Saturday, May 4, 2013

Booknotes II (May '13)

New Arrivals:

1. Los Angeles in Civil War Days, 1860-1865 by John W. Robinson (U of Oklahoma Pr, 2013).

When I first heard that this book was in the pipeline, I wrongly assumed it was a new title. A first edition of 300 copies was published 30 years ago by Dawson's Book Shop in LA. Used copies are extremely difficult to find so UOP is to be commended for reprinting this scarcity.

2. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo (Knopf, 2013).

It is easy to imagine that a Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College might be bitten by the bug carrying the 'I think I'll write a big Gettysburg battle book' virus, but seeing Guelzo's name attached to a 500 page campaign history is surprising nonetheless. Good for him for stepping out of the career comfort zone. The publisher makes the lofty claim that: "Of the half-dozen full-length histories of the battle of Gettysburg written over the last century, none dives down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice".

3. The History of the Sixteenth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Volume 1): We Were Spoiling for a Fight April 1861-August 1862, The History of the Sixteenth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Volume II): No Hope of Getting Out Alive - Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and Chattanooga September 1862-December 1863, and The Battle of Perryville and the Sixteenth Tennessee Infantry Regiment: A Re-evaluation by Jamie Gillum (Author, 2011-12).

A self-published regimental history trilogy for the Confederate 16th Tennessee VI, the third volume is a micro-history of the unit's participation in the Battle of Perryville. We know how these things usually go, but delving into this set looks worthwhile.


  1. Drew, I thought Jamie Gillum's name looked familiar. Sure enough, I realized he authored a book on Spring Hill, one I found to be very well done. If this trilogy is of similar quality, then anyone debating on whether or not to pull the trigger should do so without hesitation.


    1. The third book especially is a unique, or at least out of the ordinary, approach.

  2. Hi Drew

    I'm sure you have quite a list of titles your plan to review. Do you think you will get to Guelzo's Gettysburg?

    Which of the full length studies is your favorite? I think general thinking would place Coddington at the top of the list? I do think if there is one single volume to read it should be that one. However, I also enjoyed Sear's recent title. I've not had a chance to read Trudeau's.

    Don H.

    1. Don,
      The chances would be much higher if it had been released in February. I always get swamped this time of year, with the new spring titles coming at the same time as the many winter ones that missed their original release time (Fall/Winter catalogs always seem to have the softer dates of the two). There are just subjects that interest me more.

      Coddington remains my favorite, but I have fewer points of comparison as I haven't read Sears or Trudeau.


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