Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Booknotes III (Aug '15)

New Arrivals:

1. The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War by Mark Tooley (Thomas Nelson Pr, 2015).

The provocative title seems to suggest a success potential for the last minute debates in Washington designed to avert war higher than the book's author actually believes (or at least that's what I gathered by skimming the final few pages). Tooley, the president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, focuses a great deal on the influences of the clergy.

2. Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg: A Guide to the Most Famous Attack in American History by James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts (Savas Beatie, 2015).

Hessler and Motts team up with cartographer Steven Stanley for this collection of four in-depth tours (the Confederate battle line, Pickett's Charge, the Pettigrew-Trimble charge, and the Union line) related to the key event of the battle's third day. The book also includes "dozens of full-color original maps, scores of battlefield and other historic photographs, a unique mix of rare human interest stories, discussions of leadership controversies, a full Order of Battle, and a rare collection of artifacts directly related to the charge."

3. The Gettysburg Cyclorama: The Turning Point of the Civil War on Canvas by Chris Brenneman and Sue Boardman with photographer Bill Dowling (Savas Beatie, 2015).

"This in-depth study of the history of the cyclorama discusses every aspect of this treasure, which was first displayed in 1884 and underwent a massive restoration in 2008. Coverage includes not only how it was created and what it depicts, but the changes it has undergone and where and how it was moved. Authors Chris Brenneman and Sue Boardman also discuss in fascinating detail how the painting was interpreted by Civil War veterans in the late 19th Century.." I am looking forward to examining the painting details rendered clearer by Dowling's up-close digital photography (before now, my best views of Philippoteaux’s work were probably those reproduced for the Time-Life series of books).

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