Saturday, April 1, 2017

Theater histories

Thomas Cutrer's Theater of a Separate War: The Civil War West of the Mississippi River, 1861-1865 was just released a bit earlier than scheduled. If it proves to meet expectations, we'll now have useful up-to-date survey histories for each of the three major theaters of war. The other two I would highly recommend are The Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi [review] from Earl Hess and the much more concise The Civil War in the East: Struggle, Stalemate, and Victory [review].


  1. Hello Drew

    I took a look at this online and it appears there is only 1 small theater map and not illustrations/photos in this thick volume. Comparing this to Hess's western theater volume in the sames series, the number of maps is the same, but there are a number of illustrations in Hess's title.

    It is very disappointing to see this type of production appearing more an more from so many publishers. I would be that the text in this book is outstanding, but the book would be so much better with some more maps and illustrations.


  2. Hi Don,
    I haven't seen the physical book yet, just the Kindle preview. Sometimes those are wonky, so hopefully there's more to see in the way of maps and illustrations in the "real" thing.

  3. Dear Drew

    As a UK reader let me first of all thank you for an excellent website.
    My comment is have you seen the disastrous review of this book on Amazon by someone who clearly knows what he is talking about?

    I was hoping for something to add to Josephy and Britton but it seems this is not to be. Nothing about Lone Jack!

    Best wishes


    1. Hi Chris,
      I still haven't seen the book yet. My general policy for books I plan to review is to avoid reading other review comments until after I publish my own. I did make an exception for this one due to the extreme harshness of the rating and the writer, who has a recognized expertise in CW Kansas matters. There are more than a few troubling things in there for sure, but many of the enumerated concerns I would rate as presentational slip ups rather than gross factual errors (it does make one wonder where the UNCP editing dept. was at in all this sloppiness). I still plan on reading it myself and don't recommend that others take the rating from a partial review as sufficient reason to drop it from their own consideration entirely.


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