Thursday, September 18, 2014

Booknotes II (Sept '14)

New Arrivals:

1. A Connecticut Yankee in Lincoln's Cabinet: Navy Secretary Gideon Welles Chronicles the Civil War edited by J. Ronald Spencer (Acorn Club - Wesleyan UP, 2014).

This book consists of Spencer's selections of 250 diary excerpts from the war years, organized into ten chapters by theme. The editor contributes general and chapter introductions, footnotes, pieces of transitional narrative, and the afterword. Those wanting the full diary should grab a copy of the Gienapp edition.

2. A Gunner in Lee's Army: The Civil War Letters of Thomas Henry Carter edited by Graham T. Dozier (UNC Pr, 2014).

Rising from battery to battalion commander, Carter was one of the stars of the ANV artillery service. Drawn from his extensive military experiences, the writings collected in the book (in the form of 100 letters home to his wife) serve as important primary source material. Keen commentary on high ranking ANV officers, campaigns fought, and home front issues are cited as key strengths of the letters.

3. The Coal River Valley in the Civil War: West Virginia Mountains, 1861 by Michael B. Graham (The Hist Pr, 2014).

Students of the 1861 campaigns in western Virginia should be excited about this promising looking study, which covers a number of obscure clashes (e.g. Boone Court House, Coal River, Pond Fork, and Kanawha Gap) fought along the economically important Coal River watershed. I was pleased to find that the author commissioned some really nice maps, as well.

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