Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Booknotes III (Jan 08)

Regular rundown of book purchases or review copies received this month (Part 3):

Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy: A Biography of Kentucky Soldier Jerome Clarke by Thomas Shelby Watson and Perry A. Brantley (McFarland, 2007). As the table of contents reveals, this book is also a much broader look at guerrilla warfare in Kentucky. Mundy is an interesting fictional persona. Not surprisingly, much like those that claim to this day that Bloody Bill and Jesse James did not meet their ends in the manner accepted by history, there are those that insist Mundy was indeed a guerrilla of the XY variety.

Huts and History: The Historical Archaeology of Military Encampment During the American Civil War edited by Clarence R. Geier, David G. Orr, and Matthew B. Reeves (University Press of Florida, 2006). I reviewed another archaeology book from this press (also edited by Geier) last year [link]. This one looks just as excellent.

How the South Could Have Won the Civil War: The Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat by Bevin Alexander (Crown, 2007).

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust (Knopf, 2008). The popular interest in this title comes as a bit of surprise (doubtless the author's recent high profile ascension to the presidency of Harvard has something to do with it -- but maybe it stems from a bargain with a certain M.). I haven't read any of Faust's previous book length studies (just a number of articles), but a skimming of some of the reviews of this title has piqued my curiosity.

First Manassas Battlefield Map Study by Ed Bearss (H.E. Howard, 2nd Ed., orig. 1991).
FBR is one of my favorite battles to keep up with, so I figured I should finally get my own new copy of this classic before it goes completely out-of-print. Harry would be proud.


  1. Drew,

    I am indeed proud of you! Bearss' map study is a must have for anyone looking to understand the battle. The maps are too few in nunmber and very jumbled, however. I recommend using it in conjunction with Hennessy's narrative of the battle in the Howard series (The First Battle of Manassas - An End to Innocence). And there are two small problems with the orders of battle, one of which I discussed in a post about Sherman's battery. Bearss' book is not light reading, but if it's detail you're looking for, that's the place to go.

  2. Harry,
    Thanks for your thoughts about the maps. Seeing as they were created long ago, I've often wondered what changes (if any) would be made to them with the current state of FBR scholarship taken into account.

    Generally, if a battle study is light reading, I'm not interested, so this right up my alley!


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