Saturday, August 25, 2018

Book News: Rocks and Rifles

As much as I like Ninety-Eight Days (UT Press, 2000) from the late geologist Warren Grabau (it's my second favorite Vicksburg Campaign book after the Bearss trilogy), the innovative promise of the "geographer's view" aspect of Grabau's campaign study ended up being pretty limited in scope (or at least that's what I recall). Overall, while I appreciated its soil analysis and other "topographic and hydrographic features," the tome's presentation felt more like traditional military history in the end rather than something truly different.

Now we have another geologist having another crack at a new way of looking at Civil War military history and count me interested. Microfossil expert Scott Hippensteel’s Rocks and Rifles: The Influence of Geology on Combat and Tactics during the American Civil War "discusses the relationship between geology and fighting during the American Civil War. Terrain was largely determined by the underlying rocks and how the rocks weathered. This book explores the difference in rock type between multiple battlegrounds and how these rocks influenced the combat, tactics, and strategies employed by the soldiers and their commanding officers at different scales." This sounds fascinating, and I hope to get a review copy, though that's a highly uncertain prospect given the list price point and the fact that the publisher (Springer Nature) is a European-based international that I've never worked with before. We shall see. The book will be part of their Advances in Military Geosciences series.

1 comment:

  1. This is one i'd like to access - especially given that I have some background in geology The price is a bit daunting, however.

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