Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Early look at "A Campaign of Giants"

Yesterday, I received in the mail a late galley of a highly anticipated 2018 title, A. Wilson Greene's A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg, Volume 1 - From the Crossing of the James to the Crater (UNC). The first of a trilogy that when finished will comprise the first truly full-length military history treatment of the Petersburg Campaign, Volume One covers the first three major Union offensives in over 500 pages of text.

In the preface, Greene describes his narrative's goal as balancing small-unit tactical detail with a variety of campaign-level contexts. I've only been able to quickly glance through everything, but that looks like an accurate representation of what we'll get. The great focus will be on maneuver and battle, but there is a lengthy chapter describing civilian life in Petersburg during the summer of 1864.

The nearly 50-page bibliography contains the expected depth and range of sources, including a huge array of archival materials located in repositories all over the country. The maps are a bit of a pleasant surprise. In the realm of cartography, it almost feels like a return to university press books of the 1990s, with 34 attractive operational and tactical scale maps (the latter depicting action at the brigade and regimental levels).

The press describes the book as a 2018 "lead title," and it certainly does appear that they've put max effort into its content and presentation. Expect a June release.


  1. Did you gather any idea about what the "stopping point" of the trilogy is? I know Greene wrote a book on the final Petersburg assault of April 2 but there are several scholars who place that particular battle within the Appomattox campaign, with Fort Stedman signaling the end of the Richmond/Petersburg operations.


    1. No. Neither Gallagher's intro nor Greene's preface offers a road map for the next two volumes.

  2. Very much looking forward to seeing this book, as well as the two that follow it.


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