May 2011 Civil War Book Notes

by James Durney on May 6, 2011 · 0 comments

Those that can’t write, Review!

May 2011

James W. Durney

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My “to read” list

Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War by Gail Stephens looks at one of the more interesting Union generals.

A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee Triumph, 1862-1863 by Jeffery Wert looks at why the AoNV almost won the war from The 7 Days to Gettysburg.

Shifting Loyalties: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina by Judkin Browning looks at the impact occupation had on this region during the war and during Reconstruction.

Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War by Stanley Harrod looks at “the troubles” that existed where Slave and Free States touched.

Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball is the account of one man’s experiences in the Trans-Mississippi.  Ball and his wife were on the same side of the Mississippi River, allowing us to see the entire war through his eyes.

Civil War Voices from York County, Pennsylvania: Remembering the Rebellion and the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott L. Mingus Sr. and James McClure contains the rich oral tradition coupled with letters, diaries, photographs and newspaper accounts to tell the stories of York in those bleak days 150 years ago.

Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War is an adaption of the popular the Century magazine series published from 1884 to 1887

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Book News

James I. “Bud” Robertson Jr. a renowned expert on America’s Civil War will retire in spring 2011 after 43 years in the classroom.  President John F. Kennedy tapped Robertson to serve as executive director of the national commission of the Civil War Centennial in 1961. JFK riled by the nearly warring factions that wanted to celebrate with trinkets rather than commemorate with dignity. Robertson took up the reins of a nation still divided and worked with 34 state and 100 local centennial commissions, all amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement.

The author and editor dozens of books, his seminal work is a 957-page volume on Stonewall Jackson, which took five years to research and two to write. It won eight national awards. In October 2011, National Geographic is publishing The Untold Civil War, an amalgamation of Robertson’s radio broadcasts with an expanded expose of the human experience of the war, told in Robertson’s style and accompanied by National Geographic’s photography.

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner is the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for History.  This is an excellent choice for History.

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New Releases

In the stores

A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee Triumph, 1862-1863 by Jeffery Wert looks at why the AoNV almost won the war from The 7 Days to Gettysburg.

At 1,280 pages, Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War requires some heavy lifting.  The book is an adaption of the popular the Century magazine series published from 1884 to 1887.  James M. McPherson, James L. Robertson Jr., Stephen W. Sears, Craig L. Symonds and Harold Holzer are the editors.

The Union War by Gary W. Gallagher looks at the importance of the idea of Union to the North and how this motivated them throughout the war.

The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union by John and Charles Lockwood offer a heart pounding, minute-by-minute account of the twelve days from April 14 to 25, 1861. The fall of Washington would have been a disaster: it would have crippled the federal government, left the remaining Northern states in disarray, and almost certainly triggered the secession of Maryland.

Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia by Brian D. McKnight takes a careful look the complexity of this legendary character executed for his role in murdering fifty-three loyal citizens of Kentucky and Tennessee during the Civil War.

1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart is the object of an intense advertising campaign.  The author, a columnist for the New York Times, is a frequent contributor to magazines.  This is his first Civil War book.  Professional reviews are excellent, see NPR and Facebook.  Amazon reviews are mixed.  You might want to look this book over prior to purchasing it.

May 2011

Defeating Lee: A History of the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac by Lawrence A. Kreiser Jr. follows the unit’s creation and rise to prominence, the battles that earned it a reputation for hard fighting, and the legacy its veterans sought to maintain in the years after the Civil War.

The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic by Barbara Gannon.  This book challenges the conventional view that white Union veterans did not defend the freedoms and interests of African American veterans after the war.

A new author joins our ranks this month, Anthony Gaughan’s The Last Battle of the Civil War: United States Versus Lee, 1861-1883 is due from LSU.  This book looks at the battle over the estate that became Arlington National Cemetery.

Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America by James Marten looks at “army veterans reentered–or struggled to reenter–the lives and communities they had left behind.”  We have very little of this type of information about “good wars” and this should be a valuable addition to what we have.

The Enemy Within: Fears of Corruption in the Civil War North by Michael Thomas Smith looks a corruption and the fear of corruption during the war.  More than a few people did things that looked or were dishonest.

The Dogs of War: 1861 by Emory M. Thomas covers the delusions that dominated each side’s thinking as America went to war.

Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story by Paul Petersen looks at this raid. The press release talks about the “legacy of lies” that surrounded the stories of the raid.”

June 2011

Eric Wittenberg’s Protecting the Flanks: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863 is a new edition with a new map, additional illustrations, two new appendices, and other material.  This long out of print book is under $20 and needs to be available at a reasonable price.  In 1998, this book won the Bachelder-Coddington Award for the year’s best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg.

The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley is part of the Savas Beatie Handbook series is a compilation of Gettysburg Campaign statistics, tables, discussions, controversies.  There are Orders of Battle for every skirmish and battle during the campaign from June 6 through July 14.

Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee by Joseph Glatthaar is a “companion to his narrative history, General Lee’s Army

A Little Short of Boats: The Civil War Battles of Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21 – 22, 1861 published by Savas Beatie is a fully revised and expanded sesquicentennial edition of James Morgan’s excellent book.

The Enemy Within: Fears of Corruption in the Civil War North by Michael Thomas Smith has nothing but the title in terms of a press release.

The Civil War in the East: Struggle, Stalemate, and Victory by Brooks D. Simpson offers “a more integrated interpretation of military operations that shows how politics, public perception, geography, and logistics shaped the course of military operations in the East.”

At over 1,000 pages, Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire: Britian’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War is going to be worth looking at.  This will be on Kindle and as an audio book the same day.

The Civil War in the East: Struggle, Stalemate, and Victory by Brooks D. Simpson is a “more integrated interpretation of military operations that shows how politics, public perception, geography, and logistics shaped the course of military operations in the East.”  This is a very tall order for 200 pages.

Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David S. Reynolds is not technically a “Civil War” study but none of will dispute the impact this book had.

July 2011

Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge by Scott C. Patchan.  John Hennessey writes the introduction for this history of Longstreet’s decisive attack.

Thunder Across the Swamps: The Fight for the Lower Mississippi, February-May 1863, the second book in the Louisiana Quadrille series.  The first book in the series won the Laney Prize.  This excellent series is highly recommended.  Publication date is the 28th.

Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West by Steven E. Woodworth covering all the major western campaigns with their contribution to the Union’s victory will be available as a paperback.

The Greatest Brigade: How the Irish Brigade Cleared the Way to Victory in the American Civil War by Thomas J. Craughwell has a press release that sounds like Thomas Francis Meagher wrote it.

August 2011

The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 – September 19, 1864 by Scott Patchan is the newest book from an author that is an expert in this area.

The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley is the companion to The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook contains 24 original maps and 48 photos.  Each action will have a narrative of the action, order of battle and casualties for every unit involved in the action.  The Order of Battle for Gettysburg itself (July 1, 2 and 3) will be broken down by days and geographically by actions on particular parts of the field.

Abraham Lincoln and the Struggle for Command: Civil-Military Relations During the American Civil War by Charles Hubbard.

SECOND DAY AT GETTYSBURG, THE: The Attack and Defense of the Union Center on Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863 by David Shultz & David Wieck expands on their excellent The Battle Between the Farm Lanes. Completely revised and expanded study includes new photographs, original maps, and a self-guided tour of the fighting.

September 2011

American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era by David W. Blight looks at how America remembered the Civil War during the centennial and looks at the “ever-changing nature of Civil War memory”.

In the Lion’s Mouth: Hood’s Tragic Retreat from Nashville, 1864 by Derek Smith covers the 12-day, 100-mile retreat after their defeat at the Battle of Nashville.

Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.

October 2011

Shadows of Antietam by Robert Kalasky is a comprehensive study of the 74 known glass plates recorded by Gardner and Gibson at Antietam.

The Body of John Merryman: Abraham Lincoln and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus by Brain McGinty is the first book-length examination of this much-misunderstood chapter in American history.

November 2011

A book Mark Neely dealing with how the U.S. Constitution and the Confederate Constitution, shaped the struggle for national survival must be looked at.  Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War is that book.

William Marvel completes his multiple volume history of the war in November with Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln’s War. This series is billed as “Revisionist history at its best”.

Unavailable Dates

The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Volume 2: Antietam edited by Thomas G. Clemens is the second part of the Ezra Carman manuscript, covering the battle has no publication date.

Steve Stanley and J. David Petruzzi are hard at work on The Complete Antietam Campaign Guide.  Antietam Chief Historian Ted Alexander is penning the Forward.  The book will be similar in format to their The Complete Gettysburg Guide. This book will feature Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, and Shepherdstown plus many points in between.

Look for a Stonewall Jackson biography by Ethan Rafuse as part of the Greenwood Press biographies series.  Later this year, he is contributing an essay to Woodworth’s Chattanooga Campaign study.  In 2012, look for an Army War College guide for Richmond-Petersburg co-authored with Charles R. Bowery Jr.

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 is mortally wounded.   In addition, he is writing a study of the Battle of White Sulphur Springs, August 26-27, 1863, for publication by The History Press.  In addition, we can look forward to a book on the August 1863 Law Book Raid, which led to the August 26-27, 1863 Battle of White Sulphur Springs.

James M. Schmidt is doing a book for The History Press, tentatively titled Galveston and the Civil War: An Island People in the Maelstrom scheduled for mid- to late 2012.

A complete history of the Iron Brigade from Lance J. Herdegen is in the works.    His Those Damned Black Hats!, the Iron Brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign won The Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Operational Battle History.

Savas Beatie is busy with 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.  They have an option to publish Scott L. Mingus, Sr.’s next book Gettysburg’s Controversial Old General: Governor William “Extra Billy” Smith of Virginia.

Campaign Chattanooga edited by Steven Woodworth is the next book in the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series

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Civil War Sesquicentennial Publications

In an effort to support sesquicentennial publishing this will be part of this column through 2015.  If you know of a book, please contact me so it can be included.

York County, Pennsylvania

Civil War Voices from York County, Pennsylvania: Remembering the Rebellion and the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott L. Mingus Sr. and James McClure contains the rich oral tradition coupled with letters, diaries, photographs and newspaper accounts to tell the stories of York in those bleak days 150 years ago. They give a vibrant voice to those living, serving and dying in this most tumultuous period in America’s history.

Adams County-based Colecraft Industries published the book.

The authors coordinated the project with the Pennsylvania Civil War 150, the York County Heritage Trust and the York Daily Record/Sunday News.

Contact: Scott Mingus, scottmingus@yahoo.com.

New Jersey

New Jersey Goes to War edited by Joseph G. Bilby is part of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial and contains 150 biographies of New Jersey citizens that lived during the war.  This book can be read either as a series of short bios or as a book.  Either way, it is informative and enjoyable.  Only available from www.njcivilwar150.org 100% of the purchase price goes to support the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial.  All those involved contributed their time and contributions paid for printing.

Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage, by Steven D. Glazer, is the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee’s latest publication. The 62-page, 8 1/2-by-11-inch-format book serves as a comprehensive and up-to-date manual for those wishing to research the stories of their own community’s Civil War veterans. It will appeal to a wide range of readers, including local historians, educators, genealogists, grant writers and journalists.

Virginia

Lists the book America on the Eve of the Civil War edited by Edward L. Ayers and Carolyn R. Martin, as 160-page book with four black & white photos.

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Camp Pope Publishing

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

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