Editor’s Note: Civil War Book Acquisitions is an ongoing series which allows me to highlight new books I’ve recently acquired and give readers an idea of upcoming Civil War books.
A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era, Volume 1: Legislative Achievements (Voices of the Civil War)
Edited by Thomas C. Mackey
328 pages, $49.95 cloth
The University of Tennessee Press
Publication Date: 12/14/2012
TOCWOC’s Take: This is the first volume in an ambitious new three volume set by the University of Tennessee Press. The set is a part of the larger “Voices of the Civil War” series at UT Press. Volume 1 of A Documentary History of the American Civil War covers legislation passed from September 15, 1850 (the Fugitive Slave Act) to June 18, 1878 (the Posse Comitatus Act). Editor Thomas Mackey authors “headnotes” for each piece of legislation, placing it in the proper context and arguing for its inclusion in the book. These documents are arranged in chronological order. The second volume will cover “Political Arguments” with Volume 3 consisting of “Judicial Decisions.” It looks to be a worthwhile reference set when completed.
Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg December 13, 1862
By Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
6 x 9, 171 illustrations and 6 maps, paperback, 168 pages $12.95
Publication Date: December 2012
TOCWOC’s Take: This is the first in presumably a long line of books in Savas Beatie’s new “Emerging Civil War Series”, “which offers compelling and easy-to-read overviews of some of the Civil War’s most important battles and issues.” This looks to be a paperback only series, filled with illustrations and maps and perfect for someone new to a given battle. Mackowski and White are both bloggers, part of the excellent group over at the Emerging Civil War blog, “a community of up-and-coming authors/speakers dedicated to furthering the public’s understanding of the American Civil War.” In addition to a basic military history of the Battle of Fredricksburg, social and memory issues are handled in the numerous appendices, including slavery and civilians at Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg in memory, and a nice “Whatever Happened to…” which covers the lives of key players after the December 13, 1862 battle. I was especially surprised and gratified to see a list of Fredericksburg books along with covers and other information available to end the book, only one of which was published by Ted Savas. I don’t often see publishers point readers in the direction of another publisher’s book at the end of their own, so I wanted to take the time to acknowledge it here. The next book in the series, due in the spring of 2013, will focus onn Spotsylvania Court House.
Divided Loyalties: Kentucky’s Struggle for Armed Neutrality in the Civil War
By James W. Finck
19 b/w photos throughout, 4 maps, and 15 graphics, hardback, 264 pages $26.95
Publication Date: November 2012
TOCWOC’s Take: Divided Loyalties examines a people and a state put into an impossible position at the outbreak of hostilities. People talk about “brother versus brother” when describing the Civil War, but nowhere does that generality better apply than Kentucky and the other border states. In a bit a of departure from more traditional military history for Savas Beatie, we have a scholarly look at why Kentucky and at times various factions of Kentuckians favored neutrality, and the answer isn’t what you will usually hear. Finck’s book looks at Kentuckians and how they felt about the war rather than how the North and South felt about Kentucky. Those interested in Kentucky’s role in the Civil War will not want to miss this one.
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