Just a quick note to all of our readers who live in the Sharpsburg area of Maryland, and to any fan of Gods and Generals who may be visiting the Antietam battlefield: I forgot to mention this a few days ago in my vacation journal, but available for sale in the gift shop in the Visitor’s Center are back-issues of North & South Magazine from October 2002. What caught my eye was the big title on the top of the cover that read “The Making of Gods and Generals“. Though I had read probably everything there is to read on the making of this film, the 99 cent price tag prompted me to purchase a copy, and I was glad I did. The lengthy article written by historical consultant Dennis Frye sheds some behind-the-scenes light on the production, including many little stories that I had never read, involving casting and filming issues, as well as the immense process in sitting down with the script (Frye, assistant director Donald Eaton, and Maxwell literally locked themselves in a room for seven hours with Ron’s dogs to do a final read through of the script, making sure it was perfect).
The funniest moment of the article comes during the details of that reading, when near the end of the massive script, Frye writes that Eaton slammed the script shut and proclaimed, “And then Stonewall Jackson died!”, which actually caused Ron’s sleeping Westies to wake up and start barking furiously. Aside from Gods and Generals, the magazine is very interesting in a sense that it discusses a lot of the hype surrounding the 140th anniversary of the battle of Antietam and preparation for the reenactment. Now here we are, ten years later, preparing for what will be the biggest anniversary for most of our lifetimes: the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, which will last until 2015. Also included in this issue are articles by Stephen W. Sears and James M. McPherson, both of which were excellent. The stack of these issues was rather large, and sitting near the main counter in the gift shop. There was probably about 20 there, and I don’t think there will be a mad rush for a 10-year-old magazine any time soon, but if you are interested and close by, you might want to pick up a copy.
It also appears to be available online, through their Yahoo store. Give it a shot. You won’t be sorry.