New Military History Reading Challenge: TOCWOC’s Selections

by Brett Schulte on July 29, 2008 · 1 comment

Strategist’s Personal Library is hosting a new “Military history reading challenge“.  The idea is for bloggers to choose three military history books to read and link back to the original post over at SPL.  The end result will be a large selection of books on various military history topics for people to read.  I had planned to move away from the Civil War for the contest, but since I’ll be posting my reviews at TOCWOC, I’ll stick with what I know best.  The three books I’ve chosen are listed below along with what I know of each at the moment.

  1. Unfurl Those Colors!: McClellan, Sumner, and the Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion V. Armstrong
  2. Armstrong’s book is about exactly what the title and subtitle imply it is, Edwin V. Sumner’s veteran II Corps, Army of the Potomac and their experiences during the Maryland Campaign of 1862. I’m about halfway through this one, and it is true to its word. Armstrong’s aim is to rehabilitate the reputation of Sumner, shattered when that general led Sedgwick’s II Corps division to a slaughter in the West Woods.  The early chapters are a must-read for those new to tactics on the Civil War battlefield.  For that reason alone, I would already recommend the book as a good one for those looking into reading detailed tactical Civil War history for the first time.  The full page graphics showing various formations of Civil War infantry regimens and artillery batteries are sure to please.

  3. The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged by D.W. Reed
  4. I know very little about this one other than that veteran students of the Battle of Shiloh rave about the book.  This is a reprint of the orginal book, first published in 1902.  Here is the publisher’s blurb:

    Originally published in 1902 by the Government Printing Office (and revised and reprinted in 1909 and 1913), The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged was the official park commission history of this important battle and remains a seminal work on the subject. Although the book is the cornerstone of Shiloh historiography and is extensively cited by serious historians, the original edition is not widely available today. Timothy B. Smith redresses this problem with this new reprint of the 1913 edition for which he has written an introduction that places the important work in historical context.

    Written by D. W. Reed, a veteran of the battle and the first official historian of the Shiloh National Military Park, The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged provides a succinct and authoritative overview of the battle. In addition to a narrative of the campaign, Reed describes the units engaged and the movements of every brigade. In addition, he includes numerous tables of strengths and losses for the armies as well as remarkably detailed maps and diagrams showing the action as it unfolded. These spectacular color maps are accessible in an enclosed CD in a PDF format. The net result is a compact yet detailed view of Shiloh unmatched anywhere else.

    Even a century after its first publication, this book stands as one of the most dependable, concise, and important works on the Battle of Shiloh. This new edition makes this work accessible once again.

    D. W. Reed was a veteran of the Battle of Shiloh and the first historian of the Shiloh National Military Park.

    Timothy B. Smith is the author of This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park and The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield. He was a park ranger at the Shiloh National Military Park before accepting a teaching position at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

  5. One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 by Eric J. Wittenberg, J. David Petruzzi, and Michael F. Nugent
  6. Fellow bloggers Eric Wittenberg and J.D. Petruzzi (along with Michael Nugent) have produced a tactical history of the Confederate Retreat from Gettysburg.  This is a Savas-Beatie book and one I’m eagerly looking forward to reading.  I’ll be curious to see how it compares to Kent Masterson Brown’s book Retreat from Gettysburg.

I encourage my fellow Civil War bloggers to take up the challenge as well. The three books need to be read by November 11 (Veterans Day here in the U.S. and Armistice Day to Europe), so get your reading glasses on and get busy!


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jmnlman July 29, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Thanks again for participating.

Reply

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