Book Purchases: August 2006

I managed to pick up an interesting though smaller list of books last month.  These range from fiction, to biography and semi-biography, to a tour guide, and finally to my typical battle and campaign studies.  I am particularly excited to finally get my hands on Forrest at Brice’s Crossroads for a good price.  I’ve already read Eric Wittenberg’s book on Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, and I’ll have a review up within the next few weeks.
David Detzer. Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861. Harcourt (September 1, 2004).
I have heard both good (possibly the best narrative of the battle) and bad (no maps) things about this one, and I’ve got several other studies of First Bull Run, but I’ve remained intrigued by this title.  I’ve purchased this one for a reasonable price and I’ll give it a look despite the complete lack of maps, which to me still seems to be an incredible shortcoming.
Jack Coombe. Gunfire Around the Gulf: The Last Major Naval Campaigns of the Civil War. Bantam (August 17, 1999).
This was a blind eBay buy, and it appears that this one might be a mistake.  The Amazon reviews are harsh, and amazon is unfortunately well known as a web site which routinely seeks to erase too many bad reviews.  I have only a few books on the naval aspects of the war, so the bad reviews are disappointing.  I’m going into this with an open mind, but I do not expect much.
Clint Johnson. Touring the Carolina’s Civil War Sites (Touring the Backroads Series). John F. Blair Publisher (April 1996).
Happily, this is another blind eBay buy that turned out quite well.  As the title indicates, this one is a tour guide of some of the prominent and not so prominent Civil War related sites in North and South Carolina.
Stephen Crane. The Red Badge of Courage.
I’m not at home at the moment so I can’t tell you exactly which edition of this classic I have, but not much needs to be said about Stephen Crane’s fictionalized account of one man’s fight (in an account loosely based on the battle of Chancellorsville).  I’ve seen the movie, but incredibly I’ve never read the book.  I look forward to this one in the same way as a horror fan I looked forward to reading Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula when I first purchased it.
Ethan Sepp Rafuse. McClellan’s War: The Failure Of Moderation In The Struggle For The Union. Indiana University Press (June 2005).
McClellan has long been painted in a very unfavorable light, but some recent scholarship has suggested a bit of a reversal of this trend.  McClellan seems to be a polarizing figure.  Most people seem to either love the man or hate him.  I have tried to keep an open mind, but reading Sears’ portrayal (negative) and reading Dimitri Rotov’s portrayal (positive) makes me wonder sometimes if I am reading about the same person!  Guest blogger Johnny Whitewater has already taken the time on this blog to discuss McClellan’s War in a multi-part blog entry.  I encourage you to check it out, as I may not get around to reading the book for quite some time.
Stephen W. Sears. Controversies & Commanders: Dispatches From Army Of The Potomac. Houghton Mifflin (February 25, 1999).
Controversies & Commanders is a set of essays by Stephen Sears concerning the generals of the Union’s foremost army and some of the controversial situations that occurred during its existence.  I managed to find a nice hardback copy in excellent condition.
Patrick Abbazia. Chickamauga Campaign: Great Military Campaigns of History (The Great Military Campaigns of History). Gallery Books (November 1988).
Abbazia wrote the Chickamauga volume in “The Great Military Campaigns of History” series, and I bought the book more to come closer to completing my set of these books rather than learn more about the battle.  Peter Cozzens’ work is the definitive study of that battle if you do happen to be looking for an exhaustive study.  This set is a great way to introduce newcomers to the study of the Civil War.  Numerous sidebars cover some of the main leaders, units, events, and other items dealing with a given battle.
Eric J. Wittenberg. Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions. Thomas Publications (PA); 1st edition (January 1998).
I already read this one and I should have a review out shortly, so I’ll save any discussion for that blog entry.
Stephen A. Townsend. The Yankee Invasion of Texas. Texas A&M University Press (March 20, 2006).
In what is rapidly becoming a trend, I first learned of this book at Drew Wagenhoffer’s Civil War Books and Authors blog.  This book covers the attempts of the Federal Army of the Gulf to gain toeholds in the Lone Star state, specifically dealing with the Rio Grande Expedition of late 1863.  I believe that it will provide a fine complement to David Edmonds’ book Yankee Autumn in Acadiana, covering the failed Great Texas Overland Expedition of the same time period.
Jeffry D. Wert. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier – A Biography. Simon + Schuster Pub. (1993).
I’ve only recently become interested in biographies of Civil War personalities, and Wert’s book on Longstreet (hardback sans dustjacket) showed up for an incredibly good price on eBay.  Needless to say, I picked it up and look forward to reading about one of the Confederacy’s most controversial leaders.

Edwin Bearss. Forrest at Brice’s Crossroads and in North Mississippi in 1864. Morningside Bookshop (August 1987).
I’ve wanted this book for a long time both because I am a big fan of Ed Bearss and also because I do not yet have anything covering Brice’s Crossroads.  I was pleased to find a book in brand new condition recently, and I am eagerly looking forward to reading this one.


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