Friday, November 30, 2018

Booknotes: Rebel Guerrillas

New Arrival:
Rebel Guerrillas: Mosby, Quantrill and Anderson by Paul Williams (McFarland, 2018).

The publisher's description for Rebel Guerrillas: Mosby, Quantrill and Anderson only broadly hints at what interpretive slant(s) might be taken in the book: "From the hills and valleys of the eastern Confederate states to the sun-drenched plains of Missouri and "Bleeding Kansas," a vicious, clandestine war was fought behind the big-battle clashes of the American Civil War. In the east, John Singleton Mosby became renowned for the daring hit-and-run tactics of his rebel horsemen. Here a relatively civilized war was fought; women and children usually left with a roof over their heads. But along the Kansas-Missouri border it was a far more brutal clash; no quarter given. William Clarke Quantrill and William "Bloody Bill" Anderson became notorious for their savagery."

The short prologue is similarly Booknotes-unfriendly in terms of giving me little in the way of a clear layout of the book's overall intentions, though it does offer perhaps some insight into what author Paul Williams plans to do with a trio of already well-documented irregular war figures. With John Singleton Mosby the ideally realized product of what the Confederacy's Partisan Ranger Act of 1862 intended to create, it seems the book will contrast the Virginian's actions with those of notorious Missouri bushwhackers William C. Quantrill and William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson. It appears the study might also attempt to delineate some essential East vs. West differences in the character of the Civil War's irregular component, though one hopes the author doesn't go too far with drawing radical distinctions given that various savage forms of guerrilla warfare existed across all fronts. With Quantrill and Anderson being the same brand of fighter, it is a bit curious to include both men in what is presumably a three-way comparative study.

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