Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Booknotes III (Oct '14)

New Arrivals:

1. The Battle of Pilot Knob: Thunder in Arcadia Valley by Bryce A. Suderow and R. Scott House (SEMO Univ Pr, 2014).

Suderow's long out of print Thunder in Arcadia Valley [title and subtitle are reversed in the new edition co-authored with Scott House] has enjoyed a well deserved reputation as the best account of the Battle of Pilot Knob. Significantly updated with new source material and maps, the revised and expanded 2nd edition is twice the length of the original.

2. Civil War Boston: Home Front and Battlefield by Thomas H. O'Connor (Northeastern UP, 2014).

This is a new paperback edition of O'Connor's classic 1997 social and political history of Civil War Boston. The "narrative follows the experiences of four distinctive and significant groups of people who formed antebellum Boston—businessmen, Irish Catholic immigrants, African Americans, and women. Interweaving vivid portraits of the Boston community with major political and military events of the Civil War, O’Connor relates how the war forever changed lives, disrupted homes, altered work habits, reshaped political allegiances, and transformed ideas."

3. Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History edited by Theodore J. Karamanski and Eileen M. McMahon (Ohio Univ Pr, 2014).

Ohio is in the middle of publishing an excellent series of Civil War manuscript material selections pertaining to various states [I had positive things to say about the Kansas and Missouri entries]. Now they are adopting a similar format for the city of Chicago. At 300 pages of smallish-font text, there is the same broad reach of subject matter and themes. Sections cover the 1860 elections, early recruitment, home/battle front connections, politics, POW camps, business, immigrant/free black/women's perspectives, and how the city dealt with the war's aftermath. There's even a guide to Civil War Chicago sites.

Sorry about the slow pace of reviews lately. The unusually barren summer that I've complained about too many times already emptied the CWBA reserve banks of the late draft reviews necessary to keep a steady schedule. A new one should be up by tomorrow.

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