Saturday, July 18, 2009

20 books of interest from the 'second season' of this year's Civil War publishing (Part Two)

This is the second half of my list of Fall/Winter 2009-10 titles of interest [see Part One], plus a few paperback reprints:

11. Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline in the Union Army by Steven J. Ramold (N. Illinois, October).

Sure, the subject's been covered in scattered places, but an up-to-date book length synthesis should be well received. Excerpt from the publisher's description: "Unable to prosecute the vast number of soldiers who committed offenses, professional officers reached a form of populist accommodation with their volunteer soldiers. Unable to eradicate or prevent certain offenses, the army tried simply to manage them or to just ignore them. Instead of applying traditionally harsh punishments for specific crimes as they had done in the antebellum period, the army instead mollified its men by extending amnesty, modifying sentences, and granting liberal leniency to many soldiers who otherwise deserved the harshest of penalties." In my view, enthusiasts and scholars continually misinterpret the policy vs. practice aspects of The Hard Hand of War, taking from it a much too broad interpretation of the degree of restraint among Union soldiers.

12. U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth by Joan Waugh (UNC, October).

13. Army Life: From a Soldier’s Journal by A. O. Marshall, ed. Robert G. Schultz (Arkansas, November).

Looks like Schultz will have two books out this year. The journal of Marshall, a private in the 33rd Illinois, should prove useful for students of the Trans-Mississippi theater and the Vicksburg Campaign.

14. Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Missouri in the Civil War eds. William Garrett Piston and Thomas P. Sweeney (Arkansas, November).

I reviewed the Tennessee volume from the Portraits of Conflict series a while back. The Missouri entry has apparently been in the works for a long time, and I am glad to finally see it scheduled for later this year.

15. Missouri's War: The Civil War in Documents ed. Silvana R. Siddali (Ohio, November).

I haven't examined any of the other books in this series from Univ. of Ohio Press, but my interest in this one should be obvious to any frequent reader of this blog.

16. Cavalry of the Heartland: The Mounted Forces of the Army of Tennessee by Edward Longacre (Westholme, November).

17. Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations by Howard Jones (UNC, December).

I'm not sure when the last complete scholarly overview of Civil War foreign relations, as seen from both sides, was published, but these types of books are always useful.

18. Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator by Sam Davis Elliott (LSU, January '10).

20. Justice in Blue and Gray: A Legal History of the Civil War by Stephen C. Neff (Harvard, February '10).

Like the diplomacy study above, this one looks comprehensive. From the publisher: "Neff examines the lawfulness of secession, executive and legislative governmental powers, and laws governing the conduct of war. Whether the United States acted as a sovereign or a belligerent had legal consequences, including treating Confederates as rebellious citizens or foreign nationals in war. Property questions played a key role, especially when it came to the process of emancipation. Executive detentions and trials by military commissions tested civil liberties, and the end of the war produced a raft of issues on the status of the Southern states, the legality of Confederate acts, clemency, and compensation. A compelling aspect of the book is the inclusion of international law, as Neff situates the conflict within the general laws of war and details neutrality issues, where the Civil War broke important new legal ground."

Paperback Reprints:
* Red River Campaign of 1864 and the Loss by the Confederacy of the Civil War by Michael J. Forsyth (McFarland, July?).

* Civil War Macon: The History of a Confederate City by Richard William Iobst (Mercer, September).

* Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington by B.F. Cooling (Scarecrow, October). There will also be a new hardcover edition from this publisher [both priced at a premium - $75 list vs. $50 for the paperback].

[Back to Part One]


  1. Glad to see Cooling's book again. I've been trying for a good, cheap copy for a long time.

  2. Same here, Harry. If you've been checking over the past year, the three-figure prices on the earlier editions have come down significantly since the announcement of this new one (which has been considerably delayed). Nevertheless, I'd rather have the shiny new one.

  3. Interesting to see what Waugh will bring to the table about Grant. He is one of my favorite Civil War personalities to study so I know about the ups and downs that his reputation has taken. It will be interesting to see what new things she has to say. Grant has had some excellent work done on him by Lewis, Catton, and Simpson. And some very controversial work done by McFeeley, Perret, and Smith.


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