 1973 to the evening of October 15.  Within this range of events, the book surveys the operational and strategic decisions made by the chief of staff and the defense minister, mainly regarding the defensive campaign, the preemptive or parallel air strike, and the counterattack.


The Bourbon Capital of the World

Whether you’re a lover of history or just a bourbon enthusiast, Bardstown, Kentucky is the perfect place to spend a weekend.  In the second edition of Kentucky Bourbon Country, The Essential Travel Guide, Susan Reigler points out the many historic and cultural attractions this small Kentucky town has to offer, including the annual six-day Kentucky Bourbon Festival which will be wrapping up this weekend.


The historic Old Talbott Tavern

Not only is it home to more than 300 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places — including Federal Hill, the inspiration for the state’s anthem residing at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, and the Old Talbot Tavern — Bardstown is also within a half hour of six famous  bourbon distilleries. The newest edition to these is the Bardstown Bourbon Company, which just opened its doors this summer.


The Bardstown Bourbon Company



Bring on the Bourbon

Delicious food, entertainment, as well as some great events will be offered in Bardstown this weekend during the festival, where bourbon will be savored, sampled, discussed and celebrated! In this excerpt from her travel guide, Reigler provides a detailed description of the event:

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival began in 1992 with a dinner and tastings. Today it has grown into a six-day event with concerts, races, a golf tournament, a cocktail contest, cooking and drink-mixing classes, expert panel discussions, an auction of bourbon memorabilia, a gala black-tie dinner, and more. In 2014 some 53,000 people attended the festival, traveling from forty-four states, the District of Columbia, and fourteen countries.

The center of the festival’s activities is the Spalding Hall lawn, just outside the entrance to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History (114 North Fifth Street). Almost all the distilleries set up exhibits on the lawn, and merchants display and sell all kinds of bourbon-related items there, from books to foodstuffs. There are also demonstrations of barrel making, and the lawn is well within hearing range of the outdoor concerts taking place on a nearby stage. Not surprisingly, the Spirit Garden, where visitors can purchase bourbon drinks and beer, is one of the most popular sites.

[. . .] The festival is a good time to meet many of the people involved in the bourbon industry. All the master distillers are on hand for many of the events, and they will certainly be in attendance at Saturday night’s Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting and Gala.

While at the festival, swing by the University Press of Kentucky booth, check out some of our fantastic book offerings, and say hello! native

In Memory of Screen Legend Dorothy McGuire


Dorothy McGuire, circa 1945. James Bawden collection.

Stage-trained actress Dorothy McGuire, whose credits include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Old Yeller (1957), and A Summer Place (1959), was one of the most interesting leading ladies of the 1940s and 1950s. She was extremely versatile, always bringing style and grace to every performance. But she didn’t build a large cult following of fans despite a solid legacy of truly memorable screen performances. Perhaps that’s due to her general aversion to publicity and a life lived without a breath of scandal or notoriety.

In honor of this talented stage actress, who passed away 15 years ago today at the age of 85, we’re sharing an excerpt from Ron Miller’s interview from the release Conversations with Classic Film Stars.

Setting the Scene

Dorothy McGuire’s disdain for publicity always brings a smile to my face because I remember how severely I was warned about that subject when she agreed to do an interview with me in 1983 in connection with the ABC TV movie Ghost Dancing. The publicist insisted, “Don’t ask her about anything except the new movie. She hates talking about the past. If you try asking her about the ‘good old days,’ she may get up and walk out on you!”

Well, I certainly didn’t want that to happen, yet…how could I ignore those “good old days” that included so many movie classics? So, here’s what I resolved to do: Concentrate hard on getting the bare essentials about Ghost Dancing, then damn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead into all the really good stuff. If she bolted on me, then I’d still have enough for a story on the current project, even if she dumped her soup over my head when I asked about her earlier work.

It turned out to be a pretty decent plan. McGuire issued no new rules when she arrived for our luncheon date at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, so I hot-footed it through the Ghost Dancing questions, then waltzed her right down memory lane without giving her a chance to catch her breath.

If she knew she’d been scammed, she didn’t let on. McGuire turned out to be a relaxed and friendly lunch companion, still a handsome woman with genuine class. My guess is she did like to talk about the earlier stuff–as long as the questions were fair ones. She also seemed to appreciate the fact that I actually knew what she’d accomplished before meeting her.


Dorothy McGuire with Gregory Peck in Elia Kazan’s Gentleman’s Agreement, the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1947. Courtesy of 20th Century-Fox.

The Interview

MILLER: From what I’ve read about the beginnings of your acting career, I’d say there was a blessing on you from the start.

McGUIRE: Maybe so. I had such extraordinary breaks–from the moment I entered the theater. I made my stage debut at age 13 at the Omaha Community Playhouse in James Barrie’s A Kiss of Cinderella. My leading man was the young Henry Fonda!

MILLER: I’m guessing the breaks continued when you finally headed for New York and the Broadway stage.

McGUIRE: I arrived on Broadway in 1938 and began as the understudy to Martha Scott for the role of Emily in the original production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.  When Martha was signed to star in the movie version, I took over for her.

MILLER: Getting to play the leading female role in a play destined to become an American drama classic was certainly a big career plus for a young actress. So, that made you a pretty hot property in theater?

McGUIRE: It certainly led to my getting the title role in Claudia, the play based on Rose Franken’s novel and stories about a young woman who marries and starts learning about adult life in the 1940s. That was in 1941. The producers had rejected 208 other actresses before picking me.

MILLER: I guess their faith in you was justified when you won the New York Drama Critics Circle award for your performance.

McGUIRE: I think it also justified Leland Hayward’s faith in me. (Hayward, her agent, was the most influential Broadway agent at the time.)

MILLER: With Leland Hayward going to bat for you, you were in good shape for theater work–and you had a pretty good spokesman for your movie career, too, didn’t you?

McGUIRE: If you mean David O. Selznick, you’re right. He signed me to a movie contract after Claudia became a Broadway hit and he was then the most successful producer in Hollywood after Gone With the Wind and Rebecca had won back to back Best Picture Oscars.

MILLER: What did he have in mind for your movie debut?

McGUIRE: He really didn’t have anything for me and, as it turned out, I never made a movie with him!  But he decided to make some money off me by loaning me out to other studios, who did have things they wanted me to do. I think he needed to pay off some of the enormous sums he spent on Gone With the Wind and that was one way to do it.


Dorothy McGuire in her most famous “mom” role, with Tommy Kirk i Disney’s 1957 Old Yeller. Courtesy of the Walt Disney Corp. and NBC.

MILLER: Did you resent that?

McGUIRE: No. That turned out to be perfectly OK. David watched over what scripts were sent to me and things like that. He was a man of great integrity.

MILLER: Where did he send you first?

McGUIRE: Fox and RKO.  They both were making good pictures in those days. Twentieth Century-Fox had the movie rights to Claudia, so they had me reprise my stage role, playing opposite Robert Young as my husband, David.

MILLER: Claudia (1943) turned out to be a big hit for Fox, especially among women who identified with the young wife as she learns how to grow up at the same time she’s learning how to be a wife. It was such a hit that they immediately decided to continue the story in a sequel, Claudia and David. That was a phenomenal start for a young actress with no film experience.

McGUIRE: I took it all for granted, I’m sorry to say. I thought it was just the way it is.

MILLER: While the sequel was being written, Fox put you into another prestige picture, the film version of Betty Smith’s best-seller A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Your reaction?

McGUIURE: I was terrified. I didn‘t think I‘d be convincing in the challenging role of teenage star  Peggy Ann Garner’s pregnant mother.

At that exact moment in my life, I’d never had a child. I wasn’t quite sure about the whole mechanism, about what really happened to you. Being a very serious-type actress, I was very upset by this.

MILLER: Your director was Elia Kazan, who was making his debut as a movie director after years on the stage as an actor and director. Did you get much help from him?

McGUIRE: I went to him and told him I had no such experiences in life and didn’t know where to get the emotions I’d need. He was very patient with me and let me ramble on about my misgivings and anxieties. What he did, in a sense, was lock up all this intensity inside me so it wouldn’t be dissipated. He was marvelous. There are intangible things about actors like that which he just instinctively knew.

MILLER: The film was a big success and put both you and Kazan on the map as the hot new prospects in Hollywood. James Dunn, who played your alcoholic husband, won the supporting actor Oscar and Peggy Ann Garner won a special Oscar as best child actress of 1945. That’s when RKO stepped up with another wonderful role for you.

McGUIRE: They gave me the part of the mute servant girl who’s menaced by a serial killer in The Spiral Staircase.

MILLER: That was a real acting challenge because you had to play virtually the entire film in pantomime. How did that go?

McGUIRE: Robert Siodmak was a brilliant director and he lifted the film out of the ordinary. You know those creepy close-ups where we just see the eye of the strangler, watching me? That was Robert’s eye! He was that vain!


Our interview finally ended when the waiter brought our lunches. “Turn off your recorder,” she told me. “Now we’re going to eat.”

Which is what we did, all right, just chatting about nothing in particular from then on. With the recorder off, Dorothy McGuire was just a handsome middle-aged lady having lunch with a friend in Beverly Hills. And, unless I put one of her films on the TV for a reminder of how good she was on screen, that’s the way I’ll always remember her, too.

McGuire was married for 35 years to Life magazine photographer John Swope and had two children with him. Her last film role was in a 1990 TV movie (The Last Best Year) and she spent the last decade of her life in retirement. She died of cardiac arrest in 2001, just a few days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, so there was little news space devoted to her death. She was eighty-five.

A Toast to National Bourbon Heritage Month

September is a most wonderful time—when the weather starts to cool, leaves start to turn, and the world turns its attention to the Commonwealth for National Bourbon Heritage Month! We’ll be celebrating this genteel and genuinely Kentucky holiday with cocktail and food recipes, new books, and a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails6.inddTo kick things off, enjoy a celebratory tipple of “The Rutledge Rebellion,” created by Jason Start of Martini Italian Bistro in Louisville, representing Four Roses Distillery. “The Rutledge Rebellion” took first prize at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival Mixed Drink Challenge in 2014 in the Bourbon Punch Category. Named for Four Roses master distiller emeritus, Jim Rutledge, “The Rutledge Rebellion” won the honor of being the official cocktail of the 2015 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Try your hand at this well-crafted recipe from Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler’s newest book, More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails. Cheers!

The Rutledge Rebellion

Rutledge Rebellion via The Kentucky Standard

The overall winning drink, ‘The Rutledge Rebellion’ (photo by Kacie Goode. Used with permission from The Kentucky Standard.)

1 1/2 ounces Four Roses Small Batch bourbon
1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pomegranate juice
1 ounce apple pureé
(3 apples, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 cup simple syrup, 1/2               cup water, and 1/2 cup lemon juice—blended and                 strained)
or 1 ounce apple juice
2 ounces dry champagne
1 syringe Bittermens Tiki bitters

Combine ingredients in a pint glass and stir. Fill with ice, garnish with an orange slice and a mint sprig and serve with a straw.

A Boy Named Sue …


Marcellus Jerome Clarke as a Confederate soldier. Photo via Wikipedia.

Marcellus Jerome Clarke was a quiet teenager when he enlisted in the Confederate Army. But following his capture by Union forces and his subsequent escape, he rode with the famous John Hunt Morgan for a time before leaving the army, forming a guerrilla gang and ultimately becoming one of the Civil War’s most enigmatic figures: a criminal named Sue Mundy.

On March 15, 1865, three weeks before the end of the Civil War, twenty-year-old Clarke was hanged as a Confederate guerrilla in Louisville, Kentucky, as a crowd of thousands looked on. In the official charges against him, Clarke’s description included the alias “Sue Mundy.” By the time of his execution, Mundy had earned a reputation as the region’s most dangerous outlaw.

In the historical novel Sue Mundy: A Novel of the Civil War, author Richard Taylor chronicles in fiction the true story of Clarke and the legend of Mundy. In honor of what would have been the 172nd birthday of Marcellus Jerome Clarke, here’s an Q & A with the author about this fascinating figure:

What drew you to Jerome Clarke? Do you recall the catalyst for your interest in this historical figure? 

Taylor: What drew me initially to Sue Mundy was a photo that appeared in the late 70’s in a pictorial history of Louisville, Views of Louisville, published by the Courier Journal. It contained the photo of Sue Mundy seated with his legs crossed. I decided then to learn everything about him I could, starting with journal articles in the Register of the KY historical Society and Filson Club Quarterlies, then moving on to memoirs and books, then military records and courts martial in the National Archives. I also talked with experts on the subject who gave me perspective and additional help.

What about the photograph so compelled you?

Taylor: I was curious to get behind the image and learn the reality of his violent life. It opened up a number of questions and a number of possibilities to me. In some ways, the novel, just as the introductory description of Jerome Clarke seated, is a deconstruction of the photograph. The clarity of the image belies the complexity of shadow and substance that it embodies. By itself, the photograph is inadequate to explain who this person is, what produced him, what is going on in his head. The answer to these and similar questions, I guess, is what the novel is about. My favorite professor, Guy Davenport, defined art as the replacement of indifference with attention. It was hard for me to be indifferent about that image of Sue Mundy, just as about the same time, I was arrested by the photographs of sharecroppers in James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, whose faces I painted over a period of months as oil portraits, maybe as some kind of exorcism but also partially as commemoration. Jerome Clarke, at first a boy with good prospects, deserves, in the same way, some sort of explanation about how, given his upbringing and the times, he could go so wrong. My partial response is that all of us are potentially Sue Mundys, creatures of infinite possibility who are circumscribed by the collision of our potential with the realities of our circumstances. The novel is an exploration of these questions, a replacement of indifference with attention.

Talk a bit more about the research process. How did you begin? What sources were most useful to you?  

Taylor: First, I went to standard histories of the Civil War in Kentucky and followed every reference to Sue Mundy.  This meant county histories, standard histories of the war, biographies of participants (such as John Hunt Morgan), even diaries and memoirs. In addition to seeking out facts, I wanted to get a flavor of the war, gathering facts about weapons, horses, uniforms, etc. One of the most interesting experiences was accompanying a group of Civil War buffs along the route that William Quantrill followed in Kentucky. We stopped at the site of skirmishes and killings. One was the remains of a farmhouse in a cornfield that belonged to man named Prior Pruitt. Our expert, named Harold Edwards, pulled out an account of Quantrill’s coming to the house early in l865. He’d knocked on Pruitt’s door, the very door of the dilapidated building we were standing in front of. When Pruitt refused to open it, Quantrill shot through it, killing Pruitt (whose grave we visited a mile or so away). In the door was a single bullet hole. That bullet hole brought home the war to me in a way no book ever could.

The most useful sources were the straightforward journal articles. But the details that give it, I hope, some verisimilitude came from all the accounts I read, some of them pretty remote from Sue Mundy’s life. I read everything I could find that in any way contributed to the historical context and to the language I felt would make the narrative authentic. I drew from maybe 40 or 50 sources, making up what I had to or wanted to in an effort to make it all come together.

sueWhy did you choose to tackle this material as a novel rather than a straightforward history? What liberties did this genre allow you? What limitations?

Taylor: I considered writing a biography of Sue Mundy, but there were too many gaps in the material and too little analysis of his moral trajectory—the development of character that makes for good fiction. Writing a novel let me lie a little to tell the truth, as they say—at least the truth as I see it. This is another way of saying that not always having to verify what I said made the process more enjoyable. Writing fiction allowed me to apply Jerome’s experience to my own understanding of things. One of the things that moved me to take up the novel again was the loss of one of my own sons—imagining what his aspirations were and what it meant to die young.

So part of the challenge was remaining faithful to Jerome Clark’s point of view without sacrificing the larger perspective on the Civil War that his story offers.

Taylor: Though I tampered with facts, I tried very hard to adhere to what I believed was the reality of his experience. In order to convey that reality, I had to make him perhaps more aware, more sensitive than he actually was. I could not think of him, maybe any criminal, simply as a brute. Humans are intricately complex and changeable, an idea that lies at the heart of the fictional enterprise.

In what ways is Sue Mundy a tale not just of Jerome Clark, but of the Civil War in general?

Taylor: Jerome’s life is a microcosm of the larger war in Kentucky, the war in general.  There is the same loss of innocence as Kentucky switched its allegiances from north to south as a result of the draconian policies of the Union commandants who, in effect, ruled the state during the last two years of the war. In part, Jerome’s life is a movement from innocence to experience, idealism to disillusionment as he suffers the loss of his cousin Patterson and witnesses the devastating effects of war.

You mentioned before that you wanted Sue Mundy to address, in part, war’s dehumanization of individuals. Is this a story that has some relevance in today’s social and political climate?

Taylor: There is moral deterioration here just as there is in the sectarian violence in Iraq or Lebanon. The difference is that one relates to ethnicity, one almost purely to politics. Amazingly, people from opposing sides in the Civil War sat often in the same churches before and after the war. Guerrilla war means little war, the unofficial war that we are now witnessing in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, in Iraq.  Sadly, the fact that the similarities are so cogent makes a sorry comment about our lack of moral growth as a species. The names and allegiances change but not the tendency toward violence as a futile means to resolve differences.  Every war, as has been said, represents the failure of reason. That we should begin a new millennium with a preemptive war half a world away is a sad commentary on our present and our future.