Friday, June 18, 2021

Various Book News Items

This month's release schedule is pretty heavily backloaded, so hopefully the second half of June will make up for the paltry first half.

1. Larry Peterson's Decisions of the 1862 Kentucky Campaign avoided Perryville battlefield decisions with the intention of possibly addressing them in a future volume. It turns out that that will indeed be the case as Decisions at Perryville: The Twenty-Two Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle has been added to the series schedule as an October '21 release. As far as I know from my most recent contact with the publisher, the Seven Days installment is still on for the end of this month.

2. Publishers staying comfortable with digital-only review copies has had an unfortunate impact on the CWBA bookshelves during the pandemic. Though the numbers they put out overall were drastically reduced in 2020, I still rather missed getting my regular allotment of McFarland titles of all kinds over the past fifteen months. They do have a bunch of intriguing titles on the docket for this year, including Myron Smith's final volume of his inland west naval history series After Vicksburg: The Civil War on Western Waters, 1863-1865 , Andrew English's The Laird Rams: Britain's Ironclads Built for the Confederacy, 1862-1923, Todd Cathey and Ricky Robnett's The River Batteries at Fort Donelson: Construction, Armament and Battles, 1861-1862, and Gerald Earley's Strategies of North and South: A Comparative Analysis of the Union and Confederate Campaigns. I've already talked about Russell Blount's Port Hudson book and what will likely be the final volume of Roger Hunt's Colonels in Blue series. If you are interested in the Windy City's Civil War connections, they are also putting out unit histories of the 39th Illinois infantry regiment and the Chicago Board of Trade Battery. There's more, but those are the strongest blips on my radar.

3. Christopher Grasso is far from being done with John R. Kelso. I positively reviewed his 2017 book Bloody Engagements: John R. Kelso’s Civil War, which was selected as the A.M. Pate Award winner of 2018. As a bit of an aside, Kelso's writings were a prominent source in Piston and Rutherford's new account of the Second Battle of Springfield in their book "We Gave Them Thunder". Losing none of his enthusiasm for the subject, Grasso has now moved on to a full biographical treatment of Kelso's life of colorful and odd twists and turns. Teacher, Preacher, Soldier, Spy: The Civil Wars of John R. Kelso is set for a September '21 release from Oxford UP.

4. As every regular CWBA visitor knows, I'm not the most eager biography reader, but another one from 2021 that has my attention is Allen Ottens's General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man (Indiana Univ Pr). I am not sure how much scholarly disagreement exists regarding the nature of the Grant-Rawlins relationship and the impact Rawlins had on his chief's career (I would guess that most differences lie in how much advisory credit Rawlins deserves), but those matters will surely figure prominently in the book. Look for it in around six weeks.

6 comments:

  1. As always, Drew, thank you for these notes on intriguing books that we might otherwise miss. I am interested in the After Vicksburg book, but the idea of paying $50.00 for a 270-page paperback gives me pause.

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    1. John: I generally concur about the McFarland pricing model, especially given the wide variation in quality. The positive aspect of this one is that Smith is one of their authors who has consistently turned out quality work. I wish the same could be said about their books on Fair Oaks, Gaines's Mill, and Glendale.

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    2. Thank you, John, for the insight. I'll put the Smith book on my Christmas wish list.

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    3. I've noticed the reaction to Smith's books runs very hot and cold. As anyone can see from my reviews (I've reviewed most if not all of them), I think they're rather impressive.

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  2. Drew:

    I also saw somewhere (can't recall site) that there will be a Decisions at Franklin volume down the road. I'm not sure how many "decisions" can be seriously contemplated for that one.

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    Replies
    1. John,
      There will be a Fredericksburg volume coming in 2022.

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