Dr. Paul Pressly knows his Georgia history.

He retired from his position as head of Savannah Country Day School in 2004 to focus on his passion for history and was appointed director of the Ossabaw Island Education Alliance in 2005.

And in his spare time, he wrote "On the Rim of the Caribbean: Colonial Georgia and the British Atlantic World," which provides evidence that Savannah developed as a Caribbean town.

His extensive research also proves colonial Georgia followed the West Indian model of economic development pursuing slavery and plantations - ideas which had not been previously written about by historians.

"This is a talk that really changes the way we look at Georgia history, especially before the Revolution," Pressly said. "You have to look East to the Atlantic and south to the Caribbean to understand Georgia's identity in the 18th century."

Pressly's research is groundbreaking because he doesn't view Georgia as an extension of the Carolinas. The author shines the light on Georgia's role as a trade colony in the British Atlantic, which, according to Pressly, most likely explains why Georgia was slow to embrace the revolution in 1775.

Pressly said he is surprised by the interest scholars and historians have shown in his book since its March release.

"There is a deep interest in the book and sales in England have been really great," he said. "So much depends on coming up on a big idea, and my book hits a very critical spot about how history evolves.

"I thought it would be 15 minutes of fame and now I have 16 minutes of fame. ... It's been a lot of fun."

Pressly will present his research and discuss his book at the Savannah Book Festival's main day on Feb. 15 in the Jepson Center's Neises Auditorium.

"A theme I am going to emphasize is about what makes the Georgia Lowcountry different from South Carolina and the Carolinas," he said. "They are similar, but it's interesting to look at what makes them different."

Pressly's presentation will include a lecture about his research and a PowerPoint presentation of 18th-century images and maps which he says will shed light on Savannah's rivalry with Charleston - a rivalry he said still continues today.