Sunday, March 29, 2015

Booknotes IX (Mar '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness by Earl J. Hess (LSU Pr, 2015).

Many students of the Civil War have been craving a book of this type for a long time.  Hess attempts to cover a lot of ground in CWIT, discussing historical context, manuals, and training before moving on to detailed explorations of skirmishing, formations and maneuvers at various unit scales, and more. The volume concludes with a brief survey of post-war tactical developments. Thankfully, Hess's book is heavy on diagrams and case studies.

2. The Great Missouri Raid: Sterling Price and the Last Major Confederate Campaign in Northern Territory by Michael J. Forsyth (McFarland, 2015).

Three Price Raid histories are scheduled for release in 2015 and this is the first to make it out the gate. If I recall correctly, Forsyth's previous books examining the two major fronts (Arkansas and Louisiana) of the 1864 Red River Campaign were primarily command level analyses of each operation with added emphasis on the lofty strategic possibilities that ultimately evaded the otherwise successful Confederates. This book appears to be of a similar vein.

3. The Last Confederate Ship at Sea: The Wayward Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah, October 1864-November 1865 by Paul Williams (McFarland, 2015).

From the description: "The CSS Shenandoah fired the last shot of the Civil War and was the only Confederate warship to circumnavigate the globe. But what was Captain James Waddell's true relationship with his Yankee prisoner Lillias Nichols and how did it determine the ship's final destination? Without orders, Waddell undertook a dangerous three month voyage through waters infested with enemy cruisers. He risked mutiny by a horrified crew who, having been declared pirates, could be hanged. This is the true story behind the cruise of the Shenandoah--one of secret love and blackmail--brought to light for the first time in 150 years." That's a part of the Shenandoah story of which I am completely unfamiliar.

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