Thursday, February 14, 2008

Booknotes (Feb 08)

Regular rundown of book purchases or review copies received so far this month:

Vital Rails: The Civil War History of the Charleston & Savannah Railroad by H. David Stone (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2008). I've been following this one for a while (here) and can't wait to dive into it. A beautiful book as well. Recently, Dimitri posted some interesting perspective after reading the galley.

Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo (Simon & Schuster, 2008). With the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates coming this year, a number of books aiming for broad consumption have been released already..with more surely to come. I would imagine that this one will be at or near the top when all is said and done.

Frontier Defense in the Civil War: Texas' Rangers and Rebels by David Paul Smith (Texas A&M Univ. Press, 1994). This is an essential addition to any Civil War Texas library. A much belated one to my own.

Missouri's Confederate: Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Creation of Southern Identity in the Border West by Christopher Phillips (University of Missouri Press, 2000). I am an admirer of Phillips's biography of Nathaniel Lyon, and am looking forward to his examination of Missouri's 'other side of the coin'.

Peacekeeping on the Plains: Army Operations in Bleeding Kansas by Tony R. Mullis (University of Missouri Press, 2004). Original in focus and intrigued by the perspective arising from the author's professional background, I've been wanted to read this one since its publication.

Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession by Russell McClintock (University of North Carolina Press, 2008). I was a little premature in listing this arrival back in January. I am greatly looking forward to this one. So many secession studies concentrate on the viewpoints of the radical elements of Confederate society and the response of the Lincoln administration. More recently, Nelson Lankford expanded our regional understanding with his excellent discussion of the debates among influential thought leaders of the Upper South. Hopefully, McClintock's book will provide us with a broad cross section of northern opinion.

Campaign in Western Virginia by George B. McClellan (Mark S. Phillips Publishing, 2007). I've commented on this one already (here). It can also be found at one of my favorite regional publishers, The West Virginia Book Company.

Bloody Dawn by Thomas Goodrich (Kent State Univ. Press, 1991). In my opinion, this is the best historical account of the "Lawrence Massacre". Among Goodrich's many publications, it is also his most detailed and complete book (IMO, anyway). Wife, Deb Goodrich, has a feisty, entertaining blog with a fair amount of Civil War content as well.

Civil War Tours of the Low Country: Beaufort, Hilton Head, & Charleston, South Carolina by David D'arcy (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2008). I caught this one from an entry on Dimitri's Civil War Book News a short while back. Not sure what to make of it (or its predecessor below) yet. The emphasis appears to be on antebellum architecture [D'arcy is a real estate professional so the focus isn't surprising].

Civil War Walking Tour of Savannah by David D'Arcy & Ben Mammina (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2006).


  1. Hi Drew,

    I didn't know that Guelzo wrote new book so thanks for a link to it. His "Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation" is excellent so I must get this one as well.

    Alex K.

  2. Hi Alex,
    Go for it; BTW, do you have many problems getting CW books shipped to Poland?

  3. Generally I’ve no problems at all – Amazon is pretty solid and I usually receive all ordered stuff in 9-12 days. When there is a need to order a book from other place I give this job to local internet bookstore and patiently waiting for a book - in this way for example I purchased a copy of Gottschalk’s book on Missouri Brigade from some forgotten bookshop in Arizona:)

    BTW, living so far from US I greatly appreciate blogs like your as I can learn from it what is going on in ACW society.


  4. Hi! I was researching the best books on the Trans Mississippi West Campaign in the Civil War, and was wondering if you had any suggestions--I stumbled upon your blog while researching. It seems that you are pretty well read in Civil War books. Thanks!

  5. Julie,
    You might want to just browse through my reviews (go to the sidebar on the right side of the page, under Categories and click on the T-M theater book reviews). Also, if you click on the "Reading Lists" link and scroll down that page you'll find several lists of T-M books I have recommended in the past.



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