Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Booknotes V (October '12)

New Arrivals:

1. The Golden State in the Civil War: Thomas Starr King, the Republican Party, and the Birth of Modern California by Glenna Matthews (Cambridge UP, 2012).

The publisher's description suggests multiple directions -- cultural, political, and military -- of Civil War California study. Things like this do not come along very often, and I am really looking forward to reading it. Given the massive price disparity between formats, a toast to Cambridge for sending me the hardcover edition, as well!

2. Battle of Stones River: The Forgotten Conflict Between the Confederate Army of Tennessee and the Union Army of the Cumberland by Larry J. Daniel (LSU Pr, 2012).

I am a big fan of Daniel's work, still considering his Shiloh work the best single volume on the subject. I will be curious to see what comes out of the strategic and political discussions, as the Stones River book is clearly not set up to compete with existing works in terms of operational & tactical detail.

3. Lincoln's Code: The Laws of War in American History by John Fabian Witt (Free Press, 2012).

Given the flood of books and articles in recent years pertaining to the irregular war as well as other Union military-southern civilian interactions, it's about time someone wrote a detailed history of the formulation of the Lieber Code and analysis of its practical application. This is not that, instead taking what appears to be a philosophical and cultural approach to the study of the American laws of war as first expressed during the Civil War in the Lieber Code and then carrying these ideas forward to the policies governing today's conflicts. Might be interesting.


  1. At that price, the closest I'll come to the Matthews book is your review. That's a might steep for 272 pages (unless some of Mr. Sutter's lode is buried inside).

    1. The PB ed. is reasonably priced.

    2. Missed that. Thanks (and I have yet to figure out why some academic presses get the Amazon discount and some do not).


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