Simon Read has a gift for bringing the past to life in a vibrant and compelling fashion. I’ve been reading his latest book, War of Words, for the past few days and, as a result, have been engulfed in the seedy world of San Francisco’s newspaper circulation wars circa 1865. What’s more, Read’s research brings such a high level of detail to the narrative that I have to brush the nineteenth century dust from my clothes every time I put the book down. Just skimming through his bibliography and source notes is an education in itself on how much time and effort goes into researching a work of historical nonfiction. In short, it’s an excellent book — and Read is giving a copy away for free on his blog! All you have to do is drop by, make a comment in response to the “Win a Signed Copy” post, and you’ll be in the drawing.