For Immediate Release: 05/11/06
Best-Selling Author Jeff Shaara Donates Book Advance to Preservation Groups
Shaara heeds his book's message to protect endangered Civil War Sites by donating to the Civil War Preservation Trust and other preservation groups
(Washington, D.C.) - Jeff Shaara, six-time bestselling novelist, backed the urgent preservation message in his just-released non-fiction book, Jeff Shaara's Civil War Battlefields, by donating his entire publication advance to the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) and several historic preservation groups. Shaara also included the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust, Old Blandford Church in Petersburg, Va., and the Museum of the Confederacy in his generous $50,000 gift.
The author of Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure has chronicled ten major battles in both eastern and western theaters of the war. The chronological narrative takes place on battlefields and other historic sites that appear well preserved today. However, in making his gift, Shaara recognized the dangers that many of these sites face because of encroaching development. Shaara said:
"If we erase the ground, the hillsides and valleys, the creek beds and rivers, the trench lines and earthworks, then we lose the spirit of our history. We lose the ability to walk in the footsteps, to see what the world looked like to those people who changed our history. No writer can give that to us with as much poignancy as we will find when we walk that ground and see it for ourselves."
CWPT President James Lighthizer praised Shaara for recognizing the importance of preserving the threatened Civil War sites in this country. Lighthizer said that "in an unprecedented show of support and generosity, Shaara has also promised to donate a sizable percentage of the royalties from the sale of this book."
The new book, released on April 25, is aimed at readers who may not be familiar with the history of the Civil War beyond what they learned in high school. Shaara uses his own experience as a visitor and his considerable talent as a writer to convey what happened at the ten battlefields, why the events were important, and through maps and photographs, presents a vivid case for preserving the land today.
Shaara and Lighthizer agree that the key to understanding the Civil War is to first understand the ground on which it was fought. To that end, the Civil War Preservation Trust and its predecessor organizations have saved more than 22,000 acres of hallowed ground in the past two decades.
With 70,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 22,000 acres of hallowed ground. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.