Archive for Thursday, December 9, 2004

Magazine to focus on Kansas military history

December 9, 2004

Producers of a Kansas magazine set to debut in two months hope to tap into what they say is an often overlooked part of the state's heritage: the United States military.

The Kansas Journal of Military History will be a full-color, illustrated quarterly magazine that will present stories on all aspects of the military's Kansas ties as well as its veterans, from George Custer to Dwight D. Eisenhower and the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers.

"I don't think the general public is aware of how significant the military contributions to Kansas are and traditionally always have been," said Deb Goodrich, the magazine's editor.

Based in Topeka, the magazine is a private venture to be supported by subscriptions, newsstand sales and advertising, Goodrich said.

It will rely on historians, free-lancers, military personnel and academics to supply the stories. She noted that Fort Leavenworth would be a major resource for the publication because there are so many military instructors there who are good writers.

"That is just a gold mine, and we are going to milk it for all it's worth," Goodrich said of Fort Leavenworth.

Among the contributors to the first and future issues will be Tim Rues, curator of Constitution Hall in Lecompton, and Lawrence resident and former Kansas Supreme Court Justice Fred Six, Goodrich said.

The first issue of the magazine is scheduled to appear Jan. 29. It will include a section of stories about "Bleeding Kansas," the pre-Civil War period that saw battles between pro- and anti-slavery factions.

There also will be a story about how Eisenhower, of Abilene, the Allied commander during World War II, ordered a Coca-Cola factory to be dismantled, shipped to Europe and rebuilt.

"We will not be confined to Kansas," Goodrich said. "We will go anywhere Kansans take us."

Working with Goodrich will be the magazine's general manager, Karen Erickson. Both are native Virginians. Goodrich moved to Kansas 10 years ago to attend Washburn University. She met her husband, historical writer Thomas Goodrich, at an eastern Kansas Civil War roundtable.

Thomas Goodrich has written several books on the Civil War and Indian wars, including "Bloody Dawn," about Quantrill's raid on Lawrence. He also will write for the magazine.

Six said he thought the magazine would be well-received by the public.

Paul Bahnmaier, Lecompton historian, agreed. But people everywhere seem to have an appetite for military history now, he said.

"A lot of people watch the History Channel, and the History Channel is full of military battles," Bahnmaier said.

Though the magazine is not tied into any state agency, one purpose of the magazine is to promote Kansas tourism, Deb Goodrich said. Bahnmaier thinks the idea will succeed.

"I think it is fantastic that they are talking about Bleeding Kansas, because if you're talking about promoting Kansas there's no better way to do that," Bahnmaier said.

"Bleeding Kansas," referring to a time period before the Civil War, is a term used in textbooks across the country.

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