Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Booknotes (Jan '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Walking the Line: Rediscovering and Touring the Civil War Defenses on Modern Atlanta's Landscape With Photographs of All 36 Fort Sites, Plus Walking Trail Maps by Lawrence Krumenaker (Hermograph Press, 2014).

Like Richmond's, Atlanta's urban sprawl makes Civil War battlefield and site touring a challenge. Krumenaker's book is a color photograph, map, and text guide to sites related to Atlanta's inner defenses. The three walking tours appear well designed.

2. To Live and Die in Dixie: Native Northerners Who Fought for the Confederacy by David Ross Zimring (Univ of Tenn Pr, 2014).

This study promises the deepest examination yet of the motivations behind northern-born Confederates. "By analyzing the lives of northern emigrants in the South, Zimring deepens our understanding of the nature of sectional identity as well as the strength of Confederate nationalism. Focusing on a representative sample of emigrants, Zimring identifies two subgroups: "adoptive southerners," individuals born and raised in a state above the Mason-Dixon line but who but did not necessarily join the Confederacy after they moved south, and "Northern Confederates," emigrants who sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. After analyzing statistical data on states of origin, age, education, decade of migration, and, most importantly, the reasons why these individuals embarked for the South in the first place, Zimring goes on to explore the prewar lives of adoptive southerners, the adaptations they made with regard to slavery, and the factors that influenced their allegiances during the secession crisis. He also analyzes their contributions to the Confederate military and home front, the emergence of their Confederate identities and nationalism, their experiences as prisoners of war in the North, and the reactions they elicited from native southerners."

3. Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography: A Biography, 1806-1873 by John Grady (McFarland, 2015).

I know very little about Maury's place in Civil War history. If Grady's bibliography, which lists the most impressive collection of source material I've ever encountered in a McFarland-published biography, is any indication of the overall quality of the book it will be well worth reading.

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