Monday, August 3, 2009

Booknotes (August '09)

Acquisitions or review copies received:

1. Lincoln's Political Generalsby David Work (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2009).

At least from what's conveyed by the jacket flap text, Work's conclusions appear to be very similar to those formulated by other historians (most recently and most notably by Thomas Goss in his The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and Generalship During the Civil War, a largely persuasive book that, in my opinion, framed and developed the debates well, but argued unevenly when it came to discussing professional vs. amateur military performance).

2. Warships of the Civil War Naviesby Paul H. Silverstone (Naval Institute Press, 1989).

Silverstone is the author of numerous naval reference books, and here he provides a good general reference book for the ships of both navies (including dates, construction specs, armaments, brief comments, photos, etc.). This edition is out-of-print but can still be obtained used at a very reasonable price. More recent editions of his work expand the range of information a bit, with more copious commentary, but are far more expensive [Routledge edition of Civil War Navies, 1855-1883 (2006) and Naval Institute Press's of same (2001)].

3. A History of the 15th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865 by James B. Clary (Broadfoot Publishing, 2009).

The second wave of SC Regimental Roster Series volumes has been released [I wrote a short review of the 14th Regiment study earlier], bringing the published total up to seven. Over the past couple years, I've heard great things about Clary's work on the 15th, so I anticipate a top-level series entry. The mailer that arrived with the book identified the other units currently under production. They are the 2nd, 5th, 8th, 12th, and 20th Infantries and the Stono Scouts. Also, in a bit of good news for Palmetto-philes, Brett mentioned earlier that the publisher is now confident that all 50 planned volumes will be published.

1 comment:

  1. I'm anxious to see Mr. Work's book on political generals. I think the internecine politics in the Union army is one of its most fascinating aspects. I read Mr. Goss's book, and came away with a better understanding of why political generals were important. Still to be written, I think, is a book about the political tensions, distrust and rivalry in the Union army command, and its effect on operations and battles.

    Larry Tagg, Author of _The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln_


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