Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Picks - Paul C. Nagel Edition

As most readers of this blog know, I have an active interest in studying famous American families - particularly those with members who played a key role in the American Revolution and/or the Civil War. In particular, I find it fascinating to learn how the descendants of famous individuals made their own ways in life - in some cases achieving success in their own right or buckling under the pressure brought on by high expectations.

As I have discussed in previous posts, I also think it is interesting that the descendants of say, prominent Revolutionary War or Civil War commanders, continued (in many cases) the traditions of public service and duty established by their ancestors.

To date, much of my research has centered on the family of Confederate Cavalry General J.E.B. Stuart, which has deep roots in Virginia history. My upcoming book, Life After J.E.B. Stuart: The Memoirs of His Granddaughter (Hamilton Books/Roman & Littlefield Publishing, 2011) explores that family's history through the perspective of General Stuart's granddaughter, Marrow Stuart Smith. In the future, I expect that I will also publish more work on the Stuart family, who have contributed a great deal to Virginia as well as the nation as a whole.

In my research, I have been influenced heavily by the work of Paul C. Nagel, who has published extensively in this "family history" genre. He is well known for his work on the family of President John Adams, and his work Descent From Glory tells the story of the Adams family quite well. Another one of my favorite books (written by Nagel) is about Virginia's illustrious Lee family, appropriately titled The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family. Both of these books have an honored place on my bookshelf and I consult them regularly. For those of you who are interested in this genre of American history, I recommend them highly.

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