A New York Times bestselling author, journalist and historian will be speaking starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Granbury Live, 110 N. Crockett St.
Austin resident S.C. Gwynne will be talking about his latest novel, “Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War,” for the Ramay-Macatee Speaker Series hosted by the Bridge Street History Center.
Gwynne’s book gives an epic account of the dramatic conclusion of the Civil War. Published in 2019, “Hymns of the Republic” addresses the time Ulysses S. Grant arrives to take command of all Union armies in March 1864 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox a year later.
“It's a very interesting read,” said Maurice Walton, president of the Bridge Street History Center. “He introduces you to some characters that you really wouldn't anticipate being introduced to for the final year of the war, like Clara Barton.”
This will be Gwynne’s second time visiting Granbury, with his first taking place in 2016 when he spoke about his novel released in 2010, “Empire of the Summer Moon.” According to his website, that novel spent 82 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list and was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award.
“When he came in 2016, we pulled that off very, very smoothly, and he commented at the time how impressed he was with just the way we did it, so what we're trying to do this year is have him leave with the same impression because that's the impression he takes away from the community,” Walton said.
According to Gwynne’s website, his book, “Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson” released in 2015, was a New York Times Best Seller. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in history, as well as a finalist for the PEN Award for Literary Biography. He is the author of four other novels, including “The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football” (2016), which was named to a number of “top ten” sports book lists.
Walton said every event that the Bridge Street History Center puts on is geared toward local residents of Hood County — except for the Ramay-Macatee Speaker Series.
“Our mission (at the Bridge Street History Center) is to collect, preserve and interpret the life stories of the people of Granbury and Hood County, so people have asked me, 'What are you doing with a nationally known speaker here?’” he said. “Well, our emphasis all year long is Granbury and Hood County. What we do with this event, is try to just kind of broaden our appeal for one event, with the idea that if people don't know the Bridge Street History Center, and we have a nationally known speaker here, we can introduce them to the community, and introduce the community to those who don't know about us yet. It's an opportunity in a different way to accomplish our mission and it's been good in the past. We've always sold out this event, and I anticipate we'll do it again this year.”
As Gwynne has also written for Time magazine, Texas Monthly and The Dallas Morning News as a journalist, Walton said he is excited for residents of Hood County to meet with a multi-talented writer.
“We are very fortunate in this community to have a man of his qualifications and his accomplishments come to Granbury,” he added. “He's a well-known and an accomplished author and historian, so it's a rare and unique opportunity to have here in Granbury, to hear a guy like S.C. Gwynne speak. We’re really fortunate to have somebody of his caliber here.”
A book signing will take place after the event where attendees can also purchase a copy of Gwynne’s latest book.
Tickets for the event are $15 for VIP and $10 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased online through thenewgranburylive.com website.
BRIDGE STREET HISTORY CENTER
For 10 years, the Bridge Street History Center, located at 319 E. Bridge Street, has been educating the local community about the history of Granbury and Hood County.
The museum is set up in a house that was built in 1879 by David Lee and Sudie Nutt — the earliest and most prominent settlers in Granbury. It features objects that each tell a story about Granbury’s rich history.
“We tell people, ‘We are not an object museum.’ You’re gonna come in here and you will see some objects we have on display, but they’re part of a bigger plan, which is to tell a story about somebody that has something to do with that object. It's not just about the object; it’s the story behind the object. You could fill this place up with objects, but we’ve got stories to tell,” Walton said, speaking on the Uniquely Granbury Podcast.
Walton moved to Granbury in 1978, and from there, he dedicated his life to sharing the history of Hood County to locals and visitors alike.
“In a place like Granbury – where the history in this town makes the town what it is – people come here to see the buildings, to hear the stories, and so, the history in this community is essential to its existence, and the vitality of the community depends, to a great degree, on your ability to preserve that history,” Walton said, during the Uniquely Granbury podcast.
The Bridge Street History Center is open on Saturday from 1-5 p.m.
For more information, visit bshc-granbury.org/wp/ or call 469-702-1260.