Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Booknotes II (March '14)

New Arrivals:

1. Uncommonly Savage: Civil War and Remembrance in Spain and the United States by Paul D. Escott (UP of Fla, 2014).

I can't say that I've ever ruminated upon the parallels between our mid-19th century internal national struggle and the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. On the other hand, Paul Escott certainly has done so, and he's even written a book about it.

2. Military Leadership Lessons of the Charleston Campaign, 1861-1865 by Kevin Dougherty (McFarland, 2014).

In this case, the publisher's description is a good summary of what the book contains. "... Part One, "Understanding Charleston," contains a discussion of leadership, a campaign overview, and a brief introduction to the key participants. Part Two, "Leadership Vignettes," includes 21 scenarios that span the actions of the most senior leaders down to those of individual soldiers. Each scenario provides the context, explains the action in the terms of leadership lessons learned, and concludes with a list of "take-aways" to crystallize the lessons for the reader. The book ends with summary information and a set of conclusions about leadership during the Charleston Campaign. ..."

3. Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War by Michael C.C. Adams (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014).

"Drawing extensively on letters and memoirs of individual soldiers, Adams assembles vivid accounts of the distress Confederate and Union soldiers faced daily: sickness, exhaustion, hunger, devastating injuries, and makeshift hospitals where saws were often the medical instrument of choice." Adams "suggests that too many Americans become fond of war out of ignorance of its terrors" and "the collective memory of its horror has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized even the experience of the Civil War".

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