Monday, August 13, 2012

Booknotes II (August '12)

New Arrivals:

1. Robert E. Lee At War: The Mind and Method of a Great American Soldier, Volume One: Tragic Secessionist by Scott Bowden (Military History Press, 2012).

This is the first of an 8-volume(!) military biography of Lee. The publisher has more information here.  They also have a sample chapter.  MHP pulled out all the stops on materials and presentation (it even has a ribbon marker).  I am not familiar with Bowden's existing Lee scholarship, not having read his earlier Gettysburg book Last Chance for Victory

2. So You Think You Know Antietam? The Stories Behind America's Bloodiest Day by James and Suzanne Gindlesperger (John F. Blair, Pub., 2012).

The Antietam companion to the pair's So You Think You Know Gettysburg? Intended primarily for a "casual" audience, the guidebook offers Antietam trivia and stories, and features the battlefield's 96 monuments. It has 300 color photos, as well as maps and GPS data for visitors.

3. Thomas J. Wood: A Biography of the Union General in the Civil War by Dan Lee (McFarland, 2012).

According to the back cover, this is the first biography of Wood, the Union general best known for the creation of the catastrophic gap in the federal lines through which the Confederates poured on the second day of Chickamauga.


  1. John FoskettAugust 14, 2012

    Drew: Hopefully Bowden's book is more objective than his Gettysburg collaboration with Ward. That one has lots of nice, thought-provoking arguments but at the end of the day I felt that when reading it I was taking a "busman's holiday" from my day job as an appellate attrney. I know a good piece of advocacy when I see it. That sort of approach can make for one interesting volume but not eight.

    1. Thanks, John. That's the sentiment expressed in the handful of negative reviews on Amazon, too. I can overlook the advocacy stuff if the underlying arguments are sound and promote ideas I haven't already encountered in the literature ad infinitum. But, like you say, that type of book carried over 8 volumes would indeed get old. We shall see. I am definitely going to take a look at it.

    2. John FoskettAugust 15, 2012

      I look forward to the review - the Gettysburg book has, as I indicated, some nice arguments but several get pressed too far and the ultimate impression is that the loss at Gettysburg was the fault of everyone involved except Marse Robert. (And thanks for the "heads up" on the Brice's Crossroads book - I ordered it and a brief skim seems consistent with the review).

  2. Hello Drew

    Looking forward to your impressions of ROBERT E. LEE AT WAR - Bowden. Based on the price of this volume and the set having 8 volumes this could become a pricey set.

    Don Hallstrom


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