My amigos at the Sisters Folk Festival have launched a brand new event, set for June:
This is a stacked lineup. As you can imagine, I am beyond stoked that Corb Lund is coming to town. Hot damn!
Hoping maybe we can get a campfire like this one going — in warmer conditions. Any Frontier Partisans out there up for a hootenany?
Stephen Hunter is bringing back Earl Swagger for another adventure.
July, 1944: The lush, rolling hills of Normandy are dotted with a new feature—German snipers. From their vantage points, they pick off hundreds of Allied soldiers every day, bringing the D-Day invasion to its knees. It’s clear that someone is tipping off these snipers with the locations of American GIs, but who? And how?
General Eisenhower demands his intelligence service to find the best shot in the Allied military to counter this deadly SS operation. Enter Pacific hero Earl Swagger, assigned this crucial and bloody mission. With crosshairs on his back, Swagger can’t trust anyone as he infiltrates the shadowy corners of London and France for answers.
James Lee Burke just announced a new historical novel.
In the fall of 1863, the Union army is in control of the Mississippi river. Much of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is occupied. The Confederate army is retreating toward Texas, and being replaced by Red Legs, irregulars commanded by a maniacal figure, and enslaved men and women are beginning to glimpse freedom.
When Hannah Laveau, an enslaved woman working on the Lufkin plantation, is accused of murder, she goes on the run with Florence Milton, an abolitionist schoolteacher, dodging the local constable and the slavecatchers that prowl the bayous. Wade Lufkin, haunted by what he observed—and did—as a surgeon on the battlefield, has returned to his uncle’s plantation to convalesce, where he becomes enraptured by Hannah. Flags on the Bayou is an engaging, action-packed narrative that includes a duel that ends in disaster, a brutal encounter with the local Union commander, repeated skirmishes with Confederate irregulars led by a diseased and probably deranged colonel, and a powerful story of love blossoming between an unlikely pair. As the story unfolds, it illuminates a past that reflects our present in sharp relief.
I was working at Paulina Springs Books in 1995 when Burke’s Dixie City Jam hit the shelves. It was the seventh book in his series featuring troubled New Iberia cop Dave Robicheaux. Burke had won and Edgar Award for Black Cherry Blues, so the books were already well-known and well-regarded, but, for whatever reason, Dixie City Jam got the big publisher push in hardback, and it was a breakout novel for Burke. I read them all, starting with The Neon Rain. I had no idea then that I’d read his slim Texas Revolution novel Two For Texas as a teenager. The later novels have become a bit hit-and-miss for me.
Burke is a helluva writer, though he does wax a little too florid sometimes. He truly believes that there is evil in the world, and his later novels have elements of magical realism that don’t always work for me — though I am far from averse to that sort of thing. Frontier America is never far away in the themes of his work, especially in the novels dealing with the Holland family. I like his historicals, and I always give them a shot, as I will with this one.
This is one helluva powerful episode of the Danger Close Podcast. Long and worth every second of your time.
Heard this piece on a clip from Len Babb Western Art. A stirring piece, fit for a thousand years of frontier living.
Ran across a doco series from BBC on the History of Africa. There is a strong “anti-colonialist/anti-imperialist” theme, as you might expect. That’s appropriate, given its stated perspective, and the history is solid — but it creates some dissonance. It’s always interesting to see how Shaka Zulu and the Mfecane (The Crushing) is handled from an anti-imperialist perspective, because the Mfecane is about as brutal a piece of imperialism as can be found anywhere. A couple of the episodes are of particular interest for Frontier Partisans history.
The visuals are stunning, and I find the sculpture of the Ndebele King Mzilikazi (below) mighty compelling. Mzilikazi was one of the featured biographies in my Warriors of the Wildlands. A Tier One badass, which the artist captured to great effect in this work.
Season 2 of Into the Wild Frontier is on its way…
Greg Marshall says
How can I get tickets for that event in Sisters, and is there accomodation there?
Tix go on sale on 02/08 — link through https://sistersfolkfestival.org/. I’ll post a link here, too.
Lodging = https://www.booking.com/city/us/sisters.html
Quixotic Mainer says
I’d love to cross paths with Mr. Corb again, if he ever hies himself over on this side of the continent again. I think it was probably 2010 or so when I saw him in St. John.
That bit of “Northern Thing” soundtrack was awesome! Reminds me a little of parts of the Witcher score.
Stirring, ain’t it?
David Wrolson says
There are 2 singers I want to see-Corb Lund (fingers crossed that he would sing Horse Soldiers) and Jimmy Buffett (I realize time is ticking on that one).
I one of his books he said a Geography professor wanted to base a course on his songs-which is really cool.
OK, you twisted my arm-Tom Russell would be awesome too.
If Africa wasn’t a deal this summer-maybe Sisters and Corb Lund would be calling my name-with the full realization that you would be busy and campfire time would be limited.
David Wrolson says
Reading through Bullet Garden very quickly. i have caught Hunter’s later works on kind of an ad-hoc basis-missed some, got some-but it is no secret that there is a usually a pay-off or twist in his books and I will just say that the twist in this one that I just hit is very sweet and I think most here will enjoy it.
That’s good to hear. Just picked up We’ll Meet Again and am tearing though it. You’l enjoy it — vintage B. Bull.
David Wrolson says
Jim, I know the TBR pile never gets smaller-but you really need to put Bullet Garden at the top.
Just got notice that my copy is in.
John Maddox Roberts says
Another upcoming book: James Ellroy has another Freddy Otash novel coming out in September, THE ENCHANTERS. Maybe this will hold us until the next “second L.A. Quartet” book appears.
Thank you. I hadn’t heard that.
David Wrolson says
I have been reading “Mao’s War on Nature” on Kindle which is right in one of my X-Rings. There is an interesting passage in “Tiger” the book on the Amur tiger about the effect of Marxist materialism on the environment in China which started me on this trail.
Anyway, I popped away from that one (I am half done) to do a quick Kindle read of “Bullet Garden” and I have to say that while “Mao’s War” is an easier read than I thought it might be-it is really hard to go right back to it right after a fun read like”Bullet Garden.”
If anybody is interested, here is the passage from “Tiger” a book that has gotten some discussion here.
>>>>”she would see a landscape in which the Marxist vision of nature has been fully realized. With the exception of a swathe of forest along the Chinese-Russian border, what used to be the shuhai—Manchuria’s ocean of trees—has been largely stripped away. Every square yard of arable land appears to have been made useful with a vengeance—scraped off, plowed up, altered in one way or another. There is virtually nothing left in the way of animal or bird life. A magpie is an event. Every wild thing larger than a rat appears to have been eaten or poisoned. Stunted scrub oak still grows in russet waves on crags above the scoured plain, but down below, as far as the eye can see, spread the works of man.”
Vaillant, John. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures) (p. 301). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
John Maddox Roberts says
Marxist doctrine held that any regard for nature was pure bourgeois sentimentality.
I am guilty of so much bourgeois sentimentality that I am sure there is a place against a wall for me in some Red utopia.
That’s one the horrible things about Marxism.
It’s weird that a lot of environmentalists are taken with Marxism. The Soviet Union or Commmunist China did far more damage to the environment than capitalist America.
I do believe that there is a place for sensible environmentalism, but so much about the modern movement is crazy.
Found out something interesting (and tragic since people died) but we the US invaded Russia during the First World War.
Allan Godsiff says
Pretty exciting post this one Jim.
Corb Lund is someone to look forward to live for sure. Maybe Colter Wall next ?
Can never get too much Swagger reading either !
I sure hope to see Colter Wall here.