Mike SLATE and Kathy LAUDER, eds. The Confederate Twenty-Dollar Irony and Other Essays from the Nashville Historical Newsletter. Nashville: Nashville Historical Newsletter, 2004. 72 pp.
Kathy LAUDER and Mike SLATE, eds. From Knickers to Body Stockings and Other Essays from the Nashville Historical Newsletter. Nashville: Nashville Historical Newsletter, 2006. 89 pp.
Editors Mike Slate and Kathy Lauder have compiled thirty-six short essays into two compact and well-illustrated volumes. Authored by a wide range of Nashville natives, local historians, librarians, archivists and professionals, these essays touch upon the civic, political, economic, religious, military and cultural heritage of Nashville. Each originally appeared either in the print or online version of the Nashville Historical Newsletter. The essays are brief, clear and well-written. They appear to be well-researched in the primary and secondary sources, but bibliographic information is wanting for many articles. Though uneven in form, source lists and bibliographies are provided for several entries and both volumes are well-indexed. Both volumes are richly adorned with supporting documentary, photographic and artistic illustrations, all in black and white. Subjects for the essays range from the familiar to the obscure and they touch upon virtually every aspect of Nashville history. Editors Slate and Lauder are to be commended for assembling a fine array of essays, in clear and readable form and presented in an attractive manner. There are some books which become laborious after a few dozen pages. There are other books which leave you wanting more. This pair of short collections leaves me wanting more. History of this sort…brief, accessible, responsible, interesting… certainly fills an empty niche in the literature on Nashville history. You will be pleased with them.