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Presenting the Book, ‘Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War’

Through my grandmother Elizabeth Vandiver Selby, my family has a link to Missouri’s history. Her ancestor Willard Vandiver was the Missouri senator who in 1899 said, “I’m from Missouri. You have got to show me.” In his honor my grandmother named two of her three sons Willard and Vandiver. The third son was my dad, Forrest Selby.

Both of my parents’ families had been rooted in Fulton, Mo., since before 1850. The town is in Calloway County, which became known as the Kingdom of Callaway in the Civil War because of its Southern-leaning sympathies.

With these strong ties to Missouri’s history, I’m relishing the opportunity to publicize a new book about the state’s pivotal role in the Civil War. It’s a fascinating look into our past and the rivalries that are still with us today.

Here’s the news release I wrote for St. Louis writer Gregory Wolk:

‘A Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War’
Offers Driving Tours of Battles, Historic Sites
St. Louis … In the recently released “A Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War,” St. Louis lawyer and first-time author Gregory Wolk offers “the first comprehensive sesquicentennial driver’s guide to Civil War battlefields and sites in Missouri.” Wolk has studied the Civil War for 30 years, and is president of Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation Inc., founded in 2001 to educate people in Missouri and neighboring states about the state’s pivotal role in the war.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War on April 12, 186l, the book highlights more than 230 sites and scores of little-known historical facts. Few are aware, for example, that Missouri witnessed more battles than any other state except Virginia and Tennessee. “Almost half of the battles fought in 1861 occurred in Missouri,” the author notes.
The book’s 272 pages include nearly 400 black-and-white illustrations and 19 maps. Easy-to-follow directions are provided for five tour loops, each requiring about two days:
Loop One – St. Louis and Southeast Missouri: City and Swamps
Loop Two – North Central Missouri: Sick of Killing
Loop Three ­ South Central Missouri: A Knight to Remember
Loop Four – Region of Kansas City: Roots of Rebellion
Loop Five – Southwest Missouri: Ozarks Battlegrounds
Subtitled “Friend and Foe Alike,” the book details the state’s split loyalties. “Brother was sometimes pitted against brother, ” Wolk said. “One farm would be Confederate…and another farm up the road would be Union.” Historical vignettes throughout the book describe the wartime roles played by notables including Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Sherman for the North and Gen. Joseph O. Shelby for the South, plus William Quantrill, Mark Twain, George Caleb Bingham, “Wild Bill” Hickok, Belle Starr and Jesse James.
The tour guide is the product of Wolk’s years of traveling the state’s highways and byways to visit Civil War sites and promote Civil War preservation and tourism. “A useful guide resource for the armchair historian, Wolk’s volume is an even more significant tool for those who enjoy venturing out to the locations where history was made,” wrote Thomas F. Curran, Ph.D., author of “Soldiers of Peace: Civil War Pacifism and the Postwar Radical Peace Movement.”
In the foreword Stuart Symington Jr., whose family has a rich heritage in the Show-Me State, points out that the Civil War affected Missourians “in more ways, for a longer period of time, and more profoundly than it affected the people of any other state in the union.”
Published by Monograph Publishing LLC in Eureka, Mo., “A Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War” may be ordered for $29.95 in softcover through the website, wwwcivilwartourguide.com, or through Amazon.com by searching “books” for ISBN 0979948266).
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