July 2008 Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

July 2008

James Durney


Book News

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 from Savas Beatie is available. The authors have been doing book signings and a review is posted on Amazon.com. This book covers the military aspects of the retreat from Gettysburg. Read the book coupled with the fine Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign by Kent Masterson Brown published in 2005 for a very complete view of this operation.

Amazon.com has the long awaited MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT E RODES OF THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA: A Biography by Darrell L Collins listed for July. The May Savas Beatie Newsletter has the book listed for late June. This might be the same publication schedule and reflects when Amazon will ship orders. The author has written several books on the Civil War, including General William Averell’s Salem Raid: Breaking the Knoxville Supply Line and Jackson’s Valley Campaign: The Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic (The Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series). General Rodes was widely considered the best division commander in the Army of Northern Virginia and we need a biography on him.

Grant’s Lieutenants: From Chattanooga to Appomattox edited by Steven E. Woodworth is still listed as mid June. This is the next volume in the Modern War Studies series. It is the companion volume and continuation of Grant’s Lieutenants: From Cairo to Vicksburg.

Due from the end of June to mid July is Britannia’s Fist: From Civil War to World War: An Alternate History by Peter G. Tsouras. This book slipped from an for early June publication. This alternate history assumes England builds one Confederate raider too many and war with the United States ensues. The author has written a number of alternate histories and is a regular on the History Channel with many works selected by the History Book Club and the Mystery Book Club.

Brian Holden Reid tells me that America’s Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-1863 is scheduled for an early July release.

Firebrand of Liberty: The Story of Two Black Regiments that Changed the Course of the Civil War by Stephen V. Ash is announced for July 7th. Amazon.com has the following about this book:In March 1863, nine hundred black Union soldiers, led by white officers, invaded Florida and seized the town of Jacksonville. They were among the first African American troops in the Northern army, and their expedition into enemy territory was like no other in the Civil War. It was intended as an assault on slavery by which thousands would be freed.

At the center of the story is prominent abolitionist Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who led one of the regiments. After waging battle for three weeks, Higginson and his men were mysteriously ordered to withdraw, their mission a seeming failure. Yet their successes in resisting the Confederates and collaborating with white Union forces persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to begin full-scale recruitment of black troops, a momentous decision that helped turned the tide of the war.” Ash has written the well received A Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American History and When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865. I am unfamiliar the author. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He has taught at the university since 1989. Starting in 1993, he is the managing editor of the Journal of East Tennessee History.

Amazon.com has a release date of August 5 for Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea by Noah Andre Trudeau. It is hard not to avoid great expectations for any large detailed book, close to 700 pages, by this award-winning author.

Scheduled for September is The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth by Earl J. Hess. This book is part of the Modern War Studies series. Hess can be a very technical read but his work is an important step toward understanding the mechanics of Civil War combat.

Also in September is Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign from Peter Cozzens. This is a 632-page book covering the military and political aspects of this campaign. The pre-release information says both the Union and Confederate sides are covered.

November promises Brady’s Civil War Journal: Day-by-Day Events 1861-1865 by Theodore P. Savas. The title is enough to warrant looking into this book.

Due in December from Ethan S. Rafuse is Antietam, South Mountain and Harpers Ferry. This is the next entry in This Hallowed Ground: Guides to Civil War Battlefields series. These are excellent guides at a reasonable price, written by experts on the battle.

More Damning than Slaughter Desertion in the Confederate Army by Mark A. Weitz is being released as a paperback. This is an excellent book on this subject and on why Southerners enlisted, endured or deserted.

Meet the Authors

I always try to do something Gettysburg in July. Savas Beatie helped me out by publishing a good Gettysburg book. This month we are introducing the authors of that book even if they need no introductions.

Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg has authored over a dozen books on Civil War cavalry subjects, as well as two dozen articles in popular magazines such as North & South, Blue & Gray, America’s Civil War, and Gettysburg Magazine. His first book, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions (Thomas Publications, Gettysburg Pa, 1998) won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award.

His most recent books are The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign (Savas Beatie LLC, 2006) and Rush’s Lancers: The Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry in the Civil War. He is completing a biography of Ulric Dahlgren. Wittenberg is a favored speaker at Civil War Roundtables, and conducts tours of cavalry battlefields and related sites. He was instrumental in saving important battlefield land at Trevilian Station, Virginia, and wrote the text for the historical waysides located there. He lives in Columbus with his wife Susan and their beloved dogs. Wittenberg is the CEO of Ironclad Publishing Inc.

J. David Petruzzi is a noted American Civil War cavalry historian and author. Petruzzi wrote the historical text for one of the U.S. Army’s recruiting pieces for modern armored and air cavalry. He has instructed U.S. soldiers and soldiers of various nations on Civil War era battlefield tactics and their application to modern maneuvers.

An insurance broker in Brockway, Pennsylvania, Plenty of Blame to Go Around is Petruzzi’s first published book. He is the author of many magazine articles on Civil War cavalry topics, notably for America’s Civil War, Civil War Times Illustrated, The Gettysburg Magazine, Blue & Gray, and North & South. With Eric Wittenberg and Michael Nugent, Petruzzi co-authored One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, released in May 2008. Petruzzi is a popular speaker at Civil War Roundtables and related conferences, conducts living history programs as a Civil War cavalry officer, and gives detailed tours of battlefields and related sites. A reenactor for many years, Petruzzi has appeared as a main character in two Civil War documentary movies. Petruzzi is a partner in, and the Marketing Director for, Ironclad Publishing Inc.

A long time student of the Gettysburg Campaign, Michael Nugent is a retired US Army Armored Cavalry Officer and the descendant of a Civil War Cavalry soldier.

He has previously written for several military publications. Nugent lives in Wells, Maine.

Bargain Bin Specials

Most books in the bargain bin of major bookstores are not something that I wish to carry home. They are either a buyer’s mistake, poorly done or have aged themselves out of existence. The independents and used bookstores can contain some real gems. In Border’s, I found Harry Stout’s Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War. This is a very interesting and thought provoking book on how the North & South adjusted to the war. The military history is chaotic and some of his statements are questionable. However, his history of how the press, churches and the government interacted is excellent. The interplay of Union and Emancipation in the North in sustaining the population during the war is instructive.

2008 Lincoln Prize

Two books offering fresh and provocative insights into the lives of three of the Civil War era’s most compelling figures—Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Robert E. Lee—will share the 2008 Lincoln Prize, the most generous and prestigious award in the field of American history, it was announced today. The winners of this year’s prize are Professor James Oakes of the City University of New York for The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics and diplomat/historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor for Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters.

Each author will receive a $20,000 cash award along with a bronze cast of Augustus St. Gaudens’ larger-than-life portrait sculpture of Abraham Lincoln.

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2 responses to “July 2008 Book Notes”

  1. Ted Savas Avatar

    Hi Brett

    Thank you for taking the time to cover the “One Continuous Fight” title and its authors. We all appreciate it.

    I see you also noted “Brady’s Civil War Journal: Day-by-Day Events 1861-1865,” by yours truly. In all honesty, I did not know I was getting this billing. I helped out a friend in England, who hired me to help him write captions, chapter introductions, etc. for a packaged book for general audiences. There is little in this book for seasoned scholars. The layout/presentation is very artful, but aimed more at a general audience. (Eric Wittenberg wrote a great Foreword, and Terry Johnston, formerly of North and South magazine, helped a lot with the captions, etc.)

    Just an FYI.

  2. admin Avatar


    You’re welcome. There will be more to come for One Continuous Fight, including a review. Thanks for the information on “your” book too. I was unaware of any of this interesting info.


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