Friday, June 28, 2019

Favorite near-misses

How about a little fun Friday discussion about "classic" Civil War books that you like already but would love to see get a newly 'revised and expanded' edition treatment that would elevate it from being merely good to something greater. The following criteria will be used.

The book has to be:
• 20+ years old
• not surpassed by another title since original publication
• already generally regarded as a "major" work on its subject matter

I'm sure I could think of others but one I frequently come back to is Steven Newton's The Battle of Seven Pines, May 31-June 1, 1862 (1993), originally published by H.E. Howard as part of their Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders series. Improved editions of a number of books from that hit-and-miss series have been released in recent years by Savas Beatie, The History Press, and others. Newton's Fair Oaks/Seven Pines coverage is the only book-length study of that major episode of the 1862 Peninsula Campaign that's worthy of note (there's an Osprey overview and a 2011 McFarland title that doesn't do the battle justice). I've read Newton's book several times (but not recently), and it's always struck me as an adequate treatment that would benefit from a general clean up as well as an all-around fleshing out of detail. A new set of maps would raise its value significantly, too.

So what gets your vote? Please add it to the comments section. I look forward to reading them.

14 comments:

  1. David Edmonds' "The Guns of Port Hudson, Volume 2."

    Joel Manuel
    Baton Rouge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joel,
      That's a good one. I remember checking the set out from a univ. library and liking them so much the pair was high on my 'to get' list for many years. Once I finally got them for the collection at a reasonable price I found myself not as charmed by the revisit. It happens.

      Drew

      Delete
    2. Yes, I did the same thing; got Vol. 2 for $15 on Ebay years ago. I first read it when I was 12, and had the same experience re-reading it later. My dad used to metal detect near Edmonds' house and got chased by his dogs on one occasion. JM

      Delete
  2. I agree about Newton’s Battle of Seven Pines. I love that book. But I hope it will be re-released with updated maps. Looking forward to the new edition :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West - Hess & Shea 1992

    Don Hallstrom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Don,
      I'm curious about which aspects of it you think missed. Most people consider it to be a model battle study, one of the best.

      Drew

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    2. It also sucks to realize that 1992 was 27 years ago!

      Delete
  4. Hello Drew

    I interpreted your post incorrectly. I took it to be what titles over 20 years old were still the best work on the subject even if others had been published on the subject.

    Appreciate all the information on new titles.

    Thanks
    Don

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don,
      I figured that might have been the case. No problem. I could have expressed the point of the post better.

      Delete
    2. Drew: As you know, you and I have long been in agreement about the Newton book. It's by a skilled and reputable author who is well-versed in the Campaign up to June 1 and I have little doubt that much could be added to the text. The Longstreet Huger "mess" and the approach to the field is just one of many areas that could easily be expanded. As everybody notes, the "Pacman Era" maps would greatly benefit from revision. The McFarland book adds nothing in my opinion.

      Delete
  5. My choice would be 'No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River' by Peter Cozzens.
    While I don't agree with all of his conclusions, I consider the original a great little book, and would love to see it updated and expanded.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Siege of Suffolk by Steven A. Cromier would be great to see revised and expanded.

    Connan Smith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added that one to the collection years ago and still haven't gotten around to reading it.

      Delete
  7. Michael Forsyth's book "The Camden Expedition of 1864 and the Opportunity Lost by the Confederacy to Change the Civil War." He did a laudable job with Poison Springs and Prairie D'Ane. But the book needed editing and the same level of coverage for other parts of the campaign and specifically Marks' Mills.

    ReplyDelete

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