Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Booknotes - "The Timberclads in the Civil War"

Note on Booknotes: Rather than my usual practice of collecting new arrivals into a monthly or bi-monthly Booknotes posting, I've decided to give each incoming book a timelier post of its own as it arrives. As before, these are first impressions from a simple, quick eyeballing of the book, not reviews.

The Timberclads in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga, and Tyler on the Western Waters(McFarland, 2008) is a new book by Myron J. Smith. Readers might recall I was an admirer of his previous work [link to review], a monumental study that combined a biography of LeRoy Fitch with a densely detailed recounting of waterborne logistics and warfare along the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers. This new volume is equally massive in scope, with the same voluminous notes and deep bibliography, but takes readers through a history of the famous timberclad gunboats that plied the rivers criss-crossing the western and trans-Mississippi theaters. Tons of photos and illustrations, but, unfortunately, it looks like it suffers from the same map deficiencies that Smith's previous study had.