Thursday, December 30, 2010

Booknotes III (December '10)

New Arrivals:

1. The Reconstruction of Mark Twain: How a Confederate Bushwhacker Became the Lincoln of Our Literature by Joe B. Fulton (LSU Pr, 2010).

Fulton, the author of three earlier scholarly Twain studies, here attempts to demonstrate that the man in white's personal and literary transformation (in terms of his views on Union, politics, and race) was much more rocky and lengthy than popularly believed.

2. More Damning than Slaughter: Desertion in the Confederate Army by Mark A. Weitz (U of Neb Pr, 2008).

This is the paperback reissue of the author's highly regarded 2005 title, a key volume in understanding the disastrous impact of large scale desertion on both the Confederate army and the social order and morale of the southern home front.

3. The Confederacy's Last Northern Offensive: Jubal Early, the Army of the Valley and the Raid on Washington by Steven Bernstein (McFarland, 2010).

This book provides an overview of the 1864 Confederate advance to the outskirts of the capital, as well as short summaries of subsequent Valley battles all the way through the final southern stand at Waynesboro in March 1865. Looks to be a synthesis of the published literature, with a handful of manuscript collections utilized.

4. From Battlefields Rising: How The Civil War Transformed American Literature by Randall Fuller (Oxford Univ Pr, 2011).

Fuller examines the impact of the war on three literary giants. As with Cynthia Wachtell's recent book about northern anti-war writing, we meet Hawthorne and Whitman here, but the inclusion of Emily Dickinson will make the book most worth reading, at least for me.

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