Some Research Ideas

I spend a great amount of time doing research for my writing. I would like to suggest a methodology that might make your research more effective.

  1. Start with a simple Google internet search on the topic. Record significant research.
  2. Visit the Wikipedia link – Wikipedia is the subject of much criticism, but it’s a great place to begin. The listing, if there is one, provides the basics on the subject. Record significant research. I like to use Microsoft Notes.
  3. Check the references and citations at the bottom of the Wikipedia web page. Record research.
  4. Search Google category books to find references. Record research. Make note of all significant books.
  5. If you are searching for a person, go to Ancestry or FamilySearch. Record dates, family members, and images. Record research.
  6. Search old newspapers ( for articles. Make sure you extend the date of your research. Add modifiers to narrow the search field – start with time period, then state(s), and put topic in quotations.

You can do all of these things in your pajamas or clothes you spouse wants to throw out and at a time convenient to you.

  1. Visit library and see if they have any of the books you found in step 4. Order books using inter-library loan. Check out library editions that you can only access from home. Take pictures or pdfs of information (be sure to document the details of the source.)
  2. Check local college libraries.
  3. Check local museums.

You have not spent too much money at this stage.

  1. Contact significant museums and libraries by phone and ask them what they might have on topic. Record research.
  2. Call historic organizations to determine if they have any resources. Record research.
  3. Contact descendants from genealogical research and ask to have access to their information.

Well this is a start from immediate thoughts. Please comment on my suggestions. Also, please add any books or websites that you have found useful.

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Coming in August – Preparing for Disunion


The ad for Preparing for Disunion is on Amazon. The book is available for pre-orders with a publication date of August 25, 2018. 


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Preparing for Disunion: West Point Commandants and the Training of Civil War Leaders

McFarland just notified me that the official title of my new book will be Preparing for Disunion: West Point Commandants and the Training of Civil War Leaders. 

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Rewriting History – Revision vs. Negationism

I am putting the finishing touches on a presentation for First Methodist Church of Plano. The PowerPoint talk will be on March 15 lunch hour.   Please see the following outline:

  • “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy
  • Causes of the Civil War
  • Blacks Fought for the Confederacy
  • Slaves were Treated Well
  • White Supremacy
  • Confederate Statues – Leave or Remove

Please contact me if you would like more information on talk.

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Manuscript Completed and Mailed

There is great satisfaction in completing a manuscript and sending it to the publisher. I was pleased to complete the task for my new (unpublished) book, Preparing for Disunion. Not surprising, it took more time than I thought it would. There were many items that needed checking: content, size of citations, and dimensions of images.  The book is in the hands of McFarland Publishers. Now I am slowing returning to the land of the living and all those jobs I postponed the last four months.

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I am happy to inform you that McFarland & Company has agreed to publish my new book, Preparing for Disunion. The book focuses on how the West Point Commandant of Cadets prepared cadets for the Civil War. The military instructors provided the basis on which an officer could develop his career. Very little has been written about the educator’s role in training officers for their role in the war. Preparing for Disunion explains their impact on the young men who would become Civil War generals.


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Preparing for Disunion – Status Report

McFarland Publishers is reviewing my submission for Preparing for Disunion. I hope to hear from them in a couple of weeks.

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