Friday, September 14, 2018

Booknotes: Decisions at Chattanooga

New Arrival:
Decisions at Chattanooga: The Nineteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle
  by Larry Peterson (UT Press, 2018).

It's clear to anyone reading my reviews of Decisions at Stones River (2018) and Decisions at Second Manassas (2018) that I am a fan of UT Press's new Command Decisions in America’s Civil War series, which offers readers a fresh way of dissecting major campaigns and battles. With Decisions at Chickamauga (2018) and now Decisions at Chattanooga: The Nineteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle from Larry Peterson, we now have four series installments, all published in the same year! That's pretty remarkable. There's even a Decisions of the Atlanta Campaign (also from Peterson) on the way just over the horizon in mid-2019. 

Personally, I am pleased and impressed that the series is taking a deep swing through the western theater right from the start rather than going down the time-tested Gettysburg→Antietam→onward pathway. On the other hand, it should be mentioned that series creator Matt Spruill did do a similar Decisions at Gettysburg title seven years ago that obviously served as inspiration for what followed but is nevertheless apparently not considered series "canon."

From the description: "Decisions at Chattanooga introduces readers to critical decisions made by Confederate and Union commanders. Larry Peterson examines the decisions that shaped the way both campaign and battle unfolded. Rather than offering a history of the Battle of Chattanooga, Peterson focuses on the critical decisions, presenting the reader with a coherent and manageable blueprint of the battle’s development. Exploring and studying the critical decisions allows the reader to progress from an understanding of what happened to why events happened as they did." As is the case with the earlier volumes, the book contains numerous original maps and a detailed tour tied to the decision analysis. In what's a very minor change, the cover has a different color scheme this time around, tan (butternut?) instead of dark gray.

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