Thursday, February 05, 2009

Booknotes (Feb '09)

Other acquisitions or review copies received this month:

The Portable Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, ed. by Andrew Delbanco (Penguin Classics, 2009). With a new introduction by Andrew Delbanco this reprint (Bicentennial Edition) of The Portable Abraham Lincoln is a fine collection of the most recognizable and most important of Lincoln's writings, arranged in a manner giving equal weight to each stage of the subject's political career. Correspondence with military leaders, politicians, and private citizens provide insight into Lincoln's handling of relationships with individuals, his stylistic variety, as well as his views on a number of pressing public issues. The writings consist of personal letters, notes, memoranda, lecture & speech transcriptions, presidential proclamations, and addresses. A biographical listing of the president's correspondents is included, as well as an index. This astutely selected compilation of Lincoln's writings serves as a great introduction for secondary school and university students.

The Battle of the Crater: A Complete History by John F. Schmutz (McFarland, 2009). Lots of publishing action surrounding the Crater. Back in 2007 there was Axelrod's The Horrid Pit: The Battle of the Crater, the Civil War's Cruelest Mission, this one now, and coming up mid-2009 we'll see Slotkin's No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864. At around 350 small print pages of main text, Schmutz's 7 x 10 sized book is hefty, and the breadth of coverage and research looks substantial.

Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units by Arthur Bergeron, Jr. (LSU, 1989). The company officer data and unit sketches are far more detailed than Sifakis, although the latter does also include an organizational listing for each unit making both books worth owning. Bergeron also has paragraph length histories for independent companies, as well as an OB for state militia regiments and battalions. A source essay and index round out the volume. The hardcover can still be had for a reasonable price on the secondary market, but only the 1996 paperback edition remains in print.

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