Friday, June 13, 2014

Booknotes II (June '14)

New Arrivals:

1. General David S. Stanley, USA: A Civil War Biography by Dennis W. Belcher (McFarland, 2014).

This military biography of Stanley comprehensively covers his Civil War service in the Trans-Mississippi and western theaters, at Wilson's Creek, Island No. 10, the Corinth Siege, Iuka, the Battle of Corinth, Stones River, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Atlanta, and Franklin [at the last place he was wounded and later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions]. It also deals with his postwar military career as well as his bitter feuds with fellow Union officers. The fine Cox bio that I reviewed recently did not paint a particularly favorable picture of Stanley's character (or Opdyke's for that matter) when it came to the unseemly struggle to decide who would go down in history possessing the lion's share of credit for Union victory at Franklin. One assumes this book will offer the flip side of the coin.

2. Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast by Andrew W. Hall (The Hist Pr, 2014).

The title implies a broader study, but the focus of the book appears to be largely limited to the port of Galveston. That said, it looks good and I'm glad to see a Texas title from the publisher as I don't recall too many from their general Civil War catalog or the Civil War Sesquicentennial series.

3. Soldiering for Freedom: How the Union Army Recruited, Trained, and Deployed the U.S. Colored Troops by Bob Luke & John David Smith (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014).

I'm unfamiliar with other titles in the "How Things Worked" series, but the subtitle is a good indication of the content of this particular volume. Five chapters explore how black soldiers were initially blocked from volunteering, how they were eventually recruited, what it took for white officers to learn how to effectively lead black soldiers, how the black soldiers were trained, and how they fought.

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