Sunday, June 10, 2018

Booknotes: New paperback editions of "Valley Thunder" and "General Grant and the Rewriting of History"

New Arrivals:
Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, May 1864 by Charles R. Knight (2018).

It seems to be more and more the case now that Savas Beatie titles are being reissued in paperback, sometimes only a short time (1-2 years) after hardcover circulation. Valley Thunder is a bit older but is richly deserving of being brought back into the limelight. The book resoundingly surpasses all previous histories, including William Davis's classic study. Click here to read my review of the original 2010 edition, which praises it heavily. I would definitely be interested in seeing Knight take on more projects of this type.

General Grant and the Rewriting of History: How the Destruction of General William S. Rosecrans Influenced Our Understanding of the Civil War by Frank P. Varney (2018).

I only got to parts of Varney's book, which was originally published in 2013, and while the arguments inside blew hot and cold with me I would urge everyone to give it a try. The intention was for the project to be a two-volume treatment, but I have no information on how the second book is progressing. Deservedly or not, Rosecrans's military reputation does appear to be trending slightly upward of late. Will Kurtz also recently announced that he is working on a new biography.


  1. I spoke with Frank Varney this weekend at Stones River, where I picked up a copy of his paperback. I missed this on the first go-around, and it seems his arguments go counter to much of the received academic historiography of USG. I’m interested in seeing what he’s done. He mentioned that his second volume, which deals with Grant’s relationships (and animus) with George Thomas, Gouverneur Warren, and Joe Hooker, is due “soon” but I don’t recall any specific date. Also spoke with Matt Spruill about his Decisions series with University of Tennessee and it appears to be humming along nicely with many upcoming volumes across all major theaters and campaigns.


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