Cune Press was founded in May, 1994, to explore innovative ways of bringing superior writing to public attention. We are a press. Our name is derived from “cunieform.” (In Latin cuni means “wedge.”)
The founders include Scott C. Davis, a freelance writer who was a conscientious objector during Vietnam and served as a social worker in Fulton, an old, working class neighborhood of Richmond, Va. After the Civil war, recently freed slaves came to Fulton make a statement: took jobs with the B&O Railroad, began to make payments on their own homes, and joined Mt Zion Baptist, Calvary Temple, and other churches. Their disciplined lives were their "art" and were also a political statement. Davis published The World of Patience Gromes: Making and Unmaking a Black Community with the University Press of Kentucky (Cune). In 1987, looking for a new writing project, he had traveled alone in a Syria that was still recovering from the massacre in Hama, five years earlier. His book The Road from Damascus: A Journey Through Syria was the first travelogue by an American in Syria for over a century (Cune).
Dr Mamoun Sakkal is a licensed architect, a PhD in Middle East history, a world class calligrapher who has won international competitions in the Kufic style Arabic script, and a typeface designer who works for Adobe and Microsoft. Sakkal also creates exquisite art that begins with calligraphy using a traditional brush and ink (www.sakkal.com). Sakkal was born in Aleppo in northern Syria.
Steven Schlesser is a sincere conservative of a pragmatic orientation, who loves history - especially British history. His first book - The Soldier, the Builder & the Diplomat - explores Custer, the Titanic, and World War I. It grew out of his studies on the problem of avoidable failure: what happens when human character flaws overwhelm reason, good sense, and technology. Schlesser explores the ways that the international safeguards to prevent war in 1914 were no more effective than the advanced technical design that supposedly made the Titanic unsinkable. Custer, as Schlesser narrates, could have obeyed orders from the chain of command and waited "for the cavlary" (ie. the large force a few days behind him). But he rushed into battle - hoping to make headlines that would fuel his political career, specifically his bid for presisdent later that year. (Steve's book is available from Cune.)
In the ancient Near East the development of cuneiform script—simpler and more adaptable than hieroglyphics — enabled a large class of merchants and landowners to become literate. Clay tablets inscribed with wedged-shaped stylus marks made possible a broad intermeshing of individual efforts in trade and commerce. Cuneiform allowed scholarship to exist, art to flower, and created what some commentators define as the world's first civilization. When the Phoenicians developed their sound-based alphabet, they expressed it in cuneiform.
The idea of Cune is the democratization of learning, the faith that rarefied ideas—pulled from their pedestals and displayed in the streets—can transform the lives of ordinary people. And it is the conviction that ordinary people, trusted with the most precious gifts of civilization, will give our culture elasticity and depth—a necessity if we are to survive in a time of rapid change.