Book News for Battlefields Of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors

Book Signing and Talk

On Thursday, April 9th at 7:00pm-for the 150th Anniversary of Appomattox Courthouse-please join me for a signing and talk about my book, Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. I’ll be talking about my experiences photographing and living with Civil War reenactors in US and abroad, and also about Civil War-era photography and how I incorporated it in the book.

Book Signing and Talk

Please join me in Concord, Massachusetts-the birthplace of the American Revolution-for a book signing and talk about my book, Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at The Barrow Bookstore, 79 Main Street Concord, MA 01742 (978) 369-6084.
I’ll be talking about my experiences photographing and living with Civil War reenactors in US and abroad, and also about Civil War-era photography and how I incorporated it in the book.

At the 150th anniversary of the First Manassas/Bull Run reenactment in Virginia, Confederates steadily advance under fire. In the foreground, the color bearer wears a Tricorner hat, reminiscent of the Revolutionary War. In the early days of the late unpleasantness, Southern militia would wear uniforms influenced by the the revolution, feeling that they were fighting a second American War For Independence. Photograph from the book,”Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors,” (Merrell Publishers). Photographs by Mark Elson, Text by Jeannine Stein and a forward by James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust.

American Civil War Reenactors visit the past…are you ready to join them?

BATTLEFIELDS OF HONOR: American Civil War Reenactors

Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors: “Digs deep to reach out to the thousands of Americans who become—if only for a weekend—battle-weary soldiers, courageous generals, dedicated nurses, or even eager newspaper reporters…” Publishers Weekly

My photography book ”Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors,” published by Merrell Publishers, is available in stores in the US and worldwide. I photographed through out the US and the UK and the book features color and black and white photographs along with wet plate collodion photographs, the same photography process that was used during the Civil War. Portraits along with action photographs also featured.  The book looks fantastic.

I enjoyed working with Merrell, a company that has been wonderful to work with from the start. Their books are top-notch, and they’ve taken great care with the photos and text every step of the way.

I’m also very happy that James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust, has written a splendid foreword. The trust is involved with preserving Civil War battlefields and history, and if you’re not familiar with their site you should check it out.

I worked with a number of wonderful people and organizations in putting the book together, and without their help this would not have been possible. I would particularly like to thank Neil Salkind at the Salkind Literary Agency for his guidance and belief in the project. I’d also like to point out that my wife, Jeannine Stein, wrote the text.

To purchase please visit:

Amazon: USAUKCanadaFranceGermanyJapan and Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Signing at The Kentucky Book Fair November 16th, 2013

I had a great time at the 2013 Kentucky Book Fair, where I was invited to sign copies of my photo-essay book, “Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors,” (Merrell Publishers). Made some new friends among the many talented authors such as David Williams, Dan Andriacco, Dr. Carolyn Dupont and Connie Remlinger Trounstine. I want to thank the Kentucky Book Fair staff for putting on an outstanding book fair and in particular KBF manager Connie Crowe and KBF president Carl West. Many thanks to Paul Boisvert, KBF committee member, who provided transportation from/to the airport. Thanks, Frankfort, KY and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, for your hospitality.

The Kentucky Book Fair is Kentucky’s premier literary event and one of the largest of its kind in the nation. I was honored to be a part of this highly esteemed celebration of books. Thanks, Mark.

Some women around the time of the Civil War began advocating for equal rights. Among them were “Bloomers,” here being portrayed at the Perryville State Historic Site in Kentucky. The women were followers of Amelia Bloomer, who, among other things, thought women should wear pantaloons to allow them greater movement. Photograph from the book “Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors,” (Merrell Publishers). Photographs by Mark Elson, Text by Jeannine Stein and a forward by James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust.

BATTLEFIELDS OF HONOR reviewed in the magazine Black & White: For Collectors of Fine Photography

“Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors” was reviewed in the April 2013 issue of the magazine “Black & White: For Collectors of Fine Photography.” I’m very happy to have been reviewed in this prestigious magazine.

In the review, the author notes that I used a combination of wet plate and 35mm imagery and says, “[Elson's] formal wet plate portraits are hard to differentiate from those made by Mathew Brady’s studio more than 150 years ago, and his candid 35mm work gives us an idea of what Brady and his photographers might have been able to achieve during the heat of the battle had the smaller format been available to them.”

The magazine is on newsstands now.


I was interviewed about my book, “Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors” (along with my co-author, Jeannine Stein) by John Rabe for his show “Off- Ramp,” on KPCC, Southern California’s public radio.

It was a lot of fun–John is a great interviewer–and the segment is now online, along with a slideshow of images from the book.

You can listen to it online: “Off- Ramp.” Tune in, and I hope you enjoy the show.

BATTLEFIELDS OF HONOR featured in View Camera: The Journal of Large Format Photography

On a recent visit to the legendary bookstore Book Soup on the famous (or infamous) Sunset Strip in Hollywood, I came across the September/October 2012 issue of View Camera magazine. Inside, starting on page 28, I was happy to find that “Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors” was featured.

One of the photographs is of reenactor Maegen Hensley in front of the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum. Hensley is a member of the Historical Citizens Association, a nonprofit Southern California reenacting group that seeks to educate the public about American history.

I want to thank the editors of View Camera for including “Battlefields Of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors” in your respected journal.

BATTLEFIELDS OF HONOR – Civil War Trust Interview

“I wanted to experience what Civil War photographers went through to capture their images, and add another level of authenticity to the book by incorporating wet plate photography. I like knowing I’m carrying on an art and craft from 150 years into another century, where it’s still relevant and appreciated.” Mark Elson - The Civil War Trust interview.

I was interviewed by The Civil War Trust about my photography book “Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors” from Merrell Publishers. The president of the Trust, James Lighthizer, wrote the forward to the book and I’m very proud to have Jim’s involvement with the book. Jim and the Trust are preserving CIvil War battlefields and sites across the country while promoting education regarding the Civil War and American history.

You can buy the book through the Civil War Trust Bookstore, where “Purchase of books from this store will help the Civil War Trust in its mission to preserve America’s threatened Civil War battlefields.”

To read the full interview click on the photograph below.

A wet plate photograph by Mark Elson from the book "Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors."


The Huffington Post has featured my photography book “Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors” on its website and included a slideshow of photographs. I’m very grateful and hope you’ll take a look.


Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors has been recieving some very good reviews:

Amateur Photographer Magazine: “The feel of authenticity is never less than impressive.”

From the review by Amateur Photographer Magazine in the UK:

‘Elson’s images are genuinely beautiful….It’s difficult not to admire the stringent factuality of the re-enactors and the photographer who has preserved their activities’.

I’m very proud to be acknowledged by such a highly regarded publication.

AmoXcalli: “This book is more than just photo-essays, it is a trip back into time and an incredible view of history.”

Gina Ruiz, of the book review blog AmoXcalli, discusses Battlefields of Honor in her keen review:

“Civil War buffs will adore the book; but it is really a wonderful book for anyone that loves history or photography or art.  I think it is a great teaching tool for children as well and one that will get them asking questions and wanting to learn more.  Highly recommended!”

Check out the complete review on this interesting book blog by visiting AmoXcalli

BlogCritics: “The photos nonetheless, like the reenactments, have much to show and teach us about history, in addition to be fascinating in their own right.”

Writing for, a full news and reviews service that covers culture and society, Rhetta Akamatsu, in her soulful review, writes:

“In Battlefields of Honor, Mark Elson provides astonishingly authentic-looking photos of reenactments and reenactors. Often, he employs cameras which were specially built and uses period lenses to create wet plate photographs, which is the way authentic Civil War-era photographs were made. The result is a sometimes ghostly appearance that seems to fit the spirit of the reenactments, recalling the appearance of those who have passed into the shadows of time.”

The complete BlogCritics review

The review was also posted in the Seattle Post-Intellgencer

Gather: “Readers will appreciate getting background on and going through the photographs on the reenactments which are a combination of recreation, entertainment, and education.”

In writing for - the place where millions of people come for a fresh perspective – Henry Berry states:

“For readers, Elson’s wet-plate photography like that in use at the time helps to recreate the atmosphere with the many darker-toned photographs of the time with reenactors in period garb and typical poses of the period.”

To read the full review please visit

Monsters & Critics: “Start to finish, this is a great way to experience the Civil War up close and personal.”

The online entertainment, news, and reviews website, Monsters & Critics, has written a wonderful review of my photography book Battlefields of Honor: Ameican Civil War Reenactors calling it ”Hauntingly authentic…”

Sandy Amazeen writes:

“From famous generals and President Lincoln to grieving widows and slaves, each reenactor vividly brings the past to life as demonstrated in this splendid collection of photographs. Several pictures were made using nineteenth century wet plate photography techniques which yield a hauntingly authentic feel to the images…”

To read the rest of the online review, visit Monsters & Critics

Sir Read A Lot: “Battlefields of Honor delivers a captivating photographic and documentary journey through the remarkable world of American Civil War reenactors, from fighting on the battlefield to life behind the scenes.”

A comprehensive and sublime book review of Battlefields of Honor from the website,, “For both the self-taught and the over-educated – compulsive readers”

For the full review please visit Sir Read A Lot