1. The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters by James B. McPherson (Oxford UP, 2015).
A mixture of light literature survey and author commentary, this set of brief essays explores California's role in the lead up to war, the Civil War's death and material toll, the justness of the Union cause, British diplomacy and neutrality, contrasting profiles of USN admirals Farragut and Du Pont, the Lincoln-McClellan relationship, Lincoln as C-in-C, and more.
2. The Vicksburg Campaign: Strategy, Battles and Key Figures by Kevin Dougherty (McFarland, 2015).
The book offers a high level overview of the Vicksburg Campaign and discusses the personalities involved. From the publisher: "The action is traced from Farragut's failed navy-only efforts to bypass the city, through Grant's botched series of canal schemes, to his brilliant series of maneuvers that left Pemberton and his garrison besieged for more than 40 days. Key Union and Confederate players are identified and the strategic circumstances that made Vicksburg the lynchpin of the Western Theater are described. Appendices include information about Vicksburg National Military Park, the Federal and Confederate Orders of Battle and the Medal of Honor at Vicksburg."