Thursday, September 30, 2010

Booknotes V (September '10)

New Arrivals:

1. Fort Davidson and the Battle of Pilot Knob: Missouri's Alamo by Walter E. Busch (The History Press, 2010).

This is not a battle history. According to the author, his Pilot Knob project was originally to be simply a compilation of memorial association booklets, and they do comprise the bulk of the book along with about 60 pages of author narrative.

2. A Perfect Gibraltar: The Battle for Monterrey, Mexico, 1846 by Christopher D. Dishman (U. of Okla Pr, 2010).

Incorporating quite a bit of Mexican source material (mostly published), A Perfect Gibraltar is a worthwhile looking medium length study of the Battle of Monterrey. Unfortunately, there are no original maps (argh!).


  1. Drew - I am the author of A Perfect Gibraltar. I hope you enjoyed the book. You make a good point about original maps, unfortunately I only had so much room for illustrations in the book and decided to include maps from the period - many of which have never been published before and are only found in the LOC. However, some of them are difficult to read. I hope you enjoyed it otherwise and I would encourage you to visit my web site at

    for additional information.

  2. And one other comment - I spent two weeks digging through archives in Mexico for original source material. I included quite a bit of unpublished material - more than many Mexican War books, but one challenge is that many of the soldiers were illiterate and did not keep letters, journals, etc; also, those who could read and write were the officers who were disgraced by the loss so they refused to write about it.

  3. Prof. Dishman,
    Thanks for visiting. No, I haven't read the book yet. The "Booknotes" posts on CWBA simply note new book arrivals and first impressions. I do plan on reviewing it in the future.

    You hit on the most significant problem of reproducing period maps. The originals are on large sheets and, when shrunken down to the degree that will allow it to fit onto a half page of the typical 8vo history book, become largely unreadable.

  4. Enjoyed "A Perfect Gibraltar" greatly - read it cover-to-cover in about 3 days. Wish more Mexican War battles had studies of this depth and quality.


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