[Faces of the Confederacy: An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories by Ronald S. Coddington (Johns Hopkins University Press*, 2009) Cloth, photos, notes, bibliography, index. Pages main/total: 257/311. ISBN: 978-0801890192 $29.95]
Author and collector, Ronald S. Coddington's Faces of the Confederacy: An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories is a lavishly produced visual record of southern Civil War soldiers. Seventy-seven cartes de visite images were selected, using several criteria [e.g. the individual must be below the rank of colonel and the image must be in good condition and aesthetically pleasing]. Persons of various ages and from all levels of society were chosen, and many, if not most, are published here for the first time.
Accompanying each photograph is a brief (approximately 1-2 page) life story of the subject, as much a character snapshot as an accounting of military valor. Stylistically casual, these biographical sketches are nevertheless abundantly documented, with over 530 endnotes in total. Image captions note the final rank the subject attained, as well as provenance information. A full bibliography and index is also included.
The overall presentation of this volume is first-rate. The full-page CDV images are crisp reproductions, and the full cloth binding and heavy, glossy paper make for a distinctly attractive and weighty volume. The book has the heft of a much larger tome. Faces of the Confederacy will appeal to serious photography enthusiasts and collectors, as well as those readers captivated by the personal stories of Civil War soldiers.
* - Back in 2004, JHUP published Coddington's companion volume, Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories.