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Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Tennessee's Civil War Battlefields: A Guide to Their History and Preservation"

With so many battles large and small fought within the borders of Tennessee, guidebook authors will never lack for material. Randy Bishop's Tennessee's Civil War Battlefields: A Guide to Their History and Preservation [(Pelican Publishing, 2010).  Softcover, maps, photos, notes, bibliography, index.  456 Pp.  $25] is more comprehensive than most, devoting nearly as much attention to the comparatively obscure as it does to the great clashes. Chapters cover Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, Island No. 10, Britton's Lane, Davis Bridge, Hartsville, Salem Cemetery, Parker's Crossroads, Murfreesboro, Thompson's Station, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Ft. Pillow, Johnsonville, Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville, and more. As one might guess from the book cover and the battle selection, General Forrest's exploits figure large in the author's interpretation of the war in Tennessee.

Each chapter provides a general outline of the events of each battle, combining narrative with excerpts from Union and Confederate participant accounts. Preservation efforts at each site are also discussed, specifically crediting important individuals and organizations.

As a general rule, readers will not find Bishop's book wanting in the provision of visual aids. While the reproductions can be a bit faded in places, the cartography is far better and more detailed than what one normally finds in broad themed Civil War guidebooks. All are creations of Blue & Gray's David E. Roth, and are adapted from the feature articles and tour guides from his fine magazine. In addition to the maps, a multitude of period photographs of persons and places, as well as images of modern landscapes, are included.

Tennessee's Civil War Battlefields
provides a solid popular guide to the history and preservation of sites located across the Volunteer State. In addition to its coverage of the larger and better known battles, it also draws reader attention toward many smaller but just as important plots of hallowed ground under threat from modern development.

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