Thursday, March 4, 2010

Booknotes (March '10 )

New additions this month:

1. A Pictorial Guide to West Virginia's Civil War Sites and Related Information by Stan Cohen (Pictorial Histories, 2003).

Cohen, as author or co-author, has published a number of pictorial studies of the Civil War in West Virginia. This one is not a tour guide with detailed directions, but more of an illustrated (photos, drawings, maps) encyclopedia of sites, organized by county.

2. A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia by Zack C. Waters and James C. Edmonds (U. of Alabama Press, 2010).

Florida's military and economic contribution to the war is getting more attention lately, and I believe this is the first modern brigade history of those men that fought with the ANV, the "Florida Brigade". Perhaps the prior neglect was at least partially due to the small brigade lacking the press coverage and signature moments in battle by which so many other regiments and brigades from other states are recognized.

3. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War by Michael A. Halleran (U. of Alabama Press).

Far from providing a mere collection of anecdotes, Halleran appears to have researched the topic well and applied a high evidentiary threshold (he's a lawyer by profession) to his examination of the famous Masonic stories that abound in the literature.

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