Jul 15

Death of a Civil Rights Icon: D’Army Bailey

Upon hearing the sad news of Judge D’Army Bailey’s death, executive editor Rand Dotson reflects upon the publication of his 2009 memoir, The Education of a Black Radical.

Occasionally all acquisitions editors receive a gift in the form of a manuscript that they start reading and cannot put down. In my case, that happened when Judge D’Army Bailey’s memoir landed on my desk. I remember taking it to lunch, then later to coffee, only putting it down to attend a meeting, and finishing it by the close of day. The Judge had phoned me earlier that week to gauge my possible interest in his work. I remember politely explaining that LSU Press rarely publishes memoirs, and then trying to recall his role in the well-known Hollywood films that he mentioned appearing in. Mostly I remember the Judge telling me that I would want to publish his life story and me thinking that this was highly unlikely. I am not often wrong, but when I am, I am wrong spectacularly.

After LSU Press published the Judge’s Education of a Black Radical: A Southern Civil Rights Activist’s Journey, 1959-1964, he came to Baton Rouge to speak at Southern University about his experiences there as well as to LSU to speak to students about the fight for racial equality. On both occasions, I was in the audience along with students and faculty, listening to the Judge’s description of leading protests against Jim Crow laws in downtown Baton Rouge and getting expelled from Southern for his actions, even though he was class president. In both instances, the Judge received standing ovations.

My initial thoughts upon hearing of the passing of Judge Bailey were that he was an absolute gentleman and that he was on the right side of history at a time when being so was a sure way to ruin your life.

Jun 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Along the River Road

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Director MaryKatherine Callaway writes about Along the River Road.

SternbergRIVERROAD_covfrontOne day in 2003, not long after I moved to Louisiana, I got turned around leaving the maze of campus streets and found myself on an odd, lightly-traveled road: a mix of farms, historic buildings (some in an advanced state of decrepitude), industries, half-overgrown fields, neatly plowed fields, wild meadows—always with the Mississippi River’s levee running along one side.

Intrigued to know more, I was delighted to find on the Press’s list a remarkable book devoted to this historic roadway. Along the River Road is a perfect companion for exploring this area either in person or vicariously. Offering historically precise details combined with keen observations on its current attractions, this lively and informative book entertains and informs.

First published in 1996 and now in its third edition, Along the River Road offers accurate and thoroughly-researched information and insights into a crucial route for trade and travel. The Mississippi River provided the vital link between Northern and Southern towns in what was at one time “the West,” and the river still plays a key role in transporting goods. The fascinating stories of the many families who lived along Louisiana’s river road, the commerce of the area, and the inevitable disasters associated with such a powerful body of water provide compelling reading and a wonderful guide to the area. Get a copy now because you never know when you might find yourself there.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50, use code 0480FAV at checkout. 

Jun 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Loyal Forces

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Acquisitions Editor Margaret Lovecraft writes about Loyal Forces.


With the recent observance of Memorial Day as well as V-E & D-Day anniversaries, our gratitude swells for those men and women who have served to keep our country safe and our freedom secure. Until working on the book Loyal Forces, though, I had no idea of the important role animals played in assisting American soldiers during the Second World War.

In 2010, the World War II Museum in New Orleans mounted an exhibit on this subject. When curators Toni Kiser and Lindsey Barnes gave me a tour, we saw the potential for a book that could reach people across the country and beyond. The World War II Museum and LSU Press partnered to bring Loyal Forces into being, with authors Toni and Lindsey expanding upon their existing research to offer even more information and images than were featured in the exhibit.

Dogs, mules, pigeons, horses, bats, and spiders aided the war effort in various capacities on battlefront and home front. Loyal Forces explores each species’s contributions in fascinating detail, including recruitment, training, deployment, care, achievements, and postwar life. Period images vividly capture these creatures and their activities, as do photos of their special equipment, certificates, medals, and other artifacts.

Take dogs: Over 10,000 were trained for duty, almost all of them volunteered by their civilian owners. Most served on the home front to patrol the borders, though some 3,000 were sent into combat as sled pullers, messengers, scouts, and mine detectors. Individual stories of bravery and heroism abound, including that of Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier who endured 150 air raids and a typhoon. Because of her small size, she was able to run a telegraph wire through a seventy-foot-long, eight-inch-diameter pipe within a few minutes—something that would have taken humans three days to accomplish. Another example is Caesar, a German shepherd who took a bullet close to his heart but survived and returned to duty three weeks later.

One of the running jokes at the Press is that given the popularity of cats and of the subject of the Civil War, if we could publish a book on “Cats of the Civil War,” we would have a guaranteed best seller. Well, there are cats in Loyal Forces! See them in the chapter on pets and mascots, those animals who provided companionship and moral support to the troops.

Words that come to mind regarding the American animal forces of World War II are respect and admiration: respect and admiration for their amazing and various abilities, for the human ingenuity to utilize those abilities in defense of liberty, for the trust between handler and animal, and for the dedication—sometimes unto death—in seeing a mission through to completion. Loyal Forces keeps alive the memory of these animals’ special service to our country.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50, use code 0480FAV at checkout. 

Jan 15

We’re 80!

80th logo_lsup-tsr_BW (1)This year marks LSU Press’s 80th anniversary and to celebrate our continuing contribution to scholarship and culture we will be highlighting select titles from our prestigious (and long) list of books.

As thriving university press for eight decades, LSU Press has been in operation throughout the Great Depression, World War II, and the centennial of the Civil War in the 1960s. The Press rang in the 1970s with poetry collections by Joyce Carol Oates and Miller Williams and was awarded its first Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for A Confederacy of Dunces. In the years following, LSU Press titles by Henry Taylor (1985), Lisel Mueller (1996), and Claudia Emerson (2005) would also win Pulitzer Prizes. As the publisher of historically important work like the classic, annotated edition of Twelve Years a Slave and as well as novels with significant cultural impact like The Lost Get-Back Boogie by James Lee Burke, LSU Press has remained an integral part of our University and its mission to disseminate knowledge and support creativity.

Follow LSU Press on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter now to see the titles we’ve published from the advent of the paperback to the digital revolution.

Nov 14

Dr. V. Ray Cardozier (1923–2014)

CardozierLSU Press mourns the passing of Dr. V. Ray Cardozier, professor emeritus of higher education administration at the University of Texas at Austin, who died on November 2.

A native of Louisiana and a 1947 graduate of LSU, Dr. Cardozier served at several universities, authored many books, and honored LSU Press with a most extraordinary gift.

In 1994, Professor Cardozier established an endowed fund to “support the publication of scholarly books of merit that might not otherwise be publishable because of limited markets.” Books could come from a variety of fields, including history, biography, social sciences, public affairs and natural sciences.

The V. Ray Cardozier Fund has supported the publication of over 50 books in the past 20 years. They range in subject matter, but each one has benefitted from the generous gift of one man who wanted to make a difference and to strengthen LSU’s commitment to scholarly publishing.

Cardozier Fund recipients’ comments:

Having my edition of Anthony Benezet’s antislavery writings brought to print by LSU Press was the realization of a 20-year dream. The excellence of the Press’s editing and promotion staff made the resulting book far more satisfying than even I could have hoped.
David Crosby, ed. The Complete Antislavery Writings of Anthony Benezet, 1754-1783: An Annotated Critical Edition

For me, it has meant the satisfaction on seeing my book in print after years of thinking about the subject. And because my book is on Lincoln, it has I hope generated some conversation about the meaning of liberty, equality, and democracy, all things I am sure Mr. Cardozier (whom I never met) valued.
John Barr, Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present

The publication Delta Empire with such a distinguished press exposed the book to a much larger readership than would otherwise have been possible. More importantly, funding from the V. Ray Cardozier fund made it possible to price the book at a rate that would permit teachers to assign it to both undergraduate and graduate classes, extending the book’s readership even more.
Jeannie Whayne, Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South

The publication of my book was the culmination of a several years-long effort to address an important aspect of pre-Civil War U.S. economic history: the role of the federal government in stimulating economic growth and development. My approach was necessarily quantitative, which made the eventual book more of a challenging read than I might have wished and, therefore, not likely to have seen publication without Mr. Cardozier’s endowment of LSU Press. I am profoundly grateful.
Paul Paskoff, Troubled Waters: Steamboat Disasters, River Improvements, and American Public Policy, 1821–1860

I am very grateful to Mr. Cardozier for his generous support of LSU Press. My first book with LSU helped land me a tenure track job, and my second book should help me get tenure. His support of the Press has been instrumental in the advancement of my career.
Jonathan White, Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman

To see the final product, a result of many years of hard work preparing and researching and writing and editing a project of mine, finally in print and with a gorgeous cover, was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Aaron Astor, Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri

Publishing my book with the help of the V. Ray Cardozier Endowment at LSU Press allowed me to present more than ten years of research to a broader public than I ever would have realized through other means. Additionally, publication proved my professional development so that I not only earned a promotion, but also I found that other resources became available to me to help with my future research, as a result of my first publication.
Michael Gagnon, Transition to an Industrial South: Athens, Georgia, 1830–1870

Aug 14

LSU Press Marketing Department Seeks Interns!

Interested in academic publishing? Want to learn more about the marketing of academic and trade books to a wider audience? Apply for our Fall 2014 marketing internship!

The marketing intern assists in generating awareness and interest of LSU Press’s award-winning list of trade and academic books. Candidates should have strong communication and organizational skills, experience in customer service, and an interest in public relations, advertising, and sales. This six-month internship requires a minimum of two to three days a week for increments of three to four hours. Additional time can be earned off site. The internship is unpaid, but hours are flexible and portions of the workload can be suited to interest. This position provides valuable experience in the rapidly changing world of publishing and grants interns access to industry and media contacts across the country. Please send resume and letter of intent to erolfs@lsu.edu.

Apr 14

LSU Press’s new copywriter and publicity coordinator talks about the journey from Louisiana to NY and back

When I got the call from Oxford University Press in 2010, I was in downtown Baton Rouge, chattering to my parents and a security guard about football. I went outside to take the call, and I accepted the job sitting on a stone ledge that overlooked the Louisiana State Capitol.

When I got the call from LSU last year, I was at work in mid-town Manhattan, nervously asking my brother-in-law, “Am I going to get this job? Am I getting this job? Is this happening?” I went into one of the conference rooms to take the call, and I accepted the job gazing out a window that looked out on the Empire State Building.*

See that?


I told all my New York friends that I was moving back to Louisiana after three years in the city, and after the expected expressions of grief, they all said, “It’s good for you. You always wanted to move back there.”

That’s true. I did.

MASH scrapWorking at LSU Press is a different, different beast to working at Oxford University Press. Water and oil, chalk and cheese, hamburgers and helium. I noticed the other day that I know the handwriting of almost everyone on staff at LSU Press. If you gave me a Memory board with head shots and handwriting samples from each of the staff members of LSU Press, I’m pretty sure I would crush it. People here leave notes on closed office doors—Kate’s in class now—and on each other’s desks—Sorry this is late! Can you rush it?—and on routing documents—Best blurb ever. I know who crosses Ts with the most enthusiasm, and who writes like that one friend you had in seventh grade whose main role was to serve as MASH transcriptionist at slumber parties. **

I could identify the handwriting of maybe two people at Oxford University Press, and one of them lived with me.

When I moved from New York back to my home town of Baton Rouge, I wanted the experience of working in a smaller, more personal press like LSU, in a job where I would be involved with the press’s full range of published books. I am not exaggerating when I say that I interacted almost exclusively with scholars of African history for a full six months after starting work at Oxford. At LSU Press, I work with Civil War scholars and novelists and sports historians and poets, all in the space of a single publishing season. I couldn’t tell you the names of the editor-in-chief for any single reference project at Oxford that I wasn’t working on myself. Here, I think I could get pretty close to a full listing of the authors and titles for our entire spring list, because I’m writing press releases and prize applications for all of them.

And honestly? Having said all that? The surprising thing isn’t the differences between my old job and my new one. The surprising thing is the similarities.

People who work in publishing believe in what we’re doing. We wouldn’t be working for pennies in a scarily threatened industry if we didn’t. My coworkers at Oxford would light up when they talked about the new ethnomusicology project coming down the pike. The acquisitions editors at LSU Press lean across the table at meetings about their books and say, Did you know about this? I didn’t! This hasn’t been written about before!

That’s what I always loved about academic publishing. Whether you’re working with a hundred authors a year or a thousand, whether you’re interacting with other departments once a day or once a year, the endeavors are exactly the same at the core: to put more knowledge out into the world.

I can’t imagine anything better.

*Okay, this is a slightly illusive parallel. I could probably have seen some segment of the Empire State Building if I had leaned really far in one direction. Actually I sat down at the conference table and accepted the job flipping anxiously through a style guide that happened to be in there.

**I never had a friend whose main role in my life was MASH transcriptionist at slumber parties. I am not Regina George.

Nov 13

Louis D. Rubin Jr. (1923-2013)

LouisRubinIn the history of the literary side of LSU Press, there is no more influential and revered figure than Louis D. Rubin Jr., who died on November 16 at the age of 89.   The Press published many of his numerous books, beginning in 1953 with Thomas Wolfe: The Weather of His Youth.  But Louis also founded our influential and award-winning Southern Literary Studies series and served as its editor from 1963 to 1993.  Beyond that, he put the Press in touch with countless fiction writers and poets, scholars and nonfiction writers, students and readers, many of who became authors of books we published or helped us in other ways.  His contributions to LSU Press and to southern literature have been enormous—and for the Press’s literary programs, truly crucial.

Among the scholarly books he authored for us are The Curious Death of the Novel  (1967), Black Poetry in America (1974; co-authored with Blyden Jackson), William Elliot Shoots a Bear: Essays on the Southern Literary Imagination (1976), The Wary Fugitives: Four Poets of the Modern South (1978), and The Mockingbird in the Gum Tree: A Literary Gallimaufry (1990).  We published his novel Surfaces of a Diamond (1981) and reprinted his early novel The Golden Weather (1995).  Since his retirement, the Press has done two of his autobiographical books, An Honorable Estate (2001), about his years as a journalist, and My Father’s People: A Family of Southern Jews (2002).

Perhaps as significant a contribution to southern studies as his authored books are Louis’s edited or co-edited volumes.  The foremost of these is The History of Southern Literature (1985), for which he served as general editor and worked with several co-editors and dozens of other scholars who dealt with individual southern writers and particular themes.  Other notable edited works of his that we published include A Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature (1969), The American South: Portrait of a Culture (1979), and Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary (1979; co-edited with Robert Bain and Joseph M. Flora).

Louis was also a publisher in his own right, most notably the founder of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and his knowledge of the publishing industry often proved invaluable to LSU Press. In the mid-1990s he encouraged us to reprint well-known out-of-print southern fiction and facilitated our republication of such excellent works as his former student Lee Smith’s novel The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed and several of Ellizabeth Spencer’s novel s, including The Voice at the Back Door.  These books are part of a series of reprints called Voices of the South, and Louis helped us immensely with it.  He also occasionally recommended poets he thought highly of, such as Jane Gentry, author of the fine collection A Garden in Kentucky (1995) and later poet laureate of that state.

Rubin_coverIn 2002 The Southern Review published a “Writing in the South” issue in honor of Louis and centered on the various aspects of his work in the field, and it included memoirs by several of his friends, colleagues, and students.  And in 2006, in Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary, edited by Joseph Flora, Amber Vogel, and Bryan Giemza—in  effect a new edition of the biographical dictionary Louis co-edited in 1979—there inevitably appeared an entry on Louis himself, written by Michael Kreyling.  It began, “Louis Decimus Rubin, Jr., is the master builder of southern literature as a field of academic study.”  LSU Press is proud of our efforts to assist him in this endeavor for many years, and we will always consider him one of our greatest benefactors and friends.

Nov 13

Burl Noggle (1924-2013)

We at the Press are sad to note the passing of LSU Professor Emeritus of History Burl Noggle, an outstanding scholar in the field of twentieth-century American history and author of three books published by LSU Press.

A native of North Carolina, Professor Noggle received his Ph.D. in history from Duke University and then taught briefly at New Mexico State University before settling into his long career here at LSU. His Press books are Teapot Dome: Oil and Politics in the 1920s (1962); Working with History: The Historical Records Survey in Louisiana and the Nation, 1936-1942 (1981); and The Fleming Lectures: A Historiographical Essay (1992).

A former Press editor, John Easterly, now retired, fondly remembers Professor Noggle as a fine teacher whose course on the New Deal and World War II made a huge impression on him as an LSU undergrad. Among other things, in that 1968 class Noggle introduced him to James Agee and Walker Evans’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and to the New York Review of Books. Noggle’s reading always struck him as very wide, especially for its including literature. He discovered that Noggle used John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy of novels, for instance, in his course on America from the Progressive Era to the 1920s, and it became one of John’s favorite works of fiction.

Professor Noggle’s most wide-ranging book is Into the Twenties: The United States from Armistice to Normalcy (1974), and in the years just prior to its publication, students in his courses, John recalls, learned much about demobilization after World War I, President Woodrow Wilson’s struggles during that time, and the Red Scare—a fascinating, turbulent period that Noggle’s work did much to establish as a rich field for U.S. historians.
All of us at the Press are proud to be the publisher of three of his fine books and grateful to have had his friendship over these many years.

May 13


CW sale 2013 email graphic 1

Hundreds of fascinating Civil War titles are 40% off until June 25. For the Civil War buff and historian this is a great opportunity to affordably deepen your understanding and broaden your library. Visit www.lsupress.org to discover more Civil War titles at 40% off. Order online or call 800.848.6224 and use the code 04CIVILWAR.