I am making progress on my biography of Edwin McMasters Stanton. I am finishing today chapter 9, which takes Stanton to the end of 1862, his first year as Secretary of War. I have thus finished the first nine chapters, from 1814 through 1862. I have 1863 ahead of me, two chapters. The end of 1863 should tie up with another chapter already done, covering the first six months of 1864. Then I have a gap, of about a year, the latter part of 1864 and first seven months of 1865, probably three chapters. And then I have drafted, pretty much, the last four chapters, dealing with Reconstruction.
So you could say that I am almost done, just a few more months to cover. But you could also say that I have a long long way to go. For 1863 alone I have about 300 pages of single-spaced chronological notes: what Stanton said and did day by day through the year. I have to, somehow, turn those notes, and the books and articles and letters I have gathered, into two readable chapters about 1863. I have to say something in those chapters about Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and Vicksburg and Chattanooga, enough for the reader to understand Stanton’s contributions and comments, but not so much that this book becomes just another history of the Civil War.
I expect to finish by the end of 2016, to give the book to my editor as a New Year’s present. I hope that the book will be in bookstores in October or November 2017, in time for people to purchase it as a Christmas present.