Monday, March 19, 2012

Booknotes V (March '12)

New Arrivals:

1. Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns, and Pearls by James P. Delgado (TAMU Pr, 2012).

Inventor Julius Kroehl had the visionary idea of building a deep diving submarine for the Union navy. Unfortunately, it never saw service during the war and the completed ship ended up with a less illustrious maritime history with Panama's pearl industry. The author encountered the wreck while on vacation and, unsatisfied with the conjectures of the locals as to what it was, launched an investigation of his own. Sounds interesting.  I'm curious about its design, and how it differs from the shallow depth designs of the era like the Hunley and the Alligator.

2. Still the Arena of Civil War: Violence and Turmoil in Reconstruction Texas, 1865-1874 edited by Kenneth W. Howell (Univ of N Texas Pr, 2012).

Sixteen essays grace this volume. Topics include: "the role of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the occupying army, focusing on both sides of the violence. Several contributors analyze the origins of the Ku Klux Klan and its operations in Texas, how the Texas State Police attempted to quell the violence, and Tejano adjustment to Reconstruction. Other chapters focus on violence against African-American women, the failure of Governor Throckmorton to establish law and order, and the role of newspaper editors influencing popular opinion. Finally, several contributors study Reconstruction by region in the Lower Brazos River Valley and in Lavaca County."

3. Antebellum Jefferson, Texas: Everyday Life in an East Texas Town by Jacques D. Bagur (Univ of N Texas Pr, 2012).

A massive 600+ page history of a port community located north of Marshall, Texas and west of Shreveport, Louisiana and situated to take advantage of Red River steamboat commerce. I don't know if there is much in the way of extension into the Civil War years, but the table of contents seems to indicate coverage of every conceivable subject related to the town's antebellum development.

4. Cape Fear Confederates: The 18th North Carolina Regiment in the Civil War by James Gillispie (McFarland, 2012).

The regiment saddled with the unenviable weight of having loosed the friendly fire volley that cut down Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, the 18th instead deserves to be recognized for its long service with the ANV from the Peninsula to Appomattox. Unlike many other regimental histories from this publisher, the book does not include a full roster.

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