Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Booknotes V (Apr '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Potter's Raid Through South Carolina: The Final Days of the Confederacy by Tom Elmore (The Hist Pr, 2015).

With the main Confederate armies in Virginia and North Carolina dead or dying, General Edward Potter led a cavalry raid into the interior of South Carolina, adding a final layer of destruction to the state's infrastructure. Author Tom Elmore's written several books now about the Civil War in the Palmetto State, including a highly detailed history of Sherman's swing through South Carolina titled A Carnival of Destruction.

2. The Gray Fox: George Crook and the Indian Wars by Paul Magid (Univ of Okla Pr, 2015).

I liked the first volume of Magid's biographical trilogy George Crook: From the Redwoods to Appomattox. The Gray Fox scrutinizes Crook's leadership in post-Civil War army campaigns designed to subdue the western tribes, including the Paiutes, Apaches, Sioux, and Cheyenne, and ends with the removal of the Sioux to their reservations.

3. Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Ari Kelman (Hill and Wang, 2015).

A history presented in the graphic novel inspired visual style with muted colors that tells the story of the Civil War through a selection of objects, in Battle Lines "each object tells its own story. A tattered flag, lowered in defeat at Fort Sumter. A set of chains, locked to the ankles of a slave as he scrambles toward freedom. A bullet, launched from the bore of a terrifying new rifle. A brick, hurled from a crowd of ration-starved rioters. With these objects and others, both iconic and commonplace, Battle Lines traces a broad and ambitious narrative from the early rumblings of secession to the dark years of Reconstruction." The release date is early May.

4. For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862 by Brian R. McEnany (UP of KY, 2015).

Only 28 members of the West Point Class of 1862 stuck with it to the end, the other half resigning before graduation. In For Brotherhood and Glory, McEnany selects 16 young men (12 Union and 4 Confederates) and explores their lives as cadets and Civil War officers. Some, like Ranald Mackenzie, James Dearing, and John Calef are well known to the students of the war, but Tully McCrea, MOH recipient George Gillespie, and others are less well known today. The appendix contains useful information, including biographical sketches for all 28 class graduates.

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