I had hoped for a higher vote total, but the result is about what I suspected it might be, if book sales and reviews are any indication (and they are).
Our recent poll asked Civil War readers what genres they most enjoy reading about. Here was the breakdown:
Campaign / battles 9 (56%)
Regimental histories 4 (25%)
Biographies 2 (12%)
Fiction 0 (0%)
Other (send an email and tell us) 1 (6%)
(The other was specialty aspects of the war--medicine, railroads, and so forth.)
By more than 2 to 1, Campaigns and Battles carried the day. It should come as little surprise that these also sell substantially better than most other Civil War titles. And I am not talking about a little better, but by a factor of three to six times more than, say, the average biography or regimental history.
We have always done well with battle studies, beginning with the Atlanta Campaign series (2 vols.), edited by Savas and David Woodbury in 1993, The Battle for Bentonville, by Mark Bradley, and all those that followed. People cannot get enough of this aspect of the Civil War. By and large, campaign/battle studies today are more deeply researched, better sourced, and include better maps than similar books produced just a decade or two ago.
I am pleased to say we have several more campaign/battle manuscripts in-house under contract, awaiting contract, or already signed and being prepared for publication. These include Lance Herdegen's new "Those Damn Blackhats!" The Iron Brigade at Gettysburg, slated for the Spring of 2009 (though to be fair, this is so much more than a battle study), and a stellar piece of work on South Mountain.
I am anxious to share with you information about a two-volume campaign set--a pure "fix the bayonets" sort of battle study from the first page to the last--in the near future as soon as the signed contract comes back. I am confident it will find many interested readers.
So here's to the gunsmoke and steel crowd. Maybe we always publish books you enjoy.