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23 Sep

I have had wonderful reviews of this book and I am very, very grateful to those who saw fit to take the time to give their honest opinion. However, generally in the reviews the length of the book is raised with the reviewer usually comforting prospective readers that despite its size the book isn’t difficult or to use today’s vernacular, “it’s an easy read.” Indeed, when I sent the original manuscript to the publisher, the gentleman who spoke with me said, quite in awe, “Lady, you wrote a long book!” Actually, it isn’t nearly as long as it could have been and a prospective work containing all of my articles up to 1922 (after that year there are copyright issues!) would be almost two thousand pages long—two volumes!

Now, I had no problem with the length (other than editing it down considerably), because the subject interests me. 800 pages on sports or celebrities or advanced algebra would be sheer torture for me as a reader. 800 pages on a person of  historical interest—and I have many such interests—would be a walk in the park. I annually read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (all three volumes) as well as the Harry Potter books (until they became too dark) and any number of series of mysteries and other genres. Naturally, I assumed that if Colonel Mosby was a favorite of the reader, the length of the book would be a plus. Most books about him simply retell in so many different words things already well known while my book gives a whole new perspective on the man and his time.

However, for those who fear that by page 500 they will have forgotten page 42 and therefore are hesitant about taking the plunge, I strongly suggest that they read the last TWO chapters first! Now, this may sound very odd, but this isn’t a murder mystery or a spy story. You won’t be given the ending before you’ve read the beginning. What these chapters do is give the tentative reader the conclusion reached by virtue of all that went before, something that is certainly no secret given the Introduction and Dedication! The next to the last is an in-depth view of Mosby’s character and the last covers the charges made against him over the years that are refuted in the book! Simple! Once the reader understands the full concept of the work, then he or she can enjoy it either in order, or perhaps going to those periods of time that are of most interest. It is also possible to put it down and pick it up when time and desire permit. Either way, nothing is lost if you don’t read from page 1 to page 777 in that order! There are no footnotes or endnotes or appendices. Whatever you are reading is explained in sufficient depth while you are reading it.

Finally, the book is long because John Mosby was of interest to the press for a long time. There were a couple of short articles about him in a Richmond paper at the time of the Turpin shooting, but they were not sufficiently detailed to be of interest. As noted, the press became interested in him during the War and remained so even until today. I cut the book off at the year of his death, 1916. So, you have 1862-3 to 1916—fifty four years of coverage of a man who had more coverage than any other figure of that war to my knowledge! Remember, newspapers pay a lot more attention to the living than the dead! Lee died in 1870. Grant died in 1885 and, of course, Lincoln died in 1865! Yes, things were written about all of these famous men after they died, but more is always written about the living, because the living do things of interest.

It is my hope that the length of my book—and I did keep it down, remember!—will not keep anyone interested from reading it. If you cannot buy it (though I would wish that you did, obviously!), request your local library to obtain a copy. They will! I know, because I did just that! If Colonel John Singleton Mosby, his life and history interest you, you must have this book!

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