Local bookstore holds book-signing for Dr. Samuel Hyde’s newest novel


Kennith Woods

Dr. Samuel Hyde signing a copy of “Rebel Bayou.” This book is now available at Bayou Booksellers in downtown Hammond.

A book signing for Dr. Samuel Hyde’s new book, “Rebel Bayou,” took place at Bayou Booksellers on Saturday afternoon.

Hyde is a history professor at Southeastern, the Leon Ford Endowed Chair and the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies (CSLS) director. He co-wrote the book with his wife, Dr. Sarah Hyde, a River Parishes Community College history professor. 

“Rebel Bayou” is a historical fiction novel based in the southeastern region of the United States following the Civil War. The book is being published by the University of Louisiana Lafayette Press (UL Press). 

The story’s main character, Ready Wright, lives along the Pearl River amid this tumultuous period. He finds comfort in Mollie Stansbury, a woman who lives in the same area. Together, they confront the challenges of the Deep South in order to “find elusive peace.” 

The Hydes have written multiple nonfiction books in the past detailing the racial and political history of the Pelican State. Samuel Hyde’s published works include “Pistols and Politics: The Dilemma of Democracy in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes, 1810-1899” and “A Wisconsin Yankee in Confederate Bayou Country: The Civil War Reminiscences of a Union General” according to his publications page

Sarah Hyde has written “Schooling in the Antebellum South: The Rise of Public and Private Education in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama,” according to lsupress.org

During the event, the Hydes discussed their purpose in writing this book. They wanted a story that would both “entertain and educate.” 

“We’ve had people for years asking us to write a book that they can actually read, that wasn’t full of statistical analysis and graphs and charts. We’ve taken all of our past research, and it’s actually all based on fact, but the main characters are fictional,” Samuel Hyde said.

Their goal of writing an entertaining and informative book has been a successful endeavor. Early reviews have been generally positive, including a review from Bradley G. Bond, a history professor from Northern Illinois University. Bond stated the fictional world the Hydes created “comes to life and with as much truth as any nonfiction author might hope to achieve.”  

Sarah Hyde commented on her experience writing fiction compared to writing nonfiction in the past.   

“Sam and I are both really well versed in the history of the region, we know that like the back of our hand. So, with that background knowledge, we were able to just start writing the narrative, and it just flowed quite easily. It was a lot more fun, honestly, than writing nonfiction,” she said.  

As a married couple, the writing process had its fair share of difficulties, according to the Hydes. Ultimately, though, they felt that working together was a fulfilling and meaningful experience. 

“There were days in which it was more difficult than others, but our writing style and our work ethic are pretty similar, so really, it was a fun project,” Sara Hyde said. She also talked about how their book gave them the opportunity to work together as historians, which is something that they don’t get to do often. 

“Having a project we could do together was really a lot of fun and a rewarding experience,” she explained. 

Samuel Hyde expressed a similar sentiment to his wife in writing together about history. 

“We did have some moments, especially at the end, where she came through raking out all my exclamation points,” he said. The pair laughed about their “editorial disagreements,” as Dr. Sarah Hyde described it. In the end, though, they “worked through them all and are happy with the final product,” according to him. 

Readers can find “Rebel Bayou” at Bayou Booksellers or online at UL Press’ website

For more information on the book or their other works, contact Dr. Samuel Hyde at [email protected] or call 985-549-2151. Readers can contact Dr. Sarah Hyde at [email protected] or call 225-748-8733.