Thursday, May 13, 2021

Booknotes: Moonlit Mayhem

New Arrival:
Moonlit Mayhem: Quantrill's Raid of Olathe, Kansas by Jonathan A. Jones (Floating Spark Pub, 2021).

Pro-Confederate guerrilla leader William C. Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kansas in 1863 is by far the most infamous event of the Missouri-Kansas Border War than extended into the Civil War years. However, it certainly wasn't the only time Quantrill and his men crossed the border. In early September 1862, nearly a year before Lawrence was sacked and a great many of its civilian male inhabitants killed, Quantrill raided Olathe, a Kansas town located southwest of Kansas City and just across the border. With chapters also addressing Border War context at some length, both before and after that September, Jonathan Jones's Moonlit Mayhem: Quantrill's Raid of Olathe, Kansas provides the first book-length account of event.

From the description: "Quantrill's raid is an event that would shape Olathe's history for many years to come. Most locals have little knowledge of this event that so heavily impacted the history of their town. Moonlit Mayhem provides a view of life, on both sides of the border. In addition, short summaries of events before and after the Olathe Raid, give the reader a complete picture of the time and key players on both sides. Moonlit Mayhem is packed with over 100 color images and maps showing the modern locations of historic events."

As noted above, the book is full of visual goodies, including a superabundance of photographs and charts, and there is seemingly a map of some kind (typically historical overlays of modern maps) on nearly every other page. I am well familiar with the Lawrence Raid but don't recall much about the Olathe Raid from prior reading, so I am looking forward to checking this one out.


  1. Drew,
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. These are just the kind of books I look for. I don't know if Johnathan Jones has written any other books but I have a real soft spot for historians (be they professional or amateur) who research and write about way below the radar engagements like this. I have to admit I had to Google Quantrill at Olathe....and here someone writes a whole book 242 page on Quantrill's Raid on Olathe. Just great stuff. Curt Thomasco

  2. I’m not familiar with the raid at Olathe, but I’m looking forward to learning about it in this book.


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