Sunday, September 15, 2019

Booknotes: Civil War Gold and Other Lost Treasure, Revised Edition

New Arrival:
Civil War Gold and Other Lost Treasure, Revised Edition by W. Craig Gaines (Author, 2017).

It seems like every war has spawned a host of 'lost treasure' legends that are long on speculation and short on evidence. Apparently as popular as the ghost hunting shows are the treasure hunting programs on cable tv that find little beyond commercial ad revenue. When it comes to the American Civil War, there is certainly no shortage of lost gold tales. The author's preface to the 1999 first edition of W. Craig Gaines's Civil War Gold and Other Lost Treasure readily acknowledges that "(most) Civil War treasure stories ... are legends and exaggerations" warped through generations of spirited retelling. The book attempts to sort documented fact from fiction while compiling a comprehensive register of treasure tales from coast to coast.

The preface to the 2017 edition, which is titled Civil War Gold and Other Lost Treasure, Revised Edition, mentions that the new volume is the product of much additional research as well as error corrections and editorial changes. The book is organized by state (plus the Atlantic Ocean and Bahamas) chapters that are further subdivided by county. At the back of the book are chapter notes, a brief resources commentary, and the bibliography.

As you might recall, Gaines's other Civil War books, both of which are highly original works of  merit, have been covered on the site before. See my reviews of Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks (2008) and The Confederate Cherokees: John Drew's Regiment of Mounted Rifles, Updated Edition (2017), both published by LSU Press.

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