April 2010 Civil War Book Notes

by James Durney on April 5, 2010 · 1 comment

Those that can’t write, Review!

April 2010

James Durney


“Say it ain’t so, Joe,”

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith is a “history” unknown until the author “stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln.  He became the first living person to lay eyes on this journal in more than 140 years.  Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.”

This is listed as number five on the bestseller list in the Sunday paper.  No doubt, this book will inspire a new generation of questions that will confound park historians for generations.


New in Stores

Long out of print, Jeffry Werts’ first book From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864 is being released as a Paperback. If you were not lucky enough to get the hardback here is your chance.  This is an excellent book and a valuable addition to your library.

Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State by Mark K. Christ”analyzes the campaign from military and political perspectives to show how events in 1863 affected the war on a larger scale. His lively narrative incorporates eyewitness accounts to tell how new Union strategy in the Trans-Mississippi theater enabled the capture of Little Rock, taking the state out of Confederate control for the rest of the war. He draws on rarely used primary sources to describe key engagements at the tactical level–particularly the battles at Arkansas Post, Helena, and Pine Bluff, which cumulatively marked a major turning point in the Trans-Mississippi.”

Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast Florida by Daniel L. Schafer is a history of the St. Johns River and the city of Jacksonville during the Civil War.

The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863: North America’s Largest Cavalry Battle part of The History Press’s sesquicentennial series on battles of the Civil War.  This 272-page book GPS guided tour of the battlefield with illustrations and maps by master cartographer Steven Stanley.

Yankee Warhorse: A Biography of Major General Peter J. Osterhaus by Mary Bobbitt Townsend “sets the record straight on this important Civil War general as it opens a new window on the war in the West”.


New Releases

April 2010

Release as paperbacks Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign by Lance J. Herdegen, Sickles at Gettysburg by James A. Hessler and Years of Change and Suffering by Jim Schmidt.

The audio supplement to The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest by J. David Petruzzi should be ready.  The author tells me this is much more than simply reading the book aloud.  The supplement covers some places, locales, and actions not in the printed Guide.  There will also be things in the Guide not covered in the audio tour.  The supplement will cover the June 26 actions, the main battlefield, the cavalry battlefields, etc., with many new and different spots along the way.  Savas Beatie is offering signed copies.

Steven Woodworth continues the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series with The Chickamauga Campaign. This volume will have essays by Alexander Mendoza, Timothy B. Smith, Dave Powell, Ethan S. Rafuse, Lee White and William Glenn Robertson.

Yes, it is alternate history and most do not read this.  However, the first one was great fun and the second is A Rainbow of Blood: The Union in Peril An Alternate History by Peter G. Tsouras continues the story started in Britannia’s Fist: From Civil War to World War: —An Alternate History.

May 2010

Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market by Charles R. Knight is 336 pages, 50 photos and illustrations, 9 original maps, and 8 appendices, with traditional footnotes,  covering the “complex prelude” and the battle.  The author is a former Historical Interpreter at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.

Look for a full-color hardcover edition of The Maps of Gettysburg by Bradley M. Gottfried bringing this book on par with the other books in the series.  For those that own the black-and-white version of The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 – July 13, 1863 by Bradley M. Gottfried, Savas Beatie’s coupon code MAPSCOLOR will give you $10.00 off the new edition and free shipping. Email sales@savasbeatie.com with the coupon code and they will let you know when the book is available.

Michael T. Bernath’s Confederate Minds: The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South is due on May 15.  This is part of the Civil War America series by the author of Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through His Private Letters.

Rusty Williams has written My Old Confederate Home: A Respectable Place for Civil War Veterans. This is the story of the Kentucky Confederate Home, a refuge in Pewee Valley for their unfortunate CSA veterans from 1902 until it closed in 1934.

Edwin Cole Bearss will publish Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg: The Battles That Changed the Civil War from National Geographic.

Lincoln and McClellan: The Troubled Partnership between a President and His General by John C. Waugh “is a tale of the hubris, paranoia, and eventual failure of George McClellan” that should reinforce the McClellan wrong Lincoln right school.

A new book by Kevin Dougherty STRANGLING THE CONFEDERACY: Coastal Operations in the American Civil War “examines the various naval actions and land incursions the Union waged from Virginia down the Atlantic Coast and through the Gulf of Mexico”.  This is not something we see a lot of and rates a look-see.

Reluctant Rebels The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861 by Kenneth W. Noe offers a nuanced view of men often cast as less patriotic and less committed to the cause.  He rekindles the debate over who these later enlistees were, why they joined, and why they stayed and fought.   Most of us know this author from his book Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle

June 2010

The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Volume 1: South Mountain is expected.  Thomas G. Clemens edited part of the Ezra Carman manuscript into a 576 pages, with 19 original maps, a photo gallery, and traditional footnotes covering the action leading up to Antietam.

William Marvel’s The Great Task Remaining: The Third Year of Lincoln’s War is scheduled for the 22nd.  The press release says “The Great Task Remaining is a striking, often poignant portrait of people balancing their own values—rather than ours—to determine whether the horrors attending Mr. Lincoln’s war were worth bearing in order to achieve his ultimate goals.”

At the Precipice Americans North and South during the Secession Crisis by Shearer Davis Bowman looks at how Americans, North and South, black and white, understood their interests, rights, and honor during the late antebellum years

Confederate Minds The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South by Michael T. Bernath looks at the fight to prove the distinctiveness of the Southern people and to legitimatize their desire for a separate national existence through the creation of a uniquely Southern literature and culture.

My Old Confederate Home A Respectable Place for Civil War Veterans by Rusty Williams is the story of the Kentucky Confederate Home, a luxurious refuge in Pewee Valley for their unfortunate comrades. Until it closed in 1934, the Home was a respectable if not always idyllic place for disabled and impoverished Confederate Veterans could spend their last days in comfort and free from want.

Scheduled for 2010 with an unavailable date

Joseph R. Reinhart expects German Hurrah!: Civil War Letters of Friedrich Bertsch and William Stängel, 9th Ohio Infantry to be out in the Spring.  The book contains 110 translated letters written by two fiery, highly opinionated German-born officers who fought in the Ninth Ohio Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. Published in two German-American newspapers, the letters helped connect German Americans in the Ohio Valley to their native landsmen at the battlefront.

Thunder Across the Swamps, the second book in the Louisiana Quadrille series, covering the war for the lower Mississippi from February to May 1863.

We can look forward to a complete history of the Iron Brigade from Lance J. Herdegen.  Those Damned Black Hats!, the Iron Brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign won The Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Operational Battle History.

Eric Wittenberg is working on a project is for The History Press entitled The Battle of Yellow Tavern: Jeb Stuart’s Last Battle. This will be a study of Phil Sheridan’s May 1864 raid on Richmond, with particular focus on the May 11, 1864 Battle of Yellow Tavern, where Jeb Stuart received his mortal wound.   The project after that is a book on the Revolutionary War Battle of Camden with Scott Patchan.

From Ten Roads Publishing we can expect:

Gettysburg Glimpses 2: More True Stories from the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott L. Mingus Sr. This is the fourth in a series of very popular books about human interest stories from Gettysburg, this installment offers more than 200 of the best anecdotes, amusing incidents, and funny stories from the Gettysburg Campaign.
Human Interest Stories from the Civil War by Scott L. Mingus Jr. and Dr. Thomas M. Mingus.  Similar in style and variety as the Gettysburg series by Scott L. Mingus Sr., this inaugural work by two professionally trained historians/educators contains some of the very best stories from the Civil War. Many have not been retold since the 19th century. Balanced between Union and Confederate accounts, this upcoming new book covers the gamut of the war from 1861 through 1865 with many very amusing true tales.

Jim Schmidt announced his next book Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory from the History Press.  This book will be the first book to incorporate the Notre Dame story into a comprehensive and unified narrative.

Savas Beatie has a two-volume set on The Petersburg Campaign, taken from a series of unpublished battle studies written by Ed Bearss, edited by Bryce Suderow in the works.  This has no publication date.

Sometime in the Fall, Savas Beatie has a Dave Powell book tentatively titled Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign.


Introducing The History Press Civil War Sesquicentennial Series

The History Press Civil War Sesquicentennial Series offers comprehensively researched, accessible accounts of important aspects of the war, some rarely covered outside the academic realm. The reader will have the opportunity to explore a range of engagements, from influential but lesser-known battles and campaigns to the local and regional impact of the war. Each book is crafted to appeal to Civil War enthusiasts as well as readers who may discover these stories of our nation’s history for the first time.

Doug Bostick, series editor, notes: “An important event like the Sesquicentennial provides a natural forum to examine the issues and battles of our nation’s greatest struggle. The History Press is committed to presenting our history in a manner that will inform and challenge the reader to understand the human drama and impact of this tumultuous time. This series will add immeasurably to the commemorations of these important historic anniversary events.”

With this series of concise, approachable books by renowned Civil War scholars, The History Press honors the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.

Titles released include:


Family News

We are an extended family not by blood but by our interest in the Civil War, this topic includes news of projects that might not be close to publication or even Civil War related.  However, all the people mentioned will be members of our ACW family.

  • Jim Schmidt is working on a book about Notre Dame in the Civil War.
  • Scott L. Mingus Sr. is working on a manuscript tentatively entitled Gettysburg’s Controversial Old Man: General and Governor William “Extra Billy” Smith of Virginia.
  • Anne Lowery is close to publishing, “Rumor Has It…” about a double homicide that happened in rural Ashland County, Ohio in 1974.  This is a book about two old farmers were killed because the rumor around town was that they had money stashed in their house. The Village of New London, Ohio had taken half of their farm via eminent domain in order to construct a water reservoir.  The book looks at the small town politics involved in finding a source for drinking water and settling on the reservoir and the three-ring circus that developed between the old time “fight change at any price” crowd vs. the elected officials of the village who were trying to solve a water crisis and ensure the future of the village.


Editor’s Note: Jim is a highly ranked reviewer of American Civil War histories on many book seller’s sites.

Check out Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online!

Check out Brett’s list of the Top 10 Civil War Blogs!

Read many Civil War Book Reviews here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog!

Did you enjoy this blog entry?  Subscribe to TOCWOC’s RSS feed today!

Please consider using the ShareThis feature below to spread the word.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dan April 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I wonder when Lesley Gordon, who’s given us a bio of Pickett and a history of the memory of Pickett’s Charge, will finally release her planned regimental for the 16th Connecticut.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: