Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Booknotes IV (Sept '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Health of the Seventh Cavalry: A Medical History edited by P. Willey and Douglas D. Scott (Univ of Okla Pr, 2015).

Willey and Scott scour the medical records of the famed 7th Cavalry to examine which ailments were common to the U.S. Army of the time and how they were treated. Taken together, their findings offer readers a general picture of the health of army units that fought in the post-Civil War West. "Pairing general overviews of nineteenth- and twentieth-century health care with essays on malaria, injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other specific ailments, Health of the Seventh Cavalry provides fresh insights into the health, disease, and trauma that the regiment experienced over two decades. More than 100 tables, graphs, and maps track the troops’ illnesses and diseases by month, season, year, and location, as well as their stress periods, desertions, and deaths."

2. Confederate Saboteurs: Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War by Mark K. Ragan (TAMU Press, 2015).

The Hunley is an oft written about subject but it is just one of many weapons developed by the Singer Secret Service Corps out of Texas, their output of death dealing devices including many types of contact mines, railroad mines, and torpedo boats in addition to submarines. Ragan's book details the activities of the government funded Singer group and it looks like a fascinating window into Confederate special weapons technology.

3. Lincoln and the Thirteenth Amendment by Christian G. Samito (SIUP, 2015).

This is the latest volume from Southern Illinois's Concise Lincoln Library series. In it "Christian G. Samito examines how Lincoln’s opposition to amending the United States Constitution shaped his political views before he became president, and how constitutional arguments overcame Lincoln’s objections, turning him into a supporter of the Thirteenth Amendment by 1864." He "relates how Lincoln made the amendment an issue in his 1864 reelection campaign, chronicles lobbying efforts and the final vote in the House on the amendment resolution, and interrogates various charges of corruption and back-room deals. He also considers the Thirteenth Amendment in the context of the Hampton Roads conference, Lincoln’s own thoughts on the meaning of the amendment, and the impact of Lincoln’s assassination on the reading of the amendment."

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