In this post, I've compiled a short list of some favorite authorial one hit wonders, with selection criteria as follows:
- Work must be a significant contribution, either to a narrow subject or the field in general, that has not been clearly surpassed with the passage of time.
- Nothing else of comparable dimension has appeared from the author; pamphlets, edited works and essay compilations do not count.
1. Richard J. Sommers - Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg.
Most certainly not an amateur historian, Sommers is the biggest name on the list. It took me three tries to finally finish this particular tome (and yes I've read all the complaints about his style), but I've often wished that the master archivist and mainstay of just about everyone's Acknowledgment page had written more.
2. Patrick Brennan - Secessionville: Assault On Charleston.
I rate Pat's book and Wise's Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston Harbor, 1863 as the two best secondary works covering any part of the still neglected '62-'65 Charleston campaigns. Someone really needs to update Burton, too.
3. Margie Riddle Bearss - Sherman's Forgotten Campaign: The Meridian Expedition.
Until Buck Foster's book appeared in 2006, Bearss's was the only full treatment of the subject, and, in my opinion, hers remains the best.
4. Michael E. Banasik - Embattled Arkansas: The Prairie Grove Campaign of 1862.
I am surprised this one hasn't been reprinted. It remains the only book to adequately cover the '62 Union campaigns in the Indian Territory and the great Confederate recruiting drives inside Missouri prior to the Prairie Grove campaign.
5. Noel Carpenter - A Slight Demonstration: Decatur, October 1864, Clumsy Beginning of Gen. John B. Hood's Tennessee Campaign.
A fine mature work, published after the author's death.
Using the same criteria, does anyone else have favorites they'd like to share?