Monday, December 21, 2020

Book News: Decisions of the Seven Days

The next title up in University of Tennessee Press's Command Decisions in America's Civil War series is Michael Lang's Decisions at Antietam: The Fourteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle. Part of the current F-W catalog, the publisher has it scheduled for a mid-March 2021 release [BTW, the best way to track the most up to date UT Press release day is to visit the publisher web page for a given title and press the 'Buy Now' button].

As interesting as that one might be, I am personally looking more forward to the next installment after that one, Matt Spruill's Decisions of the Seven Days: The Sixteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Battles. Any new Peninsula/Seven Days publication is a welcome event, but the fact that Spruill, a retired U.S. Army colonel and graduate of both the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College, is the author heightens the anticipation level. I haven't read all of the series volumes, but my own opinion is that the Spruill volumes have the best combination of critical decision identification and analysis. This isn't terribly surprising, as the series is his brainchild. Additionally, Spruill's Stones River and Second Manassas volumes contain large sets of supplemental tactical-scale maps not present in the tour appendix of any other series volume. One hopes that that valuable feature will carry over to the Seven Days book.

I should also mention that Spruill co-authored Echoes of Thunder: A Guide to the Seven Days Battles (2006), also from UT Press, and it can be imagined that elements of that earlier book will make it into the Decisions series volume.


  1. Drew: Excellent news for those of us with "Peninsula Campaign Obsession". And I agree regarding the Spruill volumes but would add Dave Powell's Chickamauga volume for its insights, One feature that i would like to see which is only sporadic in this series is modern photographs of terrain. With decent chunks of Gaines's Mill, Glendale and Malvern Hill now preserved, that should be "doable".

    1. I would like to see photography be a bigger part of the series, too.


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