Sunday, September 27, 2015

Booknotes V (Sept '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Cold Harbor to the Crater: The End of the Overland Campaign edited by Gary W. Gallagher and Caroline E. Janney (UNC Pr, 2015).

Cold Harbor to the Crater is the decade dormant rebooting of the venerable Military Campaigns of the Civil War series, which retains the eastern theater exclusivity and adds Janney as co-editor. "The contributors [in addition to the editors, Keith Bohannon, Stephen Cushman, Keith Harris, Robert E.L. Krick, Kevin Levin, Kathryn Shively Meier, Gordon Rhea, and Joan Waugh] assess the campaign from a variety of perspectives, examining strategy and tactics, the performances of key commanders on each side, the centrality of field fortifications, political repercussions in the United States and the Confederacy, the experiences of civilians caught in the path of the armies, and how the famous battle of the Crater has resonated in historical memory." Now that the series has been revived, plans are underway for continuing on to Appomattox in the next volume and then backtracking to previously passed over First and Second Bull Run.

2. The Chickamauga Campaign - Glory or the Grave: The Breakthrough, the Union Collapse, and the Defense of Horseshoe Ridge, September 20, 1863 by David A. Powell (Savas Beatie, 2015).

Poor David. From the look of this one, he can expect more trenchant reader review comments like "focuses on minutiae", the book has "(t)oo much detail, too many names to keep track of", "very difficult to follow. It reads almost like a textbook" and "reader must memorise dozens of names AND which side they were on." Not from me, though. For those that can appreciate the sum total of an adult lifetime of research and its end product of sprawling definitiveness, this trilogy is for you. The Glory or the Grave narrative ends at page 708 before going right to the index, so (as the author has stated in numerous places) readers looking for a full bibliography and more supplementary material will have to await the third and final volume.

1 comment:

  1. John FoskettSeptember 28, 2015

    Drew: That's a loose employment of the term "reader". Amazon's review forum has nuked the fridge. Fortunately, Dave's targeting a higher level.


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