This project was quite a long time in the making, but the subject matter is more than worthy of the efforts involved. The story of the settling of my native region is one that features numerous examples of near-superhuman heroism and sacrifice. Residents of Nashville ought to at least recognize the names of Timothy Demonbreun, James Robertson, Charlotte Robertson, and John Donelson, if simply due to the fact that those names have been lent to various streets, buildings and other landmarks around town. But their legacy (that of the Robertsons in particular), and that of many of their still more obscure colleagues—Thomas Spencer, Kasper Mansker, Anthony Bledsoe, John Buchanan, and William Hall, to name a few additional notables—is worthy of much wider recognition and adulation. When the first permanent settlements were established in the Cumberland River Valley, the United States were still fighting to gain their independence from Great Britain, and the ultimate survival and success of those settlements, in many respects made all the more difficult by the fact of that larger conflict, played a very strategic role both in that struggle itself and in the subsequent development and westward expansion of the new nation. Had those settlements failed, and they very nearly did fail, subsequent U. S. history would no doubt have turned out quite differently.
So, given my pre-existant enthusiasm for the subject matter, I was excited as all get-out when, way back in 2010, I was tapped to help out on this project, a detailed, year-by-year narrative based on meticulously researched and compiled firsthand accounts of the settlers themselves. More than two years, over a dozen revisions, and just over 800 pages later, I’m still excited . . . to be done! No, seriously (okay I’m sort of kidding about that . . . I know that Paul will empathize) I’m incredibly pleased with the results and with the contributions I was able to make to this important work. For the record, those contributions included updating and finessing an existing (and voluminous!) interior layout which had already been touched by a couple of other designers, consultation on the production of numerous maps featured throughout, logo design, book cover design, business card design, consultation and guidance during the self-publishing process, social media integration, art direction for a promotional video (thanks Ricky Burchell and B4 Entertainment!) and web design (thanks to Tim Brown of Graphos Designs for development!). These books are hardbound and feature smyth sewn binding, which, taken in consideration with the enthralling story contained within the pages, makes them worth every penny of the $70 asking price. Copies are available directly from the author via the website.