Monday, January 29, 2018

Booknotes: The Generals of Shiloh

New Arrival:
The Generals of Shiloh: Character in Leadership, April 6-7, 1862 by Larry Tagg
(Savas Beatie, 2018).

According to the description, Larry Tagg's The Generals of Shiloh is (as predicted) modeled after its predecessor, The Generals of Gettysburg: The Leaders of America's Greatest Battle (1998). Unfortunately, I've never read the earlier work so I can't offer any first impressions regarding new features or improvements.

Tagg's The Generals of Shiloh "presents detailed background information on each of his subjects, coupled with a thorough account of each man’s actions on the field of Shiloh and, if he survived that battle, his fate thereafter. Many of the great names tossed up by civil war are found here in this early battle, from U. S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Don Carlos Buell, to Albert S. Johnston, Braxton Bragg, and P.G.T. Beauregard. Many more men, whose names crossed the stage of furious combat only to disappear in the smoke on the far side, also populate these pages. Every one acted in his own unique fashion and in a manner worthy of study. This marriage of character (“the features and attributes of a man”) with his war record, offers new insights into how and why a particular soldier acted a certain way, in a certain situation, at a certain time."

Given that colonels led many brigades at Shiloh, the book also includes those lower ranking officers that were acting brigadier generals during the battle. The book eschews footnotes and traditional bibliography in favor of a Critical Bibliography, with the stated reason behind the decision being that the volume is "not intended as a new definitive battle or campaign history."

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