By Jim Miles
It can be fun traveling in the footsteps of history. In fact there has been a recent upswing in “Heritage Tourism,” and with the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War quickly approaching I can only imagine the number of heritage tourists is only going to grow. Though guided tours are great, they are often prohibitively expensive for the average tourist. Besides, I would rather invest a small amount of money and buy a great guide book, follow the footprints of history at my own leisurely pace.
“The Civil War Explorer” is a terrific series of guidebooks written by Jim Miles published by Cumberland House Publishing of Nashville. Among the series’ titles is “Fields of Glory: A History and Tour Guide of the War in the West, The Atlanta Campaign, 1864,” which is currently in its second edition.
“Fields of Glory” traces the route of Sherman’s campaign and capture of Atlanta. Mr. Miles has broken the tour up into several easily manageable sections: Ringgold to Dalton, Tilton & Resaca, from Adairsville to Cassville, Cartersville to Pickett’s Mill, Kennesaw Mountain, from Roswell to Peach Tree Creek, and finally a tour of Atlanta and Jonesboro.
Introducing each section of the tour is a historical overview which puts the sites to which he will eventually guide his readers into their proper historical context. Once you climb in the car with Mr. Miles book as a guide (I highly recommend taking another person along with you to act as a navigator) there detailed turn by turn instructions to take you to the tour stops. Along the way, Mr. Miles has supplemented his text with several thumbnail, biographical sketches covering many of the most prominent players in the drama unfolding before you. Not only does Mr. Miles take his readers to all of the must see places, but also he takes them off the beaten path to see things that many casual tourists may miss.
Any one who buys Mr. Miles book is getting two tours for the price of one, as also covered in the book are many sites related to “The Great Locomotive Chase” detailed by Russell Bonds in his book “Stealing the General.”
Mr. Miles’ book serves as a great companion book to two other recent books about the Campaign and battles for Atlanta, “The Bonfire” by Marc Wortman and “War Like the Thunder Bolt,” another book by Russell Bonds.
“Fields of Glory” is a must have for every heritage tourist who finds him or herself in Northwestern Georgia. You can easily cover a section or two of the tour in a day, but if you would like to take the whole tour, and see everything, I would highly suggest scheduling a week of vacation, as you will most surely need it.
ISBN 1-58182-256-1, Cumberland House Publishing, © 2002, 10” x 8” Paperback, 240 pages, Photographs, Illustrations, Maps, Appendices, Bibliography & Index, $16.95
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