“A fascinating, well-researched and long overdue biography of the Virginia Military Institute’s most unheralded founder and underappreciated champion of educational reform.”
̶ Dr. Bradford A. Wineman, Marine Corps University
Read more about Randolph Shaffner on his website.
"This is a fascinating and extremely readable book, deeply researched but never pedantic. It presents a thorough and persuasive defense of Col. Preston’s unique role in the founding and preservation of V.M.I. and paints a vivid and often surprising picture not only of this one eccentric, determined reformer—schoolmate of Edgar Allan Poe and brother-in-law of Stonewall Jackson—and his family, but also of Virginia society before, during, and after the Civil War."
̶ J J. B. McAfee, Richmond, Virginia
"This biography from McFarland Publishing has the type of massive bibliography and expansive scholarly documentation seen in quality original works. I can't say I am familiar with this particular fellow (Civil War readers encounter a lot of Prestons), but, as the title indicates, he was a key figure in the institutional development of VMI. Preston and Stonewall Jackson both married Junkin sisters, and the professor would also serve on Jackson's staff during the war."
–"New Arrivals," Booknotes IV, Oct. 11, 2014, by Drew at Civil War Books and Authors