Thursday, May 28, 2015

Booknotes V (May '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Resisting Sherman: A Confederate Surgeon's Journal and the Civil War in the Carolinas, 1865 edited by Thomas Heard Robertson, Jr. (Savas Beatie, 2015).

Dr. Francis Marion Robertson "kept a daily journal for the final three months of the Civil War while traveling more than 900 miles through four states. His account looks critically at the decisions of generals from a middle ranking officer’s viewpoint, describes army movements from a ground level perspective, and places the military campaign within the everyday events of average citizens..." "Editor and descendant Thomas Robertson followed in his ancestor’s footsteps, conducting exhaustive research to identify the people, route, and places mentioned in the journal." A prologue describes the situation in South Carolina at the outset of the campaign (the journal begins with the evacuation of Charleston) and offers a short biography of Dr. Robertson. In addition to the more typical footnote contents, there's something of a touring element involved here, too, with additional notations documenting Robertson's route traveled (using modern references) over the duration of each journal entry. Informational sidebars, photos and maps also abound.

2. John Brown in Memory and Myth by Michael Daigh (McFarland, 2015).

A new Brown biography in which "his life and legacy are discussed as a study in metaphor and power and the nature of historical memory." Much like Brown himself this review copy led a wandering existence, its label indicating it was mailed a full month ago.

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