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Thread: PSA: Before you buy a book : Original Civil War Veteran books

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    PSA: Before you buy a book : Original Civil War Veteran books

    A lot of books which were published about the Civil War in the decades after the Civil War are being republished with new introductions by a new author and sold as their own copyrighted product. Frequently you will find these first if you search for a book online.

    Make no mistake though, the copyrights on these original books have lapsed and digital copies of the originals are often easily obtainable and have zero protection. The original authors (many are Civil War veterans) are very much dead and you're in no way dishonoring their legacy by not giving money to a publishing company and their new so-called authors whether the original authors are listed as the real author or not.


    The somewhat sad exception is people who take original Civil War manuscripts and publish them as their own product for the first time. While the original documents have no protection, the new book does. Oftentimes the originals never see the light of day for that reason once a 'historian' gets hold of it. This has happened with some memoirs, letter compilations, etc.. In those cases we get to wait for those authors to die and copyrights to expire and hope anything left unpublished doesn't vanish forever.

    No modern day author has any claim on the original works once they are published and after copyright expires though. You and I could literally take the original, reprint it, and sell it ourselves for profit or just give it away for free. So before you buy a Civil War book please make sure that it's not by an author who is a participant. Product placement efforts front load these on search results 9/10 times.

    Archive.org Loc.gov and Google books often has free PDFs / eBooks of these.


    For example:
    Rufus Dawes Service with the Sixth Wisconsin. I bet some of you have paid money for a non-original print of this.
    https://www.google.com/books/edition...AAAAIAAJ?hl=en

    Hardtack and Coffee:
    https://archive.org/details/hardtackcoffee00bill

    "Company Aytch"
    Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment, Or, a Side Show of the Big Show
    https://www.google.com/books/edition...AAAAIAAJ?hl=en

    And a few hundred more out there, possibly in excess of a thousand and more being republished every year under new 'authors.'
    Last edited by Poorlaggedman; 03-11-2020 at 12:26 AM.
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