Saturday, February 6, 2021

Various Things

1. The ordering page I posted a week ago in my Book News entry for Eric Wittenberg's now released Six Days of Awful Fighting: Cavalry Operations on the Road to Cold Harbor had preorder links to both hardcover and paperback versions. However, soon after, the hardcover link was disabled and now that page has disappeared altogether. Some of those who ordered the paperback version through the site have already received it, so we know it is out in the wild (and apparently looks great). I've put in a query to Fox Run concerning all this but haven't heard back from them yet. [Addendum (2/19): The hardcover edition is now available]

2. It looks like busy biographer Walter Stahr is working his way at 4-5 year intervals through Lincoln's entire cabinet. Already the author of major biographies of Stanton and Seward, Stahr has moved on to the Treasury department with Salmon P. Chase: Antislavery Agitator, Treasury Secretary, Chief Justice (November, 2021). My voting preference for who's next is Gideon Welles.

3. Another 2021 title of potential interest to me is Michael Bonner and Peter McCord's The Union Blockade in the American Civil War: A Reassessment (Univ of Tenn Press, July). When it comes to the subject of the blockade's effectiveness, the meaning and interpretation of common metrics has always been a source of debate. On their part, Bonner and McCord "build on the extensive scholarship of the blockade and incorporate previously unexamined British primary sources to deliver a fresh analysis of the Union blockade, blockade-running, and a reassessment of the blockade’s effectiveness." It seems to me that most recent authors who have looked into the matter in some depth agree that the blockade was a cost-effective use of Union military resources and a significant component of Union victory. However, this book will "present statistics showing that the blockade was not nearly as effective as is commonly believed; moreover, its successes against steam-powered blockade runners actually decreased as the war went on."

4. The final upcoming release I wanted to mention in this post is Robert Wynstra's No Place for Glory: Major General Robert E. Rodes and the Confederate Defeat at Gettysburg (Kent St Univ Press, April 2021). I'm not one of those who is interested in all things or even most things Gettysburg related, but I was highly impressed with the author's earlier effort in At the Forefront of Lee's Invasion, which made my 2018 year-end list of favorite titles. Rodes's performance at Gettysburg has always been viewed as the low point of what was otherwise a stellar Civil War career, and I am curious to read what Wynstra has to say about it. Aiming to clear up at least some of the mystery, the book "draws on sources heretofore unexamined, including rare soldiers’ letters published in local newspapers and other firsthand accounts located in small historical societies, to shed light on the reasons behind Rodes’s missteps."


  1. Drew: Six Days is indeed out here "in the wild" and I can confrm that it looks great based on a skim - including the 25 good maps. The Wynstra book looks interesting and his earlier book bodes well for this. It's unfortunate, however, that some of these academic presses appear to price their books to attract only institutional customers.

  2. Drew,

    I had pre-ordered Eric's book on Amazon. They canceled my hardcover order today and now the Hardcover link you provided above takes you to the Paperback page. Very weird stuff here. I want the hardcover, so I am going to try to wait.

    1. I just clicked on the "Go Here" link above, and it took me to the hardcover page. Still no ordering button yet, though.

    2. Really? I need to clear my cache. That's strange.

  3. PS I realized I can order straight from Eric on his site. I'm going that route.

  4. I was advised that hardcovers have shipped to me. I expect them this week.

  5. Drew, update...

    The printing error has been corrected, and my expectation is that hardcovers will be available any time now. I have two cases of them, but I will be spending part of my evening replacing the defective dust jackets and packing orders this evening.


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