Recently I had the opportunity to talk with author Stephanie Storey about Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War. Stephanie writes gorgeous historical thrillers set in the art world.
She also likes to give other writers a boost with promoting their books. When the coronavirus hit, Stephanie, who produced national talk shows like Arsenio Hall, put that professional experience into launching a YouTube book talk show. Now, instead of heading out to your favorite bookstore to hear about a new book, you can settle into Storey Time on YouTube and listen to some fabulous conversations.
Here I am with Stephanie, talking about Mary Walker and about writing. I hope you take the time to watch. Then check out Stephanie’s books, too.
Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War has been out in the world for one month. Podcaster Nick Thony, who has written about upstate New York and the Civil War, interviewed me for his History Tavern a couple of weeks ago.
It was great to talk to Nick, who asked very insightful questions. Ironically, Dr. Walker may have objected to the tavern connection. She had strong opinions about everything, including the value of temperance.
You can listen to the interview here. And be sure to check out the rest of Nick’s interviews.
In the meantime, I’m contemplating what a History Tavern would look like.
(Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center)
(George and I.R. Cruikshank, “Tom & Jerry taking Blue Ruin after the Spell is broke up” 1820, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne)
A big thank you to everyone who has been dropping by every week to read these teasers, and some have been kind enough to leave messages about how much they are looking forward to reading the book. Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War launches on June 1. If you follow me on Facebook and/or belong to the Nonfiction Fans group there, you will start seeing more book promotion activity. Preorders are still important to raise the book’s visibility. You can do that through Bookshop and help local bookstores in the process!
Now, on to the main event.
Chapter Nine: Women’s Rights During Radical Reconstruction
Although Mary Walker proudly wore her Medal of Honor, she understood the award allowed the government to recognize her achievements without giving her the retroactive commission she desired.
This is my favorite photo of Walker. It captures her intensity and dedication; it signals her commitment to learning.
This was also one of my favorite chapters to research and write. Dr. Walker’s fight shifted from helping to save the Union to securing voting rights for women. Though it is easy to cheer her on for that, her views on race were not as laudable. You will be able to read more about that in Chapter Nine.
We’re closer to the end of Dr. Walker’s story than the beginning. Chapter Eight is the first one about her postwar life. Still a young woman at the conclusion of the Civil War, she had much to yet accomplish.
Chapter Eight: The Medal of Honor
The war may have ended, but not Dr. Mary Walker’s work.
In Clarksville, Tennessee, she provided medical care for women. While attending services at the Trinity Church, Dr. Walker got into a dispute with its minister over issues of loyalty, a controversy that spilled into the community. During the months following the warm she considered various job opportunities as she struggled, physically and emotionally, with the transition to peacetime life.
At the end of August 1865, after receiving testimonials about Mary Walker’s accomplishments, President Andrew Johnson asked the secretary of war to find out “if there is any way in which or precedent by which” any recognition could be made of the doctor’s wartime service.
Learn how Edwin Stanton and Joseph Holt, the judge advocate general, decided how such recognition could be made–all in Chapter Eight.
Remember, Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War releases on June 1!
Stay safe and stay well. See you next week.
Last week, we saw hints of a very dramatic and traumatic time in Dr. Walker’s life. This week, as the Civil War moves through its final months, we get a glimpse of how she picked up the pieces.
Chapter Seven: Surgeon in Charge
The newly released prisoner returned to Washington, DC, with only a set of well-worn clothes on her back.
(A.J. Riddle photo, 1864, New-York Historical Society)
This is a photo of the infamous Andersonville prison, officially known as Camp Sumter, located in southwest Georgia. Mary Walker had the good fortune never to step foot inside. About 45,000 Union soldiers were held prisoner there, and close to 13,000 died, mostly because of malnutrition.
Read more about prisoners of war in the forthcoming Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War.
Until next week, stay safe and well, as always.