Thursday, July 23, 2015

Booknotes II (July '15)

New Arrivals:

1. A Scientific Way of War: Antebellum Military Science, West Point, and the Origins of American Military Thought by Ian Clarence Hope (Univ of Neb Pr, 2015).

"A Scientific Way of War analyzes how the doctrine of military science evolved from teaching specific Napoleonic applications to embracing subjects that were useful for war in North America. Drawing from a wide array of materials, Ian C. Hope refutes earlier charges of a lack of professionalization in the antebellum American army and an overreliance on the teachings of Swiss military theorist Antoine de Jomini. Instead, Hope shows that inculcation in West Point’s American military curriculum eventually came to provide the army with an officer corps that shared a common doctrine and common skill in military problem solving." The book argues for the existence of a distinct American way of war that developed throughout the antebellum period. Authored by a high ranking Canadian army officer, the professional perspective of an outsider looking in might also prove interesting.

2. The First Battle for Petersburg: The Attack and Defense of the Cockade City, June 9, 1864 by William Glenn Robertson (Savas Beatie, 2015).

Another new Petersburg related Sesquicentennial edition that has been revised and expanded from the original, Robertson's book covers the June 9 battle. By pairing Robertson with Sean Chick's recent book covering June 15-18, readers will gain a fine education in the initial botched Union attempts by both the James and Potomac armies to take Petersburg by direct assault.

3. Grant's Last Battle: The Story Behind the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Chris Mackowski (Savas Beatie, 2015).

For the prolific Emerging Civil War series, this study of the writing and publication of Grant's memoirs is a rare departure from histories and tours of battles and battlefields.

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