One of the components of the ECW Series we really pay a lot of attention to are the appendices in each book. Traditionally, we’ve used them as the chance to give up-and-coming writers the chance to earn a publication credit for their growing portfolios. We’ve also used them as a chance to bring in voices from outside the ECW community who have particular expertise on a topic.
Each appendix is designed to shed a little extra light on the main story in each book. We highlight particularly famous stories (like Amos Humiston at Gettysburg) or controversies (should Ewell have attacked Cemetery or Culps hills on the evening of July 1)? We focus on the experiences of civilians and the enslaved. We highlight the importance of memory and preservation.
On September 15, 2015, as part of our 5th anniversary series “ECW5,” Bert Dunkerly offered some thoughts about the appendices that we thought worth re-posting:
by Bert Dunkerly
Sometimes the best thing is saved for last. You’ll see what I mean.
ECW is involved in a lot of things: tours, preservation, books, a blog, a symposium, etc. This multifaceted approach allows us to reach many people in many ways. But the heart and soul of ECW, and where it all started, was with books.
The thing I enjoy about our books are the fresh perspectives we offer in the Appendixes, where guest authors contribute to the topic of that volume. Sometimes they debunk well-established myths, address common misconceptions, or offer thoughts on lesser-known aspects of the battle or campaign.
The Appendixes go beyond the topic at hand to explore issues in its historiography, its preservation, and new thoughts or angles on common assumptions. These articles also allow many guest historians, new to writing, to gain a voice and begin their own journeys as writers.
The importance of these thoughts goes beyond just enhancing that particular book. They “date” the book. In ten, fifty, let’s hope a hundred years, when readers pick up an ECW book, they will see what issues or concerns the historians of the 2010s were concerned with.
The Appendixes are a unique, ECW-specific feature that no other mainstream books on battles, campaigns, and leaders offer.
Sometimes the best really is last.