Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Booknotes - "Darien: The Death and Rebirth of a Southern Town"
Viewers of Glory will recall Darien as the town looted and torched by Robert Gould Shaw's reluctant 54th and the all too eager jayhawker Col. James Montgomery and his undisciplined 2nd Regiment, South Carolina Colored Volunteers. [For an interesting take on Montgomery, I recommend: Dirck, Brian. “By the Hand of God: James Montgomery and Redemptive Violence.” Kansas History 27 Spring/Summer 2004, , pp. 100-115. (republished in Virgil Dean's Kansas Territorial Reader and viewable online here)]. Even though Darien: The Death and Rebirth of a Southern Town by Spencer B. King (Mercer Univ. Press, 1981) appears to be something of a promising book length account, I searched in vain for an online review of King's book (a free one anyway, JSTOR must make a killing if people are regularly willing to pay $7 just to read a single review from an old journal), and just ended up purchasing it. This is an all too common refrain, and one of the main reasons behind this blog's existence. The book is still in the mail, so I have no idea at this point if it's worth reading. On a side note, my google search for Darien book reviews brought up a two-part guest host post from 2006 about the burning of Darien [here and here] authored by none other than Harry Smeltzer for Dimitri's Civil War Bookshelf. The content is unrelated to King's book, but worth a read.