Side by Side in Eternity: The Lives Behind Adjacent American Graves was officially published and put up for market on February 9, 2023. It’s currently available for purchase on the McFarland Books website, but is still in pre-order or out-of-stock status at Amazon Prime and Barnes and Noble. I am expecting my author’s copies this week, so presume that will also be when the online booksellers get their stock from McFarland for regular sale too. My co-author, Jim McNeal, and I would be greatly appreciative should you care to order a copy, or to share this information with others who might be interested. And if you do get it and read it and like it, reviews left at the online platforms are also most helpful and appreciated. We’re looking to do book signings or talks about the book as well, so if you’re in a position to facilitate that, please do let me know. And big thanks in advance to any of you who choose to support our project in any of these ways.
I’d previously posted the Table of Contents for Side by Side in Eternity, but do so again below to give you a sense of the stories we cover in the book. Each one stands alone, but together we believe they tell a bigger story about the ways in which Americans have honored (or dishonored) fallen soldiers and their allies or family members from the Civil War to present times. As a bonus tease, for those who knew him, the Epilogue is about my father’s grave, adjacent to a Civil War infantryman of the “U.S. Colored Troops” (as the first African-American soldiers were known) at Beaufort National Cemetery. Here’s the roster:
To give you a little deeper sense of how we frame our concept, here are the first two pages of the introduction (you can click the two images to enlarge for easier reading):
And lastly, as I’ve been pre-promoting the book over the past year, I’m often asked “How do two people write a book together? Did you alternate chapters? Or sit together and write?” Here’s the answer to that question that we have used in the proposal for our next project, tentatively titled Crucibles: History’s Most Formidable Rites of Passage:
We view our successful collaborative approach in cinematic terms, where Jim serves as our producer, and Eric serves as our director. We frame our projects together, establish their structures and forms, and then closely collaborate on crafting a cohesive final manuscript from many disparate pieces. Jim focuses on the research, interviews, logistics, business, communications, and documentation aspects of the project, while Eric shapes the scenes and deploys the creative writing touches required to create a robust and entertaining narrative, carrying a distinctive voice, viewpoint, and perspective. Both elements of our partnership are equally critical to the products we produce, and we have established a timely and thorough collaborative approach for telling complex stories in accessible and entertaining fashions. This cinematic approach to our writing is purposeful, as we see each of the component stories within Side by Side in Eternity and Crucibles as complete, standalone entities, visual in their construction, and worthy of reinterpretation in film, video, or television formats.
One thing that would be really helpful and interesting to us would be feedback on which of the constituent chapters in Side by Side in Eternity work best, or are most resonant, for readers. If you do read the book, I’d really appreciate it if you could use the comments here to let us know what hit the spot most soundly for you. Thanks in advance for that, once again. As always, I’m deeply appreciative of everyone who has supported and continues to support my various creative endeavors over the decades.