February 2010 Civil War Book Notes

by James Durney on February 1, 2010 · 2 comments

Those that can’t write, Review!

February 2010

James Durney


In the stores

Lincoln for President: An Unlikely Candidate, An Audacious Strategy, and the Victory No One Saw Coming by Bruce Chadwick is an interesting title.  The press release states, “is the incredible story of how Lincoln overcame overwhelming odds to not only capture his party’s nomination but win the presidency.”  The author has written a number of books with varied success.

Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor by Russell S. Bonds is available in paperback.

Blue and Gray Diplomacy A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations by Howard Jones from UNC Press is an examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspective.

Sam Davis Elliott’s newest book: Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator from Louisiana State University Press is available.

West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace by Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh “offers an insightful and original portrait of the American army from 1814 to the end of the Civil War”.  An expensive reissue is scheduled for February but the UNC publication is reasonably priced.

New Releases

February 2010

Clint Johnson’s A Vast and Fiendish Plot – The Confederate Attack on New York City is due on the 23rd.  This is a history of how eight Confederate officers tried to burn the largest city in the United States.

Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison by Joseph Wheelan, recounts the largely unknown story of the escape of 109 officers through a 55-foot tunnel, and their flight in winter through the heart of the enemy homeland, amid an all-out Rebel manhunt. The officers’ later testimony in Washington spurred two far-reaching investigations and a new cycle of retaliation against Rebel captives.

Lincoln on Trial Southern Civilians and the Law of War by Burrus M. Carnahan is an extensive analysis of Lincoln’s leadership throughout the Civil War as he struggled to balance his own humanity against the demands of his generals. Carnahan specifically scrutinizes Lincoln’s conduct toward Southerners in light of the international legal standards of his time as the president wrestled with issues that included bombardment of cities, collateral damage to civilians, seizure and destruction of property, forced relocation, and the slaughter of hostages.

Back in print is Widow’s Weeds & Weeping Veils by Bernadette Loeffel-Atkins.  This is a well-received look at the Victorian rituals of mourning, religious feelings, social obligations, and fashions of the time.

Published as paperbacks are Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign by William L. Shea and A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War by Daniel E. Sutherland.

March 2010

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.

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.  This c ontinues the story started in Britannia’s Fist: From Civil War to World War: —An Alternate History.

I only have a title and know the author has a couple of Trans-Mississippi books in print.  Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State by Mark K. Christ is scheduled this month.

A total unknown but a subject we have almost zero on is Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast Florida by Daniel L. Schafer.

Eric Wittenberg reports The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863: North America’s Largest Cavalry Battle (not yet available at Amazon.com) will be part of The History Press’s forthcoming sesquicentennial series on battles of the Civil War will be available toward the end of the month.

Yankee Warhorse: A Biography of Major General Peter J. Osterhaus by Mary Bobbitt Townsend from University of Missouri is due on the 24th.  The press release says the book “sets the record straight on this important Civil War general as it opens a new window on the war in the West”.

April 2010

Savas Beatie will release as paperbacks Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign by Lance J. Herdegen and Sickles at Gettysburg by James A. Hessler.

Look for a full-color hardcover edition of The Maps of Gettysburg by Bradley M. Gottfried.  The audio supplement to The Complete Gettysburg Guide 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.

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.

May 2010

Look for Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market by Charles R. Knight.  This is a 264-page book with eight maps covering the “complex prelude” and the battle.  The author is a former Historical Interpreter at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.

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

In June The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Volume 1: South Mountain is due.  This is the Ezra Carman manuscript edited by Thomas G. Clemens a 694-page book with ten maps 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 who could spend their last days in comfort and free from want.

Scheduled for 2010 with an unavailable date

The History Press is publishing Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (not yet available on Amazon.com) by Jim Schmidt.  The author released Lincoln’s Labels and Years of Change & Suffering in 2009.

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 (not yet available at Amazon.com), the second book in the Louisiana Quadrille series, covering the war for the lower Mississippi from February to May 1863.

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.  This will be a major event in the historiography of the Petersburg Campaign.

We can look forward to a complete history of the Iron Brigade from Lance J. Herdegen.  Those Damned Black Hats!, his book on 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 (not yet available at Amazon.com). 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 (not yet available at Amazon.com) 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 (not yet available at Amazon.com) 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 is scheduled to be published in late 2010.  This book will be the first book to incorporate Notre Dame’s story into a comprehensive and unified narrative.

The Civil War Institute at Gettysburg requested copies of Nancy Dane’s novel A Difference of Opinion for consideration in the 2010 Michael Shaara Award competition.


Meet the Author Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh

Wayne Hsieh immigrated to the United States as an infant from Taiwan and grew up in Alhambra–a suburb of Los Angeles with a large overseas Chinese population. He received an excellent public high school education at Alhambra High School, and went on to Yale University, where he received a B.A. in History (2000). He wrote a senior essay on Lincoln and religion under the direction of David Brion Davis. He attended the University of Virginia for his graduate work, where he received a PhD in History (2004) and worked under the direction of Gary W. Gallagher and Edward L. Ayers–the latter is now President of the University of Richmond.

Hsieh spent the 2004/5 academic year as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center, where he also taught half time in Yale’s Directed Studies curriculum–a freshman Great Books program of which Hsieh is a proud alumnus. In August 2005 he joined the U.S. Naval Academy History Department, where he remains an assistant professor.

Between July 2008 and June 2009, Hsieh was on interagency detail with the U.S. State Department in Iraq, where he served as the Tuz Satellite Lead for the Salah ad Din Provincial Reconstruction Team. The most important of his duties centered on facilitating ethnic and political reconciliation in the Tuz district (approximately 150,000 inhabitants). He received a Commander’s Award for Civilian Service from 3 BSTB (Department of the Army), and a Meritorious Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State (Embassy Baghdad).

Hsieh has a diverse number of interests in military history, although he remains a nineteenth-century American Historian by trade and training.


Editor’s Note: Jim is a Top 500 Amazon.com reviewer.

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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Walters February 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Can you tell me if ” The Maryland Campaign 1862″ Volume 1 edited by Thomas G. Clemens , which is by Ezra Carmen in the original is the same content of the original Ezra Carmen work edited by Pierro last year?


admin February 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm


Volume 1, edited by Clemens, is basically the first half of the Pierro book. My understandning is that Clemens’ annotation is more thorough than that of Pierro, though I could be mistaken there. If anyone from Savas-Beatie happens to read this, perhaps they might be able to add some clarification.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: