October 2009 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

October 2009

James Durney


New Releases

This one got by me and I discovered it in the bookstore.  Noah Andre Trudeau has written Robert E. Lee: Lessons in Leadership for The Great Generals Series from Palgrave Macmillan.  Mr. Trudeau is one of our best authors and none of his can or should be ignored.

A Dangerous Stir: Fear, Paranoia, and the Making of Reconstruction by Mark Wahlgren Summers should be in the stores thin month.  Reconstruction policy after the Civil War is shaped not simply by politics, principles, and prejudices. Also at work were fears–often-unreasonable fears of renewed civil war and a widespread sense that four years of war had thrown the normal constitutional process so dangerously out of kilter that the republic itself remained in peril.

Also in the stores is Punitive War Confederate Guerrillas and Union Reprisals by Clay Mountcastle.  This is a look at how guerrilla attacks and Union reaction drove a cycle of violence contributing to a punitive war.  The author is a member of the US Army, currently in Korea, who has taught military history at West Point.

Savas Beatie is releasing Dave Powell’s The Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign, Including the Tullahoma Operations, June 22 – September 23, 1863 at the West Coast CW Conference on October 1.  David Friedrichs is doing the cartography.  This is a 336-page book with 128 full color maps.  This is the third book in SB’s Military Atlas series.

Years of Change and Suffering Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine edited by James M. Schmidt and Guy R. Hasegawa is due in October.  Jim has reported indexing the book last August.  James M. Schmidt writes on 19th Century medicine and is the author of Lincoln’s Labels that is in paperback this month.

Ten Roads Publishing has The Alexander Dobbin House in Gettysburg by Dr. Walter Powell at the printer in early September.  They expect the book Gettysburg Bicentennial Album by William A Frassanito to be for sale in early October.

The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863 by Scott L. Mingus, Sr., is due in October from Louisiana State University Press.  The author was last listed for the excellent  Flames beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Expedition, June 1863.

The University of North Carolina Press has scheduled Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign by William Shea for November. Prairie Grove is one of the more important small battles in the Trans-Mississippi.  This will complement his excellent Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West.

In November, look for Edward Longacre’s Cavalry of the Heartland: The Mounted Forces of the Army of Tennessee.  The book contains maps starting with Fort Donelson and ending with Monroe’s Crossroads.

While not Civil War history, Slavery and the Supreme Court, 1825 – 1861 by Earl M. Maltz rates a look see.  The book covers eight major cases involving slavery that came before the Court in the years leading up to the war.  This is due in November from University Press of Kansas.

In December, look for Brooks D. Simpson’s Civil War In The East 1861-1865: A Strategic Assessment.  His The Reconstruction Presidents is available in paperback.

UNC Press scheduled Blue and Gray Diplomacy A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations by Howard Jones for January 2010. In this examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Howard Jones demonstrates that the consequences of the conflict between North and South reached far beyond American soil.

Sam Davis Elliott’s newest book: Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator is on Amazon with a January 2010 publication date.

In March 2010, Clint Johnson’s A VAST AND FIENDISH PLOT – The Confederate Attack on New York City should be in stores.

Scheduled for 2010 is Thunder Across the Swamps, the second book in the Louisiana Quadrille series, covering the war for the lower Mississippi, February to May 1863.

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

Eric Wittenberg reports The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863: North America’s Largest Cavalry Battle will be part of The History Press’s forthcoming sesquicentennial series on battles of the Civil War.  This is a 68,000-word manuscript with 50 maps and illustrations.  He feels that we have “a reasonable chance” of seeing this book in June 2010. The Civil War Preservation Trust and master cartographer Steve Stanley have given permission to use Steve’s excellent maps in the book.  Clark B. “Bud” Hall will work with Eric to put together a tour for the book.  A second project 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.

Savas Beatie is working on a two-volume set on The Petersburg Campaign, taken from a series of unpublished battle studies written by Ed Bearss.  Bryce Suderow is the editor on this.  This will be a major event in the historiography of the Petersburg Campaign.  A second major item from this publisher is a two-volume Maryland Campaign study edited by Tom Clemens.   After many years of work on the Ezra A. Carman’s study, Professor Clemens is nearing publication.  The two books will contain additional research, comments and a full set of maps.


No longer new but notable!

These are books that I do not want to see fall off because they are no longer “just in” or not published.  While looking at the new books, do not ignore these.

War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta by Russell S. Bonds is getting excellent reviews and looks to be as big or bigger a hit then Stealing the General.

The author, an Atlanta resident, includes chapters on the city after the war and the status of the area’s battlefields.

Eric Wittenberg’s Like a Meteor Burning Brightly: The Short but Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren is in the stores. This is the only biography of the brilliant, ambitious young man who became the youngest full colonel in the United States Army at the age of 21 yet died before his 22nd birthday.

J. David Petruzzi’s beautiful The Complete Gettysburg Guide is much more than a “guide”.

Sickles at Gettysburg: the Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg by Jim Hessler has excellent reviews.  The book covers Sickles pre war, actions as a Union General and post war activities.

A Savage Conflict: the Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War by Daniel E. Sutherland argues that irregular warfare took a large toll on the Confederate war effort by weakening support for state and national governments.


Bringing on the Civil War

This month we are looking at books that deal with the political climate and/or things that contributed to causing the war.  Many to these books eschew the simple answer that slavery is the cause of the war and look at the political and economic conditions existing from 1840 to 1860.  Each of them is worth reading and can challenge almost any position you hold.

Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era) by Elizabeth R. Varon is a history of the idea that the United States was not indivisible.  This book traces the twisted path, North & South; disunion takes in through our history.

Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War by Marc Egnal, traces economic development of the North, South and West prior to the war.  The book shows how trade changed from North/South to North/West due to cannels and railroads.  As the South became isolated, the national parties broke down adding to the problems.

Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War (Civil War America) by James L. Huston looks at why the North feared slavery as economic issue and the South could not trust the nation to respect slavery where established.  The book is an economic history of slavery and property rights that makes few moral judgments.


Introducing University of North Carolina Press

For more than eighty years, the University of North Carolina Press has earned national and international recognition for quality books and the thoughtful way they published books. A fundamental commitment to publishing excellence defines UNC Press, made possible by the generous support of individual and institutional donors who created its endowment.

In 1922, on the campus of the nation’s oldest state university, thirteen distinguished educators and civic leaders met to charter a publishing house. Their creation, the University of North Carolina Press, was the first university press in the South and one of the first in the nation. The UNC Press imprint is recognized worldwide as a mark of publishing excellence–both in what we publish and in how we publish it.

UNC is one of the major publishers of Civil War histories and a major component of my library.  William Shea, Earl J. Hess, Gary W. Gallagher, Peter Cozzens, William Marvel and Harry W. Pfanz high lite a long list of distinguished authors.  With over 150 Civil War titles in print, they are impossible to ignore.  While there is quantity, they insist on a quality product in both the physical book and what is on the page.  UNC books are always a joy to hold and to read.


HPS Simulations

While this is not about books, I play the games and write about this American Civil War series often.  In September, HPS issued updates to Campaign Corinth version 1.09, Campaign Peninsula version 1.05 and Campaign Ozark version 1.08. These patches bring all the existing Civil War Campaign games up to the Chancellorsville level of rules and programming.


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One response to “October 2009 Civil War Book Notes”

  1. Jim Schmidt Avatar

    James – Thanks for the kind mention of the Lincoln’s Labels softcover and our new book, Years of Change & Suffering. Both books shipped from the printer this week and we’ll be launching YOC&S at the annual Nat’l Museum of Civil War Medicine conference in Baltimore this weekend!

    Also – to go along with Eric W’s news about his History Press titles, I’m pleased to let you know that I have also signed a contract with The History Press for a late-2010 book tentatively entitled, “Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory.”

    Keep up the great work!

    Jim Schmidt

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