Monday, April 27, 2015

Booknotes VII (Apr '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Lone Star Blue and Gray: Essays on Texas and the Civil War, Second Edition edited by Ralph A. Wooster and Robert Wooster (Tex State Hist Assoc, 2015).

If I were to hand out grades for such things, the TSHA would get a rare 'A' for packaging, inside and out. The first edition of Lone Star Blue and Gray came out in 1995 and it remains a useful compilation of journal articles. With 11 new essays out of 16 total, this new Second Edition largely transforms the volume, addressing subjects and themes (e.g. ethnicity, gender, and historical memory) of current interest to many scholars. Given how very different the two versions are I would heartily recommend owning both.

2. Sea of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley by Brian Hicks (Spry Publishing, 2015).

"Sea of Darkness recounts the most historically accurate narrative of the sinking and eventual recovery ever written. Hicks has been given unprecedented access to all the main characters involved in the discovery, raising, and restoration of the Hunley. ... Sea of Darkness offers new, never-before-published evidence on the cause of the Hunley’s sinking, providing readers a tantalizing behind-the-scenes look inside the historic submarine." The book is a popular style narrative that weaves together Hunley history with the modern efforts to find, raise, and preserve the vessel.

3. In the Land of the Living: Wartime Letters by Confederates from the Chattahoochee Valley of Alabama and Georgia edited by Ray Mathis, with Douglas Clare Purcell (Mercer UP, 2015).

"This unique book, originally published in a limited edition in 1982 and out of print for many years, is the most comprehensive collection of Civil War letters written by residents of Southeastern Alabama and Southwestern Georgia to be published." The 2nd edition has a new preface. Notable changes include a new trim size format (the original was oversize, apparently) and some minor editing changes to standardize the entries. The body of the material remains the same. The selected letters are representative of Alabama and Georgia soldiers and grouped by chapter across theater and time [Florida and Virginia, 1861; Tennessee and Kentucky, 1862; Virginia, 1862-63; Tennessee 1863-64; Georgia, 1864; Virginia, 1864-65].

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