Barbed Wire: Good News!

Over the weekend Lyn and I got the second reader’s report on our manuscript. It was as enthusiastic as the first. Approval by the Texas A&M University Press editorial board is still required, but for all practical purposes we have a publisher.

Our book will be in a series called “Connecting the Greater West,” edited by Sterling Evans, whose book Bound in Twine: The History and Ecology of the Henequen-Wheat Complex for Mexico and the American and Canadian Plains, 1880-1950 is a surprising and comprehensive and even fascinating look at the history of baling twine. Baling twine, for god’s sake! At least our “thing” has barbs.

A couple of weeks ago we threw out some of our printed drafts for the book. For several years it has felt like a never ending process. Now it looks like there will be a happy end.


A couple of paragraphs from the reports by outside readers:

For most potential readers there will be many surprises here. Obviously everyone will be aware that barbed wire was marketed as a way to restrict the movement of livestock. But I think most readers will not know that it was also understood to restrict the movement of Native Americans and freed slaves. That part of its history has been largely forgotten; this is thus also a recovery project. It revives part of our national history, including elements we would prefer to forget. The vulgarity and racism of some of this history will shock readers not familiar with it. And it is likely that the role of barbed wire in contemporary Native American struggles will also be news to most readers.

Writing Style:  It’s excellent!  The manuscript reads VERY well, it moves along well from chapter to chapter (with what I thought were terrific transitions). It’s lucid.  I’m sure both professional historians, buffs, and a general public would enjoy the book.

Both readers had thoughtful suggestions that we will take into account as we prepare the final draft. They have done us a big favor.


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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4 Responses to Barbed Wire: Good News!

  1. alex caldiero says:

    Congrats to youse…..,😁


  2. J.G. says:

    Wonderful news! You must be extremely proud. I wonder if the book’s revelations will make folks rethink the significance of those popular barbed wire arm tattoos?


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