Friday, October 31, 2008

Booknotes (Oct 08)

Other acquisitions or review copies received this month:

Battle At Sand Creek: The Military Perspective by Gregory Michno (Upton & Sons, 2004). This is one of the more original contextualizations of the Sand Creek tragedy that I've come across. I'm only halfway through so I'll withhold judgment about its overall effectiveness.

Mine Run: A Campaign of Lost Opportunities October 21. 1863-May 1, 1864 by Martin Graham and George F. Skoch (H.E. Howard, 1987). Not definitive by any means, but remains one of the better volumes from the uneven Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders series.

Incident at San Augustine Springs: A Hearing for Major Isaac Lynde by Richard Wadsworth (Yucca Tree Press, 2002). While fully acknowledging the mistakes of the Ft. Fillmore commander, Wadsworth makes a fairly persuasive case that the blame for the disastrous loss of Lynde's New Mexico command is more properly widespread. At the very least, we can put to bed the myth that whiskey was a major factor in the breakdown of discipline in the ranks of the regulars. That said, one cannot escape the truth of Lynde's responsibility for his command's dissolution in the field. The dry, repetitive nature of the book will not appeal to the more casually interested reader, but it's a worthwhile study for students of the New Mexico Campaign.

Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer (Twelve, 2008). Biographies of paired contemporaries seem to be a popular genre these days. Some heavy hitters provide the jacket blurbs for this one.

A Scratch With the Rebels: A Pennsylvania Roundhead and a South Carolina Cavalier by Carolyn Poling Schriber (Mechling, 2008). This book is a history of the Battle of Secessionville built around the stories of James McCaskey of the 100th Pennsylvania and the 24th South Carolina's Gus Smythe.

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