Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Booknotes: These Rugged Days

New Arrival:
These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War by John S. Sledge (Univ of Ala Pr, 2017).

Published by University of Alabama Press with support from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War is a part of the state's official commemoration of that milestone. It is "(f)ocused on the conflict’s turning points within the state’s borders." Using "official records, diaries, newspapers, memoirs, correspondence, sketches, and photographs," the book "charts residents’ experiences from secession’s heady early days to its tumultuous end, when 75,000 blue-coated soldiers were on the move statewide."

Intent on engaging a popular audience, "Sledge offers a refreshing take on Alabama’s contributions to the Civil War that will intrigue anyone who is interested in learning more about the state’s war efforts. His narrative is a dramatic account that will be enjoyed by lay readers as well as students and scholars of Alabama and the Civil War."

From a glance through the text and table of contents, there are certainly politics and society at war elements within, but the heaviest focus does appear to be on military topics. Lengthy chapters cover the 1863 Streight and 1864 Rousseau cavalry raids, the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay, General Wilson's devastating 1865 campaign that gutted the interior, and the massive Union operation that finally seized the defenses of Mobile itself in the waning moments of the war.

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