Getting to know C. L. Bragg

A great picture made by C. L. Bragg's wife, Kim! 

A great picture made by C. L. Bragg's wife, Kim! 

This Saturday, 2/25, from 2-4pm local author C. L. Bragg will be signing copies of his book, Martyr of the American Revolution. His book is a nonfiction account of the efforts of South Carolina militiamen playing an integral role in helping the Continental army keep hold of their state.  We have copies of his book available at the store for purchase, so make sure to grab a copy and talk to C. L. Bragg! 

1. I love history! I am also particularly interested in the American Revolution. What sparked your interest in learning and writing about history? 

CB: I’ve always, even as a young boy, been fascinated with our nation’s past. When one considers what a great country we live in (even with all of the current political turmoil, we are still the best country in the world) it has always amazed me that the concept of our government was somehow thought up “on the fly” by our Founding Fathers who were willing to risk their lives to make it happen. The American people have greatly benefited from their genius and a lot of good fortune. And since then we’ve had major upheavals (the Civil War and two world wars), but we’ve come through ok.

2. As a practicing anesthesiologist, how do you set aside time to write? What is your writing schedule like? 

CB: When my boys were little (they are grown now) I could write after their bed time, which was early, and on weekends. It got harder as they got older because their bedtimes became later and later. So finally it got to the point that I was using every spare moment. This is ok because now when I get a story in my head I become somewhat restless until I get it down “on paper,” or rather, on computer.

3. What draws you toward the history of the American South?  

CB: What draws me to the history of the American south is that so much of our southern story hasn’t been told. When the South lost the Civil War, the North took control of our country’s historical narrative and we were for the most part left out, at least until about the 1980s.

4. What is the hardest part about researching for your books? What is the most rewarding? 

CB: The hardest part is working with primary sources (original documents, for our readers), and the most rewarding is also working with primary sources.

What I mean is, the hardest part is ferreting out original documents that are not in repositories such as libraries or archives but are in private hands. But then some of the best stuff I’ve found literally came out-of-the woodwork and took me completely by surprise.  

5. What I love the most is discovering interesting and nuanced facts and stories that are usually overlooked or unknown. Such as, I was fascinated to learn that Thomas Paine built bridges! Are there any stories or facts that you've learned that you think are really cool? 

CB: That's a really good question. I found a marriage proposal from an old soldier to his daughter’s best friend that said, “Please take pity on my loneliness and say yes!” BTW, they were all adults, and the marriage between the old soldier and the younger woman lasted for decades. Another example: I came across a Revolutionary War letter in which the officer describes to his wife the warm welcome he received from his slaves when he returned home after the war. They were so happy to see him that he was actually moved to tears and wrote “I assure you I had to retire to the chamber several times to dry my eyes.” 

6. What are you currently reading? 

CB: Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Neil Hellegers.

The Politics of Taste in Antebellum Charleston by Maurie D. McInnis.

I just finished The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee.

- Maddie