Sunday, November 17, 2019

A few things

With Halloween in the rear view mirror and autumn in full swing, it's time to start thinking about my annual list of favorite titles by category. I always have mixed feelings about the timing of these things. The general expectation is that 'Top 10,' 'Best of,' etc. lists appear well before year's end. The challenge involved with doing this for Civil War books is that, unlike movies for instance, it is very often the case that a number of the year's best releases are bunched together late in the year. Along with the additional lag time between release date and delivery (which has increased of late), there's just not enough time to read and consider by year's end the full fall catalog of deserving titles. In the past, I've handled this by having those releases qualify for the following year's list, but that's always felt odd. Beyond just discontinuing the ritual altogether, the other option is to publish the year-end list sometime during the following January or February, which is also less than ideal. I'll have to ponder the matter some more.

Clint Crowe's Caught in the Maelstrom: The Indian Nations in the Civil War, 1861-1865 is a Savas Beatie book I've been looking forward to for a long time. Originally scheduled for mid-2017, it looks like the long wait might finally soon be over. The appearance of a 'Look Inside' preview (see link above) often indicates approaching release, so I would expect to see it out sometime in December. Maybe.

A trade publishing title that grabbed my interest recently was Donald Miller's Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy (Simon & Schuster), the first attempt at a major single-volume treatment of the campaign since Michael Ballard's 2004 book Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi. I very briefly thumbed through it at the local library. If I recall correctly, coverage of the Battle of Port Gibson (May 1, 1863) doesn't appear until around page 370 of a roughly 500-page narrative. With its significant focus on the campaign's role in extinguishing slavery in the lower Mississippi River Valley, the study is clearly aimed at broadening the reader's perspective of the campaign, on and off the battlefield. I'm not sure if I'll find the time to get to it, but I thought it was at the very least worthy of mention. If you've read it, feel free to offer your thoughts about it in the comments section.


  1. Hello Drew

    Thanks for the update on the the Savas Beatie title. This certainly was a very long tease for this title. The other title they should be releasing, which was announced quite a while ago is, The Petersburg Regiment in the Civil War: A History of the 12TH Virginia Infantry from John Brown's Hanging to Appomattox, 1859-1865.

    Don H.

  2. Drew: I've only read scattered portions of the Miller book thus far, just to get a feel for it. What I've read has made a solid impression. He does appear to bring a wider lens to the campaign than does the military focus of Bearss and Ballard (the two who have done detailed "beginning to end" modern campaign studies). I found his analysis of the infamous "Yazoo Bender" in June 1863 and his reconciliation of the differing accounts to be judicious and supportable. He also appears to have consulted a prodigious volume of archival primary sources. Being careful myself, I'd definitely say "promising".

  3. Hi Drew, Clint Crowe's "Caught in the Maelstrom: The Indian Nations in the Civil War, 1861-1865" ships from the printer next week, I believe.

    John Horn's "The Petersburg Regiment in the Civil War: A History of the 12th Virginia Infantry from John Brown's Hanging to Appomattox, 1859-1865," just hit our warehouse and is now available for sale...

    As is the next printing of the National Tribune set..

    Tom Nutter's and William McCroden's massive "German Ground Forces of World War II: Complete Orders of Battle for Army Groups, Armies, Army Corps, and Other Commands of the Wehrmacht and Waffen..." also just hit our warehouses in the US and the UK.

  4. Minor correction: Crowe's "Caught in the Maelstrom ships from the printer first week of December.


If you wish to comment, please sign your name. Otherwise, your submission may be rejected, at the moderator's discretion. Comments containing outside promotions and/or links will be deleted.