Saturday, February 28, 2009

"The Shiloh Campaign" kickstarts the Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series

The essay compilation The Shiloh Campaign edited by Steven Woodworth (April 2009) will be the first volume of SIU Press's Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series. The planned series "showcases the decisive battles in the western theater, that immense and varied landscape between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River", and Chickamauga expert Dave Powell has commented that a volume covering that battle is progressing well.

From The Shiloh Campaign book description:
"John R. Lundberg examines the role of Albert Sidney Johnston, the prized Confederate commander who recovered impressively after a less-than-stellar performance at forts Henry and Donelson only to die at Shiloh; Alexander Mendoza analyzes the crucial, and perhaps decisive, struggle to defend the Union’s left; Timothy B. Smith investigates the persistent legend that the Hornet’s Nest was the spot of the hottest fighting at Shiloh; Steven E. Woodworth follows Lew Wallace’s controversial march to the battlefield and shows why Ulysses S. Grant never forgave him; Gary D. Joiner provides the deepest analysis available of action by the Union gunboats; Grady McWhiney describes P. G. T. Beauregard’s decision to stop the first day’s attack and takes issue with his claim of victory; and Charles D. Grear shows the battle’s impact on Confederate soldiers, many of whom did not consider the battle a defeat for their side. In the final chapter, Brooks D. Simpson analyzes how command relationships—specifically the interactions among Grant, Henry Halleck, William T. Sherman, and Abraham Lincoln—affected the campaign and debunks commonly held beliefs about Grant’s reactions to Shiloh’s aftermath."
That's a nice group of authors (although Stacy Allen is notably absent). Essay selection is reminiscent of Gary Gallagher's Military Campaigns of the Civil War series published by UNC Press. Lamentably, that celebrated collection never made it out west, but Woodworth [I'm assuming he's the general editor] appears to have picked up the torch. At $25 or less, the price level is more than reasonable, too.

7 comments:

  1. This looks like a good supplement to larger accounts on the battle. I'm really looking forward to it as Shiloh is one of my favorite battles of the war to study. I've been many times to the battlefield over the years and find it a truly awe-inspiring place. That is great news that one is coming out on Chickamauga as that is a battle that I also never tire of studying. These books should be quite a boon for more study on the Western theater. I always wanted Gallagher's essay books to cover the Western Theater but this looks like the next best thing.

    Thanks for posting the information,
    Chris

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  2. Drew,

    I've had my eye on this series as well once I became aware of it. News of a Chickamauga volume is also welcome.

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  3. Keep in mind that Gallagher's volumes were the result of yearly conferences that combined battlefield tours and lectures. The program was sponsored by the University of Virginia's Continuing Ed. School and based out of the University of Richmond. No accident that these conferences focused on Eastern campaigns.

    That said, anyone who reads G's scholarship knows that he has always maintained that the East was more important than the West. :)

    Kevin at Civil War Memory

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  4. Chris EvansMarch 01, 2009

    I wonder if Gallagher in the future will do any more essays on the Eastern theater? He could do essay collections on the Petersburg campaign, which would be a much needed one, and maybe something such as on the First and Second Bull Run Campaigns and Appomattox. These would seem to be excellent sources for essay topics.

    Chris

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  5. Virginians neglecting the West. Unheard of!

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  6. Chris,
    It's been my understanding that no new volumes (beyond the paperback reprints of existing collections) will appear from that series.

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  7. Chris EvansMarch 01, 2009

    Thanks Drew for the information about the Gallagher series,
    Chris

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