Thursday, May 14, 2020

Book News: Battle Maps of the Civil War (Vol. 1)

Even though I grew up during the home computer age and remain comfortable with the latest technology, I'm still unabashedly attached to physical media. I like my special edition blu-rays of my favorite movies over ephemeral streaming libraries, and, as a bibliophile and avid collector, I certainly prefer physical books over digital versions. Like everybody else, I have no problem reading articles and other shorter length pieces on a viewing screen of some kind, but reading a digital version of a 400-page non-fiction Civil War book holds no appeal for me (at all). Unfortunately, with many publishers shipping books to customers but still only offering PDF copies to reviewers during the current Unpleasantness, this has reduced my supply of review options to a mere trickle with no end in sight. Though discouraging overall, this hopefully temporary change has given me some opportunity to burn through the backlog. I've also been filling the time with some more outside reading [a plug: if you're a fan of the Halloween movie franchise, I highly recommend Dustin McNeill and Travis Mullins's Taking Shape: Developing Halloween From Script to Scream!].

But getting back to the main point of this Book News entry, cartographer Steven Stanley has for many years now been producing excellent and stylistically unique battlefield maps for the Civil War Trust (now American Battlefield Trust) website. My question regarding the possibility of Stanley's maps ever being published in physical atlas format now appears to have been answered in the positive. Later this month (I had no inkling of this when compiling my May preview), Knox Press will be publishing American Battlefield Trust's Battle Maps of the Civil War: The Eastern Theater (Maps from the American Battlefield Trust, Volume 1).

No table of contents or preview of any inside pages is available, but the book will at least have proper dimensions (8.5" x 11") for a map study. From the description: "Through the decades, the American Battlefield Trust" [no co-author credit for Stanley?] "has created dozens of maps detailing the action of hundreds of battles. Now, for the first time in book form, they have collected the maps of some of the most iconic battles of the Eastern Theater of the Civil War into one volume. From First Bull Run to the Surrender at Appomattox Court House, you can follow the major actions of the Eastern Theater from start to finish utilizing this unparalleled collection." I don't know how many volumes are planned or whether any new maps were commissioned exclusively for the books, but I'm interested.


  1. Drew, If you made a donation of more that $50? I believe before the end of this year to American Battlefield Trust they will send you a copy of this book along with you gift. Their original plan was to send the book shortly after the New Year but obviously with all that has happened this did not rise to the top of their priority list. If you made a gift of greater than $62 I believe to their current Stones River project you would recieve a copy of the "Decisions at Stones River" Book. Receiving a book should not be the motivation behind making a gift though…..but hey anything that helps right?
    On another note this post appeared on my Facebook page today. Seems like from his past posts that Savas Beattie is a friend of the website.
    I have a lot of pre-release buys in with Amazon (mostly for Savas titles). I am cancelling all of them and ordering directly from Savas. Most of the Savas books I have ordered have been from their website over the years have been direct anyway --- but not all. (There is about a 10-day delay anyway to receive the book when the title is first released– assumedly because Savas wants as many customers to buy from them directly as possible before Amazon takes a cut.) These guys need the help of Civil War Buffs and this self described “nut” is taking it as a call to action. My thought is that if we want to continue to see the titles printed in the future we love to grouse over they need our support. Curt Thomasco

  2. Curtis, that is really kind of you.

    So many do so much to help keep small and independent publishing alive, from Drew with his deep dives to folks like you.

    Many thanks. We appreciate all of you more than you know. -- Ted

  3. The book is a good way to compile these but I also save all of the excellent Stanley maps the ABT sends when they solicit donations. Some, like the recent one showing a Stanley map overlain on a modern aerial for Chantilly, are a graphic illustration of why we need to save what's left.

    1. John,
      I keep those, too. In the past (I don't know if you can still do it), I also downloaded from their website the PDF versions of the maps that interested me.


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