Books

Arroyo Grande author Jim Gregory named a finalist for international book award

How Arroyo Grande ended up with Civil War veterans

Author Jim Gregory explains how he came across the idea for his newest book, "Patriot Graves." The book traces the lives of Union soldiers from the Civil War to their journeys west to start new lives in Arroyo Grande.
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Author Jim Gregory explains how he came across the idea for his newest book, "Patriot Graves." The book traces the lives of Union soldiers from the Civil War to their journeys west to start new lives in Arroyo Grande.

Arroyo Grande author Jim Gregory’s latest book exploring the South County town’s close — yet somewhat unknown — ties to the Civil War is getting some international recognition.

Gregory’s “Patriot Graves: Discovering a California Town’s Civil War Heritage” has been named a finalist for the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, an international competition for independently published works. Gregory is a local historian and author of other nonfiction works including “World War II Arroyo Grande.”

The competition is the largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent authors and publishers, according to its website. It was established in 2008 to recognize and honor “the most exceptional independently published books in over 70 different categories,” and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group. The competition has been labeled “the Sundance” of the book publishing world.

“Patriot Graves” examines the exodus of both Union and Confederate soldiers to the West Coast, where many were instrumental in developing parts of California. (A fun tidbit from the book: Arroyo Grande High School owes some of its existence to the work of Erastus Fouch, a member of the 75th Ohio Infantry who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg.)

“I’m not going to say that they didn’t have struggles when they came out here,” Gregory said in a previous Tribune report. “But, man, if you just look at the families they raised and the descendants they left behind, it looks to me like a lot of them turned out pretty well. That’s something to be said for little old South County of San Luis Obispo.”

Gregory is currently working on his next book, “San Luis Obispo County Outlaws: Desperados, Vigilantes and Bootleggers,” which will examine some of the area’s most notorious and enigmatic criminals. He has also begun research for a separate work on the history of local aviation, with a focus on aviators during World War II.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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