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Anatomy of a Duel: an Interview with Stuart Sanders (2024)

This episode has mentions of violence of dueling, listener’s discretion is advised. 

Mariam sits down with Stuart Sanders to discuss his newest book, Anatomy of a Duel: Secession, Civil War, and the Evolution of Kentucky Violence. They talk about his role and artifacts at the Kentucky Historical Society, why dueling was so embraced in Kentucky (Henry Clay himself dueled more than once), and Stuart’s previous and upcoming projects. Stuart is the Director of Research and Publications for the Kentucky Historical Society and has written four other books exploring interpersonal violence in the Civil War Era.

Anatomy of a Duel: Secession, Civil War, and the Evolution of Kentucky Violence examines why white male Kentuckians engaged in the "honor culture" of duels and provides fascinating narratives that trace the lives of duelists. Stuart W. Sanders explores why, during a time when Americans were killing one another in open, brutal warfare, William T. Casto and Colonel Leonidas Metcalfe engaged in the process of negotiating and fighting a duel. The book is available for checkout at the Lexington Public Library and for purchase at your local bookstore.

During the episode, Stuart mentions a memento ring from a duel that is available to view online. You can see it at the Kentucky Historical Society’s online archive.

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Podcast Host and Producer

About The Hosts

Tales from the Kentucky Room is hosted by Mariam Addarrat and produced by Erin West.

Mariam is the Manager of Collection Services. She has worked at the Lexington Public Library since 2013, where she started as a Librarian at the Central Library. Currently, she’s enjoying listening to podcasts on history, cooking, parenting, and gardening.

Erin is the Virtual Services Librarian. She's worked for Lexington Public Library since 2003 and began her work with audio editing in 2012 while working at the Northside Branch. Erin enjoys listening to history, true crime and tv show recap podcasts.

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