This is worth getting up in the middle of the night to write about. With just 15 days to go to my release/signing party, Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans has gotten its first media notice.
OK, it was just in yesterday’s edition of the Suburban Journals’ internal newsletter, Working Together. Nonetheless, it’s a nice start to our media campaign.
They were kind enough to include a 300-word piece I wrote about the book. It included a note that the party will be from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 at Al Smith’s Feasting Fox restaurant.
Here’s the article, which is reprinted by permission:
Jim Merkel Launches New Book
I’ve always wanted to know more about my great-great grandfather, Louis Charles Merkel. He came to New York after 1848 to escape political turmoil in Germany and then to St. Louis in 1858, where he established a piano factory. A piano he made is in the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion in Benton Park.
These facts are enticing, but they don’t say much about how he lived in a new land.That’s why I was thrilled when Reedy Press asked me to write a book about the Germans of St. Louis.T hat book, Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, tells the remarkable story of the influence German-Americans like Louis Charles Merkel had on the Gateway City. It’ll be in bookstores in a week or two and is available through Amazon.com.The release/signing party is from 2-5 p.m. Sept. 16 at Al Smith’s Feasting Fox Restaurant, 4200 S. Grand Blvd.
Germans came to America before the Civil War to get away from poverty and political upheaval at a time when memories of Napoleon’s conquests of their land still were fresh. Thousands flooded St. Louis after an author named Gottfried Duden wrote that Missouri was a paradise. It was an exaggeration,, but Germans who came here nonetheless did well.
In 1860, German natives accounted for 50,000 of the 191,000 inhabitants of the rapidly-growing river city.They had their own newspapers, theaters, clubs and churches.After the assault on Fort Sumter, Germans provided troops for the engagement that guaranteed Missouri would stay in the Union.
After the Civil War, Germans brewed the beer, ran the ball team and were a force in city politics. Today, their inuence is clear in the number of streets and communities named for Germans and in the sizable number of descendants of German immigrants in the St. Louis area. St. Louis is, as much as anything, a German city. Louis Charles Merkel would be proud.