2016 is going to be an exciting year for me, and a very active year as well.
For many of you who have been inquiring about the status of my upcoming books here's the latest:
Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island is at the publisher, the University of Georgia Press in Athens. The manuscript is in the editing process, maps and archival images have been processed and picture captions have been written. Ben Galland's amazing color photographs have been processed and preliminary work on layout has begun. The production process takes time, thus it will be late this year or early in 2017 before the book is ready. I think the wait will be worth it if for no other reason than Ben's photos. Believe me, his images capture the full essence of Sapelo in all its natural beauty and history. I believe the text will be the most complete account of the island's history ever compiled in a single volume, particularly as it includes a comprehensive review of the story of Sapelo's Geechee communities, as well as incorporating one of my favorite themes, that of blending the island's natural history and ecology with its cultural history.
Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater: A New Revised Edition is also at the publisher undergoing formatting and design. When the original hard-bound edition of Early Days went out of print in 2014 it put me in a quandary as to what to do about keeping the volume in circulation. Although copies are still available online from rare book and out-of-print book sellers I wanted the book to remain available to retailers since it continues to be in demand. Thus, when the Sapelo manuscript was completed, I undertook a complete revision, recasting, redesign and updating of the Early Days book, a project that took almost all of 2015 to complete. The new edition will be a far better book than the original as it incorporates all the research that I have done since the first edition was released in 1990. All the appendices that appeared in five subsequent printings of Early Days are now a part of the main text. New material has been added to enhance the stories of Sapelo Island, Butler's Island. Harris Neck and north McIntosh County, plus the addition of a good deal of coastal Georgia history to provide more context. This will be a much lengthier book, thus to accommodate the greater amount of text it has been necessary to eliminate about half of the illustrations contained in the earlier versions. Nonetheless, there will be about 80 images in the new book, incorporating a mix of maps and historic photographs. The new book will be issued in softcover in an 8 x 10 format (as opposed to the 6 x 9 size in the original) and should be available on Amazon and from local and area retailers and gift shops by the middle of 2016.
In addition to shepherding through the production of the two new books I have a busy speaking schedule, highlighted by the presentation of my paper, "The First Conservationists? Northern Money and Lowcountry Georgia, 1866-1930," as part of the Ossabaw Foundation's Symposium on coastal history and ecology in Savannah in February (see my speaking schedule link on this website for details). In addition I will be increasingly active with my work in my capacity as Senior Historian of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society at St. Simons Island, as well as continued work with the Georgia Historical Society and the Lower Altamaha Historical Society.