Skip to content

Blue & Gray Magazine Ceases Publication

I had just turned 30 when my late wife Robin and I launched the premiere issue of Blue & Gray. That was more than a third of a century ago. Then, a few years ago, as I entered my 60s, folks started asking about an exit strategy. Did I have one? My answer was no, I don’t. I will continue publishing Blue & Gray until someone tells me to stop. Well, that time has come.

The handwriting is on the wall. After the Civil War Sesquicentennial the subscriber base has declined to the point we can no longer afford to pay the printer and the post office, the costs of preparing the driving tour — which is the hallmark of the publication — and rising health care costs. Furthermore, our book business, which helped support our publishing efforts through the years, has all but disappeared with the advent of online discount booksellers, against which we simply can not compete. The staff at Blue & Gray headquarters for most of the last decade has consisted of just two people — my son Jason and me.

While there will be no more issues of Blue & Gray, we will continue to maintain the website. We are also exploring ways to convert unfulfilled subscriptions into credits that can be used for back issues and our book titles, while supplies last. So, continue to visit the website for updates.

This has been a very difficult letter for me to write. Since you’ve gotten used to me signing myself “The General” at the end of every driving tour, I’ll quote a real general, one who faced a far more difficult decision, and bid you all an affectionate farewell.

d roth sig

67 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris Shelton #

    I just received an email stating that the last issue, on The Wilderness, will be available to subscribers as a digital download. I’ve been wanting to see a treatment go that battle for years. I’m just wondering what it would take to see a hard copy produced – if the spirit is willing.

    Like

    June 30, 2017
  2. Charlie Downs #

    Blue & Gray is the best! So sorry to see you have to cease operations. I bought my first copy while doing a tour of Manassas with Ranger Hank Elliott in 2011 and bought a copy of the First Manassas issue in the book store and have been a subscriber since. I just ordered several back issues and one day hope to have them all if I can find them at a reasonable price. I will definitely miss Blue & Gray, but it was a great run. Dave, hope you enjoy retirement and Jason, I wish you the best of luck in you endeavors.

    Like

    July 5, 2017
  3. Greg Sweatt #

    Wow! Just read the news today about Blue & Gray to cease publication. As a charter and continuous subscriber (starting back in the “old days”) I am sad to see the the end come. I was only a few years older than Dave Roth when the magazine was launched. Oh, how the years fly.
    Best to all at Blue & Gray in the years to come.
    Greg Sweatt
    July 10, 2017

    Like

    July 10, 2017
  4. Lawrence Nothdurft #

    As a charter subscriber this just kills me. I enjoyed the magazine so much…….

    Like

    July 11, 2017
  5. Brian Sandor #

    I just found out. I’m very sorry to see BG end, but its very understandable. Thank you for everyone of these great issues.

    Like

    July 20, 2017
  6. Paul Whitmore #

    Sorry to hear this! B&G was my favorite CW magazine. You’ll be missed, but I thank you for your New Market issue.

    Like

    July 26, 2017
  7. Troy Rhodes #

    Sorry to hear the magazine is ending. I really enjoyed it! Thanks to you and the BG staff for doing such a fine job for all these years. Best wishes to you all in your future endeavors.

    Troy Rhodes

    Jacksonville, Fla

    Like

    August 2, 2017
  8. Glenn Pitts #

    Dave, I’ve got every issue.
    I never subscribed because I wanted to ‘hand pick’ my issues at the newsstand and avoid possible damage in the mail.
    Sure, I had to buy a couple on Ebay and from you directly once I believe, but otherwise, I hand selected each issue.
    I wrote my own MicroSoft Access database application to catalog every issue so I could use my PC to search for any subject or individual and immediately identify each vol & issue the topic was in too. (Beats searching by hand)
    I will miss Blue & Gray – the definitive WBTS publication.

    Like

    August 6, 2017
    • Chris Shelton #

      Glenn,

      I don’t know a lot about the magazine business (other than it’s headed downhill), but I’m pretty sure that the more subscribers they have, the better off they are – especially with regards to what they can charge for advertisements within said magazine. I’d think that a company is more willing to advertise if they see that the magazine has a larger base of subscribers. It sounds B & G may still be going if they’d gotten more circulation.

      I hope the next time that you find a magazine you like, you will actually subscribe to it. And if you get a few issues/topics that you don’t care for as much, GIVE them away.

      Like

      August 7, 2017
      • Chris Shelton #

        And as for possible damage to your magazine, B & G always came delivered in a plastic sleeve. I’ve subscribed for years and never once did I get a seriously damaged issue – just slightly creased due to an overzealous postal worker. And if one had been damaged, I’m sure B & G would have replaced it free of charge.

        Like

        August 7, 2017
  9. James Reilly ( no relation to artillery NC regiment) #

    Keep my money for the enjoyment 6x per year was worth every penny. Sorry to read this.

    Like

    August 9, 2017
  10. James Reilly #

    Your Blue and Grey was the best publication in my lifetime. It was the best early morning read before work of all time. I will miss my 6X times per year but alas I have kept almost every copy since hmmmm 1991 or 1992 ? Don’t sweat the money if I have any left, use it for whatever expense comes your way.

    Like

    August 9, 2017
  11. Larry Meier #

    So sorry but truly understand. You unselfishly put out the finest. Thank you.

    Like

    August 12, 2017
  12. I just came across this and am very sorry to hear the news. As an on and off subscriber over the last few years, this makes me wish I’d have been more supportive. Your publication stayed focused and was refreshing as so many others have veered into the social history genre. Your magazine was an excellent one and, unfortunately, a casualty of our times. In addition to the reasons you stated, I also believe part of the reason for declining interest in publications like yours is the dismal state of history education in the United States. With the focus on politics and social issues, rather than soldiers, military leaders and battles, lots of potential subscribers aren’t interested in learning about the more traditional aspects of Civil War history. We see this reflected in the current maelstrom over Confederate symbolism and monuments. One CW publication even went to far as to recently give a platform to a “historian” advocating for not just removal, but actual destruction of these monuments. Another CW blogger is suggesting Confederate monuments be removed from Gettysburg. When you see that kind of focus coming from ostensibly credible quarters, it drives potential students of the CW (and subscribers) away.

    It is truly a sad state of affairs. I wish you and yours the best in future endeavors.

    Like

    August 16, 2017
  13. Captain Dave Sulin #

    Dave, I have been with you from the start and cannot thank you enough for your efforts to educate those of us who have an interest in all things Civil War. Your “tours” have been eye opening experiences as I have followed the directions given and read with interest the sort of “rest of the story” interpretation of events. You have accomplished much to be proud of and I know that there are many others like me who will be carrying dog eared copies of Blue & Gray with us for years to come as we traipse around battlefield sites trying to get a better handle on the action. Thanks again for doing such a great job for as long as you did. Your publication will be sorely missed, believe me!

    Like

    August 16, 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: