Friday, June 24, 2016

Booknotes: The Second Battle of Winchester

New Arrival:
The Second Battle of Winchester: The Confederate Victory that Opened the Door to Gettysburg by Eric J. Wittenberg and Scott L. Mingus Sr. (Savas Beatie, 2016).

This looks to be the 2nd Winchester study that will fulfill the most demanding expectations and stand the test of time. Wittenberg and Mingus "produce the most in-depth and comprehensive study of Second Winchester ever written. Their balanced effort, based upon scores of archival and previously unpublished diaries, newspaper accounts, letter collections, other firsthand sources, and a deep familiarity with the terrain in and around Winchester and the lower Shenandoah Valley, explores the battle from every perspective." It's a thick tome created from a massive body of primary source materials, with the main narrative approaching 450 pages. As we've come to expect from the publisher's ever growing line of major battle and campaign studies, maps are very plentiful. There's also a pair of driving tours (one for the immediate battle, and an extended version) along with detailed orders of battle.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for mentioning this one, Drew.

    As you know, I have read my share of Civil War studies, and frankly I am embarrassed for never having realized just how complex, intriguing, and important Second Winchester was in the overall Gettysburg story. How it has escaped real coverage for so long is a head-scratcher.

    I wasn't all that excited when it was first pitched to me, but when I began working my way through the manuscript, I realized the small amount of ink other historians have been willing to spill on it-- "Ewell did well at Winchester and it seemed to confirm Lee's trust in him"--was a terrible injustice to all concerned. There is so much more to the story, and Ewell's role, while important, is but a small slice of what Second Winchester was all about. And then all those suffering civilians . . .

    I hope your readers enjoy it.

    --tps

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  2. Thank you, Drew. Eric and I are glad that Ted believed our pitch that this would fill a gaping hole in the existing Gettysburg historiography and would prove to be the definitive account. We are very pleased with how the book turned out, and thank you for mentioning it!

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