Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brown & Elwell: "CROSSROADS OF CONFLICT: A Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia"

[Crossroads of Conflict: A Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia by Barry L. Brown and Gordon R. Elwell (University of Georgia Press*, 2010). Softcover, 65 B&W and 190 color images, 20 maps, GPS table, timeline, bibliography, index. 268 Pages. ISBN:978-0-8203-3730-2 $22.95]

The first edition of Crossroads of Conflict (1994) covered 155 Civil War related sites, but the new revised and expanded edition, released this year, increases this number significantly to 350. For Crossroads of Conflict: A Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia, authors Barry Brown and Gordon Elwell have compiled a vast array of sites from across the state, the breadth of which is perhaps best summarized in the preface (page XV). You'll find:
"... battlefields, markers, houses, relief maps, monuments and statues, museums, mills, churches, depots, and cemeteries and grave sites. Also included are bridges, forts, parks, visitors centers, ferries, courthouses, capitols, prison sites, campsites, trenches and Shoupades, plantations, archives, arsenals, and lighthouses. Travelers can visit an iron works, a foundry, a factory, an armory, and a hotel; stroll in a garden and walk through a tunnel; take in a cove and a canal; see the only double barreled cannon known to exist; and view what many consider the finest cyclorama painting in the world"
The sites are separated into nine geographical regions. While there are no planned driving routes or detailed traveling directions between attractions offered, locations are noted in general fashion as dots on large scale modern highway maps. Additionally, the physical address of each site is noted in the upper right hand corner of each listing, as well as phone, business hours, and website information (if applicable). The associated text is not only descriptive in nature but provides historical context and preservation information.  A common feature is the presence of shaded boxes informing readers of the Civil War history of towns located near the sites in question. In a nod to modern tools for touring and marker hunting, an appendix lists GPS coordinates for each location, a necessary step for books of this type from now on.

Illustrations abound, with 250 B&W period images and modern color photographs, as well as numerous artwork reproductions, spread liberally throughout. In addition to being attractively presented in terms of content, the book's material quality is also superb. The heavy, high gloss paper and reinforced paperback covering should hold up well to numerous road trips.  With its spotlight on hundreds of historical sites from the famous to the nearly forgotten, and a release well timed to the approaching sesquicentennial, this new edition of Crossroads of Conflict will be a very useful guidebook for visitors and residents.


* - Published by University of Georgia Press, in association with the Georgia Civil War Commission, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Humanities Council.  Some content is available online at www.exploregeorgia.org.

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