February 2012 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

February 2012

James W. Durney


My “To Read” List

Between the Holidays, a new PC, stomach flu, the new King book and real life my “to read” list has gotten out of hand.  I am reducing it a little more each day but as of this writing it is:

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Duggard.  My wife gave me a signed copy for Christmas, I am reading it now and you may see a review before you see this.

Grant’s Final Victory by Charles Bracelen Flood covers last year, having lost everything to a swindler in 1884 he learns he is dying of cancer too.  Grant pushes himself to finish his memoirs.

The Battle of the Crater by Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen and Albert S. Hanser enjoys very good reviews on Amazon.  I enjoyed the Gettysburg series.  The combination of solid historical knowledge with writing talent make for an enjoyable read.

Francis Hamit’s The Queen of Washington is a novel about the exploits of Rose Greenhow.  This is a companion to Shenandoah Spy about Belle Boyd.

Virginia at War 1861 edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson is the first book in that excellent series.


New Releases


Decided on the Battlefield: Grant, Sherman, Lincoln and the Election of 1864 by David Alan Johnson is another look at the events and election of 1864.

UNHOLY SABBATH: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory, September 14, 1862 by Brian Jordan should leave the printer on January 24.

The reprint of FLAMES BEYOND GETTYSBURG: The Confederate Expedition to the Susquehanna River, June 1863 by Scott Mingus is due from the printer on the 23.Scott Mingus (Author)

A reprinted paperback edition of Edward Cunningham’s SHILOH AND THE WESTERN CAMPAIGN OF 1862 should have left the printer on January 24.

General Books LLC seems to be flooding Amazon with a number of Civil War books.  Each of them has this warning ” This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher.”


February 2012

Brigades of Gettysburg: The Union and Confederate Brigades at the Battle of Gettysburg by Bradley M. Gottfried is being released in Paperback.

Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln by James Emerson is a chance to look at this complex man.

Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War by Guy Gugliotta tells about the clash of personalities behind building the Capitol and its extraordinary design and engineering.  The building runs from 1850 to 1863, taking place during one of the most contentious times in our history.

A History of the Negro Troops in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1865 by George Washington Williams is a paperback version of the 1887 book.

The Civil War: The Second Year Told By Those Who Lived It edited by Stephen Sears is part of a four-volume series.


March 2012

The Civil War in the West Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi by Earl J. Hess is a comprehensive look at how the Union won and held this area.

The Union Forever Lincoln, Grant and the Civil War by John Y. Simon looks at their relationship, how they influenced each other and their individual struggles.

The Petersburg Campaign: The Eastern Front Battles, June – August 1864, Volume 1 by Edwin Bearss and Bryce Suderow is a “must have” book.  This is 488 pages with original maps by Civil War cartographer Steven Stanley.

Shiloh, 1862: The First Great and Terrible Battle of the Civil War by Winston Groom should be a good read.

When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D. Sarna.  This action caused Grant problems for the rest of his public life.  A complete account is overdue and badly needed.


April 2012

LAST BATTLE OF WINCHESTER, THE: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 – September 19, 1864 by Scott Patchan looks at the third Battle of Winchester the largest, longest, and bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley.

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.

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

Jeffry Wert’s A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863 is going to be released as a Paperback.

The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation by Glenn David Basher argues that this campaign is the pivotal event in the emancipation process.


May 2012

Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864 by Samuel Mitcham Jr. looks at this campaign from the Confederate point of view.

The Maps of Antietam: An Atlas of the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Campaign, including the Battle of South Mountain, September 2 – 20, 1862 by Bradley Gottfried is the newest full color entry into the fine Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series.

Joshua Chamberlain: The Life in Letters of a Great Leader of the American Civil War by Thomas Desjardin brings to public light 300 never-before-seen letters.

Kentucky’s Civil War Battlefields: A Guide to Their History and Preservation by Randy Bishop looks at thirteen major conflicts and details the level of preservation for each site.

Americans Remember Their Civil War by Lesley J. Gordon looks at remembrances from the immediate postwar era to the early 21st century.   The conflicting tensions as people sought to commemorate “their” war. The epilogue examines current memories of the war, debates and controversies.

Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg (U.S. Army War College Guide to Civil War Battles) edited by Jay Luvaas, Harold W. Nelson and Leonard J. Fullenkamp.  This was the first book in this respected series of guides and is ready for a new edition.  Changes in the park, the Cavalry battles on the Third coupled with rewritten and expanded background chapters make a new book not a reprint.


June 2012

The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties, and Maps, June 9 – July 14, 1863 by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley looks at more than three dozen engagements both large and small waged during the five weeks of the Gettysburg Campaign.  A synopsis of  each engagement, over three dozen, includes photos of the commanders, an original full page map of the fighting, an order of battle with numbers and losses (including killed, wounded, captured, and missing), charts and graphs of relative strengths and losses, a conclusion of how the fighting affected each side and the course of the campaign.  Their The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest published by Savas Beatie in 2009 won the U.S. Army Historical Foundation’s 2009 Distinguished Writing Award, Reference Category.

The Northern Home Front during the Civil War edited by Randall M. Miller and Paul A. Cimbala promises a great deal in 250 pages.

Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David S. Reynolds is being released as a Paperback.

By the Noble Daring of Her Sons: The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee by Jonathan C. Sheppard.  It is almost impossible to find books about Floridians fighting in the war.  This book should help fill the gap for the Army of Tennessee.

IRON BRIGADE IN THE CIVIL WAR, THE: Bull Run to Appomattox, 1861-1865 by Lance Herdgen, is his fourth book on the Iron Brigade.  His well received Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign published in 2008, is still in print.


July 2012

Montreal and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: John Wilkes Booth’s Unexplained Visit to Montreal in October by Phil Sherman Taylor looks at the possible connection between that city and the assassination.

Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder by Kevin M. Levin looks at how we chose to remember or forget, using this one battle, the role of the USCT in the Civil War.

Edifice of Freedom: The Civil War Amendments in Historical Perspective by James S. Hunphreys looks at the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments in detail.  The book looks at both the historical and contemporary significance of the Civil War Amendments.

The Long Road To Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution by Richard Slotkin looks at the changes the Emancipation Proclamation caused on how  the war was seen by re-creating the showdown between Lincoln and McClellan.

The Hammer and the Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery in America by Dwight Jon Zimmerman


August 2012

The Chattanooga Campaign edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear has a very impressive list of contributors.  This is an excellent series on the Western Campaigns and there is every indication this book will maintain that standard.

38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End by Scott W. Berg looks at the “Big Picture” of the 1862 Sioux war.

The Best Station of Them All: The Savannah Squadron, 1861-1865 by Maurice Melton

September 2012

Shiloh: Confederate High Tide in the Heartland by Steven E. Woodworth

We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 by William J. Cooper

The Northern Home Front during the Civil War edited by Randall M. Miller & Paul A. Cimbala is a look at a nation under the strain of war.


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.

Ethan Rafuse has an essay in The Chattanooga Campaign edited by Steven Woodworth, the next book in the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series.

Ethan Rafuse and Charles R. Bowery Jr. are working on a War College guide for Richmond-Petersburg expected in 2012.

Steve Stanley and J. David Petruzzi are hard at work on The Complete Antietam Campaign Guide.  Antietam Chief Historian Ted Alexander is doing the Forward.  This is a full color book styled on The Complete Gettysburg GuideThe book will feature Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, and Shepherdstown plus many points in between.

Eric Wittenberg is working on a project is for The History Press entitled The Battle of Yellow Tavern: Jeb Stuart’s Last BattleThis 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.

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 has an option to publish Scott L. Mingus, Sr.’s next book titled Gettysburg’s Controversial Old Confederate General: Gov. William “Extra Billy” Smith of Virginia.

Nancy Dane reports book four in The Tattered Glory series is being edited before going to the publisher. The title is An Enduring Union.

Yankee Dutchmen under Fire by Joseph Reinhart has completed peer review and is approved for publication.  It should be in the stores in 2013.  This is his latest book on Germans in the Civil War.

Tom Desjardin’s biography of Joshua L. Chamberlain is due out in 2013.

Francis Hamit reports Brass Cannon Books is ” auditioning producer/narrators” for audio book editions of both The Shenandoah Spy and The Queen of Washington.  The audio books will be released through ACX.com, a company owned by Amazon.com.


Book News

David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction

A prize to encourage and reward excellent American historical fiction is a natural element in our effort to make the rich history of America accessible to the educated general reader. The David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction is offered annually to the best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history. Any press may publish the work, with the exceptions that the book may not be self-published or published by a subsidized publisher.  The prize and $1,000 honorarium is awarded every year for the best book in American Historical Fiction published in the preceding year.


1) John M. Archer, After the Rain: A Novel of War and Coming Home (Gettysburg, PA: Ten Roads Publishing, 2011). The protagonist, Captain Daniel Spencer, is a line officer in the Union army. Wounded at Antietam badly enough to receive a discharge, he makes his way home to his wife and farm, located close to the location of the future Gettysburg battlefield. Civil War books are very common, and many focus of the theme of return. What makes this novel different is its focus on the psychological impact of battle on the protagonist. He feels guilty for leading so many men to their deaths. He experiences nightmares about the fighting, and this affects his relations with his wife. He is afflicted with concern about his dead comrades and ponderings about why he himself was not killed. The actual battle scenes depicted, a small fraction of the book, are not gratuitous, because they are necessary to understand Spencer’s role as company commander. In short, he has what today we would call “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Well-written, and with photographs illustrating many locations and personalities in the plot, the book holds in suspension until the end the central conflict.


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.

New Jersey

New Jersey Goes to War part of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial is in its’ second printing.    It is so popular that New Jersey’s Odyssey using the same format is available. This book is “An Anthology of Civil War Tales from 1850 to 1961”; Joseph G. Bilby edits both books.

Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage, by Steven D. Glazer, is a comprehensive and up-to-date manual for those wishing to research the stories of their own community’s Civil War veterans.

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.

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 is the publisher.

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.


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.



One response to “February 2012 Civil War Book Notes”

  1. Brett Schulte Avatar

    I’d add that the General Books LLC thing is kind of shady. A LOT of the books they sell are freely available at Google Books or the Internet Archive. Over at my Siege of Petersburg site I’m building a bibliography of regimental histories, and one thing I try to do is offer free links first before any links to Amazon or Abebooks.


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