Saturday, July 6, 2019

Book News: Civil War Flags of Tennessee

I don't have too many unit flag books in the personal collection, just a few covering Trans-Mississippi states that the experts tell me are okay at best. However, there is a title peeking over the horizon that I am looking forward to checking out. Next spring, UT Press will publish Stephen Douglas Cox's Civil War Flags of Tennessee (2020). There's already a nice description available, and from the sound of it the book will be very comprehensive in scope. It "provides information on all known Confederate and Union flags of the state and showcases the Civil War flag collection of the Tennessee State Museum."

Principal author and volume editor Cox manages a host of contributors. The first part of the book's three main sections is a background history exploration of the topic. It "includes interpretive essays by scholars such as Greg Biggs, Robert B. Bradley, Howard Michael Madaus, and Fonda Ghiardi Thomsen that address how flags were used in the Civil War, their general history, their makers, and preservation issues, among other themes."

More: "Part 2 is a catalogue of Tennessee Confederate flags. Part 3 is a catalogue of Tennessee Union flags. The catalogues present a collection of some 200 identified, extant Civil War flags and another 300 flags that are known through secondary and archival sources, all of which are exhaustively documented. Appendices follow the two catalogue sections and include detailed information on several Confederate and Union flags associated with the states of Mississippi, North Carolina, and Indiana that are also contained in the Tennessee State Museum collection."

It is certainly a reader expectation that a book of this type would be filled with high-res color photography of the various flags, and Cox's study aims to deliver on that count as well. "Complete with nearly 300 color illustrations and meticulous notes on textiles and preservation efforts, this volume is much more than an encyclopedic log of Tennessee-related Civil War flags. Stephen Cox and his team also weave the history behind the flags throughout the catalogues, including the stories of the women who stitched them, the regiments that bore them, and the soldiers and bearers who served under them and carried them. Civil War Flags of Tennessee is an eloquent hybrid between guidebook and chronicle, and the scholar, the Civil War enthusiast, and the general reader will all enjoy what can be found in its pages."

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