James Engelhardt was my editor on an incredibly delicate book that needed both his skills and discretion. Writing about someone whose story has made headlines for decades was a tall task, and without James, that book would not exist in its present form; a book that has garnered praise from preeminent career scientists and authors alike. Every writer asks, "More edits?" with a sigh. But with each edit, the manuscript became better. I wouldn't have wanted this book to come out with any other editor at the helm. A good editor makes your manuscript better. A great editor teaches you to make your MS better and is firmly planted in your corner. James is the latter. Editor Extraordinaire!
A Hero on Mt. St. Helens: The Life and Legacy of David A. Johnston
I worked with James for several years as I submitted my book manuscript for review, made revisions, and successfully moved the book into production. James was a true pleasure to work with. He was supportive, easy to talk to, and often gave me great advice about the writing process that helped bolster my confidence and kept me excited about my project. He also thought ahead to ensure that I was prepared for the next steps in publishing the book and was always professional and quick to respond to emails.
The Mark of Slavery: Disability, Race, and Gender in Antebellum America (forthcoming)
James Engelhardt is a superb editor with enviable interdisciplinary range. He is timely and thorough. His critiques are always constructive. His guidance and support enabled me to gain a book contract for my history monograph.
Seeking Our Cousins: The African Methodist Episcopal Church and American Indians (forthcoming)
James Engelhardt is an editor who, with calm insight and hearty encouragement, guides a writer into fashioning a book better than the one first brought to him. He does so with gentle respect for an author’s voice and vision.
Traveling with Service Animals: By Air, Road, Rail, and Ship across North America
I cannot recommend James Engelhardt highly enough as an editor. James saw my book manuscript through from its rough beginnings to its final product and was everything one could ask for in an editor: enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient yet persistent. He helped me clarify and formulate key ideas; tighten my writing and arguments; and provided expert advice as I navigated the final stages of copy editing, obtaining copyright permission for images and writing abstracts. His deep knowledge of the publishing industry and the fact that he is himself a published author made him an invaluable resource. James is both incredibly detailed oriented and able to see the big picture and he does so with great humor, enthusiasm, and deep respect for the writing process. He is simply a pleasure to work with. My book is so much better off for his critical support and intervention at each and every step of the process.
"It was up to All of us to Fight’: Women, Work, and Resistance in the Laundry Industry (forthcoming)
James is a consummate editor. His ability to read across many disciplines makes him an invaluable partner in the publication process. He takes the time to understand an author’s ideas through close reading, pointed questions, and compelling suggestions. He is a partner from manuscript to book, as any good editor should be.
Spoon River America: Edgar Lee Masters and the Myth of the American Small Town (forthcoming)
James and I worked in concert for nearly five years to bring to fruition the publication of my first book, Black Huntington: An Appalachian Story, with the University of Illinois Press. Throughout the various phases of the process—from dissertation to prospectus, from prospective to published work, and from book signings to conferences—James’ enthusiasm for and support of my work never wavered. His enthusiasm for my study and the unique contribution it would make to both Appalachian and Black Appalachian history greatly assisted me in overcoming my insecurity and anxiety regarding its rigor or appeal to a general audience.
Yet, his enthusiasm was not merely some fanciful expression. It was based on his years of experience as an editor, his extensive knowledge of the literary and historical work produced in the two fields, and his abiding Appalachian roots. It is these unique qualities that provided me the needed counsel and guidance to shepherd my book to completion. Given the well-received peer reviews Black Huntington has garnered, the arduous work seems to have paid off.
James possesses the technical expertise, aptitudes, experience, and, dare I say, Appalachian joie de vivre, to assist anyone to achieve success. These qualities forged a professional and personal relationship that abides today. And, it is these qualities that will make him an outstanding resource for others.
Black Huntington: An Appalachian Story
James came on board as my editor when my manuscript had advanced partway toward eventual acceptance for publication. He offered valuable assistance concerning both substantive revisions and the external review process, which had its surprises. Most importantly, James believed in the manuscript's value throughout, and that makes a world of difference to any author.
Disruption in Detroit: Autoworkers and the Elusive Postwar Boom
James patiently saw me through several drafts of my introduction and his guidance helped give me the clarity and courage to write the book that I wanted to write.
The World in a City: Multiethnic Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
From the first candid suggestions for revision to the last humorous email, James Engelhardt helped me rework a poetry manuscript into a book with logical divisions and a cohesive arc. With his guidance the book took on a form as complete and pleasing as any one of the individual poems. I count myself fortunate to have worked with such a smart and professional editor.
I Follow in the Dust She Raises
James Engelhardt is a brilliant editor. He takes the time to fully understand what you as an author are trying to argue and helps you to deliver that message through crisp prose. His thoughtfulness is unparalleled.
Death to Fascism: Louis Adamic's Fight for Democracy
My first book, Shelter from the Machine, came out this March. It was everything I had hoped for: a serious work of nonfiction published by a university press, but also written in a lively and accessible style. James played a crucial role, serving as mentor and guide through the entire process, from initial draft to final product. The first time I spoke with James was on the phone before I had written a single word, and I admitted I wasn’t quite sure how to build the book I had in mind. By the end of that call I had a good sense of where to begin—and knew I was in good hands. Especially for my first time through the process, I was incredibly fortunate to work with such a skilled, insightful, and supportive editor.