Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Booknotes (May '12)

New Arrivals:

1. Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln by Jason Emerson (SIU Pr, 2012).

By the typical measures of late Victorian and Gilded Age societies, Robert Lincoln had a very successful professional and public life. He was a CEO, a US ambassador, and Secretary of War, although, as the eldest son of Old Abe, doors of opportunity open up to you that are unavailable to the masses. Emerson's bio is a massive affair that promises much in the way of the new. One thing that struck me from the publisher's description is the book's claim to provide "new details about Robert’s role as his father’s confidant during the brutal years of the Civil War." My knowledge of the father-son dynamic between the two is limited, but I was always given to understand that their relationship was not a close one.

2. Captain Joseph Boyce and the 1st Missouri Infantry, CSA edited by William C. Winter (Missouri History Museum, 2011).

First published as a Missouri Republican serial of lectures to the Southern Historical and Benevolent Society of St. Louis, Boyce's account of his leadership of Company D appears for the first time in book form. Winter, the author of a fine guidebook to Civil War St. Louis, provides chapter introductions as well as footnotes, roster, and index.

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