corra wrote:

Hemingway said that when you write a novel, you must write it completely without sharing it. Then let it sit. Then edit it to your own satisfaction without sharing. Then let it sit. Then edit it again. Only then should you share it -- once you are satisfied it's as close a match to your vision as you can make it.

I can see that. A multitude of different editorial opinions, POVs, suggestions and recommendations upon a work in progress can be awfully distracting and disruptive.

We'll find somewhere else to do this.

Picking up 'Fools and Mortals' this week, and reading the intro scene, I just had to share it with someone who'd feel it too...

I knew that you'd love it the moment I started to read it. The cleverness of a true storyteller, the very opposite of the straight reportage of the unambiguous journalistic trend. We are allowed to learn the story, discover or uncover it for ourselves without it being spoon-fed. It reminds me very much of some of your work.

Cornwell writes a lot of historical stuff but I always think that he gets the voice right. It strikes the reader as of the era, and you are right, not over-egged so as that it sounds corny.

We are slow to understand the scene is a replayed play. 'Piss on your bollocks'  ... that was the line that got me; alerted me to the fact the actor is male.  'She is tall, and, I am constantly told, strikingly handsome.' was the first foreshadow, but I missed it. The naming... 'Richard' finally nails it, and as a reader I smirk in admiration at how the author had the actor put the play on us.

I just love clever writing.

And yes, there's a simplicity to writing books because you're not a member of a team, so you make all the decisions yourself instead of deferring to a committee.

A Bernard Cornwell quote. I don't think he would like tNBW

Same. smile

Although I think may be only us two here.

Brexit is a very deep and complex thing. Although at the highest, simplest level I imagine that if the American continent was federated and all those countries had free and open migratory access and citizens rights (including welfare) within each others countries, with the whole thing ruled and governed from a non-elected government in Columbia...  that the majority of USA citizens would be anti the arrangement whilst the Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Costa Rican's et al would be very pro the arrangement. Especially so if a huge chunk of the USA tax dollar goes to those other countries for their advancement?

Of course the sanctimonious global-liberal would in a act of outraged indignation, would automatically condemn the USAEXIT voters as callous Nazi, Sexist, Racisits; as is within their mantra, the only perceived alternate to a fellow Liberal.

Of course as history shows time and again, all the federations and annexations of long established counties into newly formed empires or blocs always ends in a breakdown with every country seeking to regain its sovereignty, identity, nationality, Independence and autonomy. We hate our governments... until we lose them. Then we want self-government back.

Why should we ever learn from history?

I've read a lot of Bernard Cornwell (everything but most of the 'Sharpe' novels, although I have read one of two of those a long time ago). I've always enjoyed his work, I find it very engaging.

'Fools and Mortals' is a new facet for him; an Elizabethan era drama. I found the intro chapter very engaging, a great hook (the epitome of what 'the late lamented 'strongest start competition' on tNBW was all about?).

Within the opening snippet there is a narrator character describing their own death in the first person, after the fact.   

At first the reader thinks, 'what the hell?' but if I post more of it you'll see the context and the literary cleverness of it (which is IMO charming).

I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine.

There are those who claim that Her Majesty, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France, and of Ireland, will not allow clocks to strike the hour in her palaces. Time is not allowed to pass for her. She has defeated time. But that clock struck. I remember it.

I counted the bells. Nine. Then my killer struck.

And I died.

My brother says there is only one way to tell a story. ‘Begin,’ he says in his irritatingly pedantic manner, ‘at the beginning. Where else?

I see I have started a little too late, so we shall go back to five minutes before nine, and begin again.

Imagine, if you will, a woman. She is no longer young, nor is she old. She is tall, and, I am constantly told, strikingly handsome. On the night of her death she is wearing a gown made from the darkest blue velvet, embroidered with a mass of silver stars, each star studded with a pearl. Panels of watered silk, pale lavender in colour, billow through the open-fronted skirt as she moves. The same expensive silk lines her sleeves, the lavender showing through slits cut into the star-studded velvet. The skirt brushes the floor, hiding her delicate slippers, which are cut from an antique tapestry. Such slippers were uncomfortable, tapestry shoes always art unless lined with linen or, better, satin. She wears a ruff, high at the back and starched stiff, and above A her striking face is framed by raven-black hair, which is pinned into elaborate coils and rolls, all looped with strings of pearls to match the necklace that hangs down her bodice. A coronet of silver, again decorated with pearls, shows her high rank. Her pale face shimmers with a strange, almost unearthly glow, reflecting the light from the flames of a myriad candles, while her eyes are darkened, and her lips reddened. She has a straight back, and throws her hips forward and pushes her shoulders back so that her silk-clad bosom, which is neither too large nor vanishingly small, draws the eye. She draws many eyes that night for she is, as I am frequently told, a hauntingly beautiful woman.

The beautiful woman is in the company of two men and a younger woman, one of whom is her killer, though she does not yet know it. The younger woman is dressed every bit as beautifully as the older, if anything her bodice and skirt are even more expensive, bright with pale silks and precious stones. She has fair hair piled high, and a face of innocent loveliness, though that is deceptive, for she is pleading for the older woman's imprisonment and disfigurement. She is the older woman's rival in love, and, being younger and no less beautiful, she will win this confrontation. The two men listen, amused, as the younger woman insults her rival, and then watch as she picks up a heavy iron stand that holds four candles. She dances, pretending that the iron stand is a man. The candles flicker and smoke, but none goes out. The girl dances gracefully, puts the stand down, and gives one of the men a brazen look. If thou would'st know me,' she says archly, 'then thou would'st know my grievance.'

'Know you?' the older woman intervenes, 'oh, thou art known!' It is a witty retort, clearly spoken, though the older woman's voice is somewhat hoarse and breathy.

'Thy grievance, lady,' the shorter of the two men says, 'is my duty.' He draws a dagger. For a candle-flickering pause it seems he is about to plunge the blade into the younger woman, but then he turns and strikes at the older. The clock, a mechanical marvel that must be in the corridor just outside the hall, has started striking, and I count the bells.

The onlookers gasp.

The dagger slides between the older woman's waist and her right arm. She gasps. Then she staggers. In her left hand, hidden from the shocked onlookers, is a very small knife that she uses to pierce a pig's bladder concealed in a simple linen pouch hanging by woven silver ropes from her belt The belt is pretty, fashioned from cream-coloured kidskin with diamond-shaped panels of scarlet cloth on which small pearls glitter. When pricked, the pouch releases a gush of sheep's blood. I am slain,' she cries, 'alas! I am slain!' I did not write the line, so I am not responsible for the older woman stating what must already have been obvious. The younger woman screams, not in shock, but in exultation.

The older woman staggers some more, turning now so that the onlookers can see the blood. If we had not been in a palace, then we would not have used the sheep's blood, because the velvet gown was too rich and expensive, but for Elizabeth, for whom time does not exist, we must spend. So we spend. The blood soaks the velvet gown, hardly showing because the cloth is so dark, but plenty of blood stains the lavender silk, and spatters the canvas that has been spread across the Turkey carpets. The woman now sways, cries again, falls to her knees, and, with another exclamation, dies. In case anyone thinks she is merely fainting, she calls out two last despairing words, "I die!' And then she dies.

The clock has just struck nine times.

The killer takes the coronet from the corpse's hair, and, with elaborate courtesy, presents it to the younger woman. He then seizes the dead woman's hands, and, with unnecessary force, drags her from view. 'Her body here we'll leave,' he says loudly, grunting with the effort of pulling the corpse to moulder and to time's eternity.' He hides the woman behind a tall screen, which mostly hides a door at the back of the stage. The screen is deco-rated with embroidered panels showing entwined red and white roses springing from two leafy vines.

A pox on you,' the dead woman says softly. 'Piss on your bollocks,' her killer whispers, and goes back to where the audience is motionless and silent, shocked by the sudden death of such dark beauty.

I was the older woman.

The room where I have just died is lit by countless candles, but behind the screen it is shadowed dark as death. I crawled to the half open door and wriggled through into the antechamber, taking care not to disturb the door Asa the top of which can be seen above the rosy screen.

Gawd help us, Richard,' Jean said to me, speaking softly. She brushed a hand down my beautiful skirt that was stained with sheep's blood. 'What a mess!'

Will it wash out?' I asked, standing.

It might,' she said dubiously, 'but it will never be the same again, will it? Pity that.' jean is a good woman, a widow, and our seamstress. `Here, let me wet the silk: She went to fetch a jug of water and a cloth.

I'm leaving the site at the weekend and will delete this group as I exit the door on the 28th Jan 2018... UNLESS anyone wants to take it on? Please shout before Sunday, else it is going, going, gone.

It is going backwards. The two previous (UK) companies that I worked for followed a meticulous policy of equal pay and I think that generally the UK is ahead of most countries in terms of equality.  The problem is at the moment we are in the EU and such law is passed by a central European government (non-elected). Because the EU is a federation of 28 countries, when it comes to places like Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Croatia the differential between gender pay rates can be 30 to 40%. Business runs upon fine margins and to  bring these immediately in line with equal pay would bankrupt industry etc. Hence the EU has to accommodate the lowest common denominator and cannot introduce an equal pay law.

The UK can pass a pay equality law, but only once they've left the EU. Hence Brexit, which if you support, you are labeled a fascist, Nazi, racist, sexist thug by the Liberals.  Can't win. Much like tBNW forums.

The family dog will always love you.

...but never trust a human.

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

A Christmas present; and very much appreciated. 


I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine.

There are those who claim that Her Majesty, Elizabeth,
by the grace of God, Queen of England, France, and of Ireland,
will not allow clocks to strike the hour in her palaces. Time is
not allowed to pass for her. She has defeated time. But that
clock struck. I remember it.

I counted the bells. Nine. Then my killer struck.

And I died.

My brother says there is only one way to tell a story. ‘Begin,’
he says in his irritatingly pedantic manner, ‘at the beginning.
Where else?

I see I have started a little too late, so we shall go back to five
minutes before nine, and begin again.

Imagine, if you will, a woman. She is no longer young, nor is
she old. She is tall, and, I am constantly told, strikingly hand-
some. On the night of her death she is wearing a gown made
from the darkest blue velvet, embroidered with a mass of silver
stars, each star studded with a pearl. Panels of watered silk,
pale lavender in colour, billow through the open-fronted skirt...

A storyteller at his craft.  Me, I love it! A best seller in the real world but man, wouldn't he get the shit kicked out of him for not being proper, by the matriarchal hens who pick the shit out anybody's voice on this bloody site.

corra wrote:
Dill Carver wrote:

Laws requiring businesses to prove they are paying men and women equally have recently come into force in Iceland.

The only country in the world where is it now illegal to pay a female less than a male for doing the same job!

Such a simple 'no brainer' law and it is 2018 and there is only one country enforcing this?

A few years ago I called a peer of mine (male, same age, hired five years after me) & told him my salary. I asked him if I had a reason to call my boss and demand more equal pay. He didn't want to tell me his salary (fairly enough), but he told me to fight. Apparently I was far under him (same job title). It's insanity.

I work alongside female colleagues who are paid significantly less than me for doing the same role. It is a French parent company and a such a division is considered normal. We have broached equal pay, departmentally on several occasions but upper management is petrified that it would set a precedent across the entire company. 

I'm not sure if this is 2018 or 1818 smile


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Memphis Trace wrote:

I always learn a lot when my beliefs are set upon by Dill Carver, for instance, and I would greatly lament it if his voice and opinions were censored or muted.

It's a strange thing, POV

I've often felt the urge to reply or comment in the forums when my beliefs (or lack of) are challenged and assaulted by the likes of Memphis Trace, for instance.

IMO politics and religion are the enemy of freedom and democracy. Look at what this world has become because of the people fuelled by them. This site is a micro-society reflection of the same.

I'm honestly not sure what I actually did to engage the snark and invoke the personal hatred from j p lundstrom though? I've never had anything to do with him. In this case I was supporting the development of the shred group. I assume it is merely my existence here that irks him.

The site is certainly not what it was. Just look at the shenanigans and resistance to do with said shred group. A positive change that could enhance and possibly improve and rejuvenate the site, address some of the dysfunction... and yet it starts a war of words and disruption... and after all, anyone not interested in the shred can simply choose not to partake. Or so you would think. Turns out that those who don't want to use it or can't see the need for it, don't want those who appreciate the benefit in it, to have it. Strange times this mob rule era. 

Anyway, I feel this is the incentive for me to pack up and say goodbye to tNBW. It's been an age since I first arrived in 2006 and most everyone I knew and who knew me are either gone or long gone anyway.

The diversity of the member pool seems to have evaporated in favour of menopausal christian liberal militants of late and as such I seem to have become the root of all evil upon the site. A pariah. To be honest I was hanging around mainly for the competitions (which I really enjoyed and felt brought the writers here together into a centralised 'group of interest' old site style, but seem to have dried up).

Sol, in order to placate the upset and angst that my recent diabolical behavior has caused the tNBW 'we the people' society, I am happy to cease and desist forthwith. It must be time to go, because I'm not entirely sure what I have done. I am obviously out of control.

I will voluntarily close my account but need to postpone that act until the weekend when I will be home from work and can download my junk from the site to a local drive to ensure that I have archived my content. If you'd afford me that stop-gap then I'll appreciate it; Ill be cleared out and closed down by Monday but I will refrain from posting comments within the general forums in the meantime.

Cheers... and no worries!


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Dill Carver wrote:
j p lundstrom wrote:

I'm sorry, Dill, but we heard you the first, second and third times.

Well, I felt that I hadn’t previously made the point (and nor had anyone else) that the shred principle actually works both ways. The emphasis of discussion was more upon those who are reviewed and not those who review.  I feel that the shred principle provides an unambiguous environment in terms of both reviewers and authors knowing where they stand. Expectations are managed and understood.

I’m sorry, p lundstrom, that you’ve once again assumed the prerogative to make it personal (you talk of bones to pick and clearly you have one with me). For my part, I’m not sure about your use of the royal ‘we’. You tend to insinuate that you are speaking on behalf of a body of people? Are you the self appointed spokesperson for the rest of the site, a specific clique, group or the rest of humanity?

In the meantime your incessant authoritative and reiterated posts are to be accepted and enjoyed by the ‘we’ (your) ‘all.’ 

j p lundstrom wrote:

So you have a bone to pick with some dogmatic reviewers who won't accept suggestions when their work is reviewed. Easy solution--don't play with them anymore! Block them. You're not a new member--you should know what to do. .

You say “dogmatic,” I say deluded and self-opinionated. Obviously you misunderstood me? Either that, or you intended to put words into my mouth because I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with “reviewers who won't accept suggestions when their work is reviewed.” It is my adamant belief that nobody has any obligation to accept or entertain any suggestions put to them in within a review. Take it or leave it – no worries either way; has always been my mantra when it comes to reviewing.

My problem (and the point I was making) is with those (few) reviewers who readily dispense authoritative editorial wisdom in the haughty manner of dictatorial review (even though in some cases their own product is not all that good); and who explode or implode with indignation if they receive a review upon their own work that is constructed in the self-same manner as the reviews they distribute.

These people exist, a very small minority and not by any means exclusive to tNBW, but universally. I cannot be the only person to have come across this?

Anyway, my only point was that the ‘shred’ principle might elevate this practice.

j p lundstrom wrote:

As for your experiment to evaluate others' reviewing behaviors--how insulting that you should believe yourself so superior to the rest of us you may approve or disapprove each of us. Who do you think you are?

This vitriolic outburst is truly a WTF? moment and pushes your post over the episodial edge.

Again the royal ‘we’ as if you speak for the entire site, outraged upon their behalf?

All that I said, or intended to say, was that occasionally a reviewer, if reciprocated with a review in-kind, might not accept and be upset by receiving the self-same approach to a review upon their own work that they might inflict upon others. Again this is a small specific percentage of reviewers and their psyche and behaviour is self-evident and I’m surely not the only person to have experienced it?

I am genuinely mystified as to why you are outraged against me on behalf of the rest of the reviewers in the world? I have no problem with any reviewer within this thread nor 98% of reviewers that I’ve ever come across. My only beef is with that small minority who can dish it out but cannot take it. Why do you act as if my displeasure in respect of this small dysfunctional group of reviewers relates to a supposed judgment across the entire reviewer community? 

You ask ‘who do I think I am?’  Well, the truth is that I don’t’ know; I’ve never really thought about it but I can assure you that any insecurities that I might display stem from an inferiority complex rather than a superiority complex. You are probably immune to irony, but your judgment of me (not from a personal POV, but that of spokesperson on behalf of the rest of the community), for being judgemental is the epitome of irony.

j p lundstrom wrote:

I used to admire your linguistic skills. Too bad skills don't make the man. JP

You know nothing of me, ‘the man’

Just as I don’t have clue who the hell you are or what your agenda is. Your assassination of my character means nothing.

I stand my ground in a world of liars, cheats, thieves, rapists, murders, rapists, sexists, racists, paedophiles, sycophants, bullies, terrorists, extortionists, philanders, narcissists, sexual predators, animal abusers, abusive parents, abusive spouses, adulterers, political militants, religious nutters, sociopaths et al, and I can hold my head high, for I will have none of it. I would readily stand between anyone on this planet and those people. I have been true and proved myself in terms of loyalty, trust and honesty over and again to those who actually know me.  There have been times within extreme situations where my courage has failed and I could have (should have) done more; so I am not proud of myself, In fact, most of the time I am ashamed.       

I mention it not for sympathy nor any motive other than that people here might begin to understand or at least consider it a factor when evaluating my words on this site; I am military veteran with over a decade of mostly active service behind me and I have long been diagnosed with PTSD.

I swing from glass completely empty to glass overflowing. Some days I spend in remorse, failing to comprehend why I am not dead and other days are spent euphorically celebrating life. Some days I read something I wrote and neither recongonise nor recollect it. But no excuses, I speak my mind and the truth as I see it. I may be wrong and not know it.

I made the mistake of revealing on this site that I find the individual nature of Hillary Clinton abhorrent and that I consider atheism the only true religion and my trend toward libertarian principles in terms of politics. The death of me on this site it would seem, those revelations apparently offending all and sundry, or at least the mass of all of those represented within the p lundstrom ‘we’. All I know is that if I so much as speak in the forums now, it draws a disparaging comment from the indignant ‘we’

So here I am, sat with the black dog and he is panting hard and I can tell you p lundstrom, without the use of admirable linguistics, that your petulant misappropriation of my words and your personal attack upon me is actually revealing more about you than it is about me.


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

vern wrote:

I think the separation is because some people, certainly not all, but enough, may not be prepared for the sometimes overly blunt reviews which some (again certainly not all or even a large percentage) provide. There are those who are more sensitive to criticism and there are those who are less tactful in reviewing. It only makes sense that the two have the option for a different environment. No one is required to function in one or the other; there is flexibility for using either or, or both. With the added option, what might be considered "rude' in one forum might be run of the mill in the other. Different skins for different folks or even the same folks at different levels of development. That's the way I see it and applaud the new option. Take care. Vern

I believe that it also provides a safe environment for reviewers. There are some members who are authoritative and forthright within the reviews they dispense (fair enough), but who for some reason will not accept the self-same degree of attention towards their own writing, however legitimate and technically substantiated that critique might be. 

Strange but true. I have consciously experimented in the past. I have reciprocated reviews in-kind. Measured the review to legitimately suggest the same degree of alteration and change within their own writing that they suggest within the work they reviewed; and yet the author(s) have felt insulted. Apparently within some people there is no assumption or acceptance that you should ever take back what you dish out or reap what you sow.     
Anyway, within the Shred it should be safe and sensible. Only those authors level-headed enough to happily receive the same style and degree of critique they dispense will utilise the group. 

My main optimism for the venture is that extended discussion upon word craft and writing analysis might break out within the Shred group forum.

Laws requiring businesses to prove they are paying men and women equally have recently come into force in Iceland.

The only country in the world where is it now illegal to pay a female less than a male for doing the same job!

Such a simple 'no brainer' law and it is 2018 and there is only one country enforcing this?


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

We've had an informal form of the 'Shred' running for years. It was quite active for a while on the old site but petered out on the new site, replaced by specialist dedicated and independent groups of interest.

It is a great tool and I think it is a wonderful idea to formalise the principle into a group here and now. From previous experience I feel a writer can learn an awful lot from a warts and all review.

In my opinion, the reviews can be brutally honest but they should always be objective rather than subjective. To be given corrective advice and opinion upon grammar, plot and good practice is great but there were always those who'd feel compelled to change a author's voice into their own and insist a story should be written and delivered in the style of their own hand.

The good thing about the 'Shred' being a group is that it has it's dedicated forum, because this kind of reviewing quickly turns into a discussion. The forum allows for interaction in terms of expansion, explanation and debate.

Authors shouldn't worry too much about the harshness of reviewing because reviewers who are subjectively over-zealous, pedantic, petty/officious, authoritative or unfair will be exposing themselves rather than the work they critique . Writers should enter their work in order for it to get it ripped, but fairly and squarely in a totally objective and mature professional manner. 

Very exciting! Thanks Sol. I feel this may strengthen the pulse of the site.


(44 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

jack the knife wrote:

Jeez, what the hell did I miss?

Fake News

Half The Sky: How to Change the World.
by Nicholas D. Kristof  & Sheryl WuDunn

(Passed to me by Sister-in-law because she knew it would drop my jaw). 

From the blurb:

Following World War II, a series of military tribunals were held, where prominent members of the political, military and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany were prosecuted and sentenced for crimes ranging from planning and initiating wars, to crimes against humanity (outside lines of battle)  including the establishment of Jewish Ghettos in Eastern Europe, the widespread use of slave labour and the operation of “Vernichtungslager” (extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau).   In recent history, tribunals have opened to hold people to account for crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia (the ICTY) and the Rwandan Genocides (ICTR) with the International Criminal Courts launching investigations (ongoing) into conflicts in Northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Darfur (Sudan),  and the Republic of Kenya.   The enforced slavery and rape of between two and four hundred thousand “comfort women” held in brothels in south-east Asia during World War II, though, remains unprosecuted.

The Rome Statute (which created the International Criminal Court) defines crimes against humanity as, “…particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. However, murder, extermination, torture, rape, political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice.”

Against this backdrop of impressive rhetoric, we must consider how (as is noted in ‘Half the Sky’), “it appears that more girls have been killed in the past fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the battles of the twentieth century.  More girls are killed in this routine ‘gendercide’ in any one decade, than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.” This book continues to discuss how there are over three million women and girls worldwide who can be fairly termed enslaved in the sex trade, “…we are talking about three million people who, in effect, are the property of another person and in many cases could be killed, by their owner, with immunity.”

This statistic doesn’t even include near million people trafficked across international borders every year (to contextualise that, Half the Sky discusses how, ‘in the peak decade of the transatlantic slave trade, in the 1780’s an average of just under eighty thousand slaves were shipped across the Atlantic from Africa to the new world’).   Economically, the Global Fund for Women identify how, ” Women perform two-thirds of all labour and produce more than half of the world’s food. Yet, women own only about one percent of the world’s assets, and represent 70 percent of those living in absolute poverty.”

Where one would argue that failure to act is part of, ” a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority” we quickly begin to see that women are facing, and have suffered, one of the greatest human rights atrocities of this century.

also from the blurb;

Hillary Clinton has said that it’s never been a better time to be a woman, and that any woman, wherever she is- is better off than she would have been in the past.

How little we actually know! How ignorant we are? The news and media have us looking the other way, sensationalizing tidbits and scandalizing trivia. How has globalization managed to make us regionally myopic?

I've just ordered this. Thought that I'd have to import from Amazon USA... by yey! It's available from Amazon UK, an International Title! … -Anthology

My Christmas present to me.

Just bought: The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents. by Ronald Kessler

For a little behind the scenes insight and some research.

I like the look of, The Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War: by Brayton Harris; I might track that title down.

Also, Moby Dick. I've never actually read it. I've read excerpts and quotes and feel like I know the story; but I've never actually read it. It's on every 'top 100 novels' list that I've ever seen.

It was the same thing with 'Gone with the wind;' I thought I knew the story before I read it and therefore procrastinated. I was so glad that I finally read it. My life is richer for it.

Everything You Were Taught about the Civil War Is Wrong, Ask a Southerner! by Lochlainn Seabrook

Intrigued as I am by the wildly conflicting accounts, views, opinions and assumptions I hear upon the conflict.

...and in the pipeline, (not available in the UK but ordered as import from the USA)... because it is missing from within most accounts of history;
Women in Gray by Lochlainn Seabrook

Luckily 'Sam Richards's Civil War Diary' is available on the UK Amazon site. First person in the family who asks me what I'd like for Christmas is getting the link.

There are a myriad of theories as to where the Confederate gold and silver bullion went. The blockade runners very probably account for a proportion of it, but the mystery is that gold bullion is a known/measured commodity, a known quantity resource. A good deal of the Confederate gold cannot be accounted for i.e. it didn't appear or re-appear in circulation. Certainly not in the form of bullion ingots and there was no surge or spike in gold traded as would be expected if the bullion was redistributed.

It is the inexplicably missing inventory factor that fuels the romance of the treasure hunters. Similarly, there was recent surge of theories and interest in Hitler's lost Nazi treasures... a sunken ship, or U-boat or buried train. People love a treasure hunt.