Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Booknotes: The Summer of ’63 Vicksburg and Tullahoma

New Arrival:
The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma - Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War edited by Chris Mackowski & Dan Welch (Savas Beatie, 2021)

By any estimate, the first week of July 1863 was a momentous time that encompassed the concluding moments of major Union campaign victories in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. The companion volume to The Summer of ’63: Gettysburg - Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War, this book addresses the other two events from that triumvirate of triumphs referenced above. While Vicksburg has received plenty of recognition along with solid coverage in the literature, the Tullahoma Campaign received its first major study only this year with David Powell and Eric Wittenberg's Tullahoma: The Forgotten Campaign that Changed the Course of the Civil War, June 23 - July 4, 1863, an exhaustive operational history that cannot be recommended highly enough.

As is the case with the Gettysburg volume, The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma is based on the public history work of a number of Emerging Civil War contributors who engage their audience through "writing for the popular Emerging Civil War blog, speaking on its podcast, or delivering talks at its annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge in Virginia." This book "is a compilation of some of their favorites, anthologized, revised, and updated, together with several original pieces. Each entry includes helpful illustrations."

In addition to a foreword and introductory comments on photographing Vicksburg, the book includes 29 chapters of Vicksburg discussion (with some crossover) and 10 chapters of Tullahoma coverage, all of varying degrees of length and depth. Leadership, strategy, battles, firsthand military and civilian experiences, memorialization, and remembrance of both campaigns are among the many topics and themes explored in the book. In support of these are eight maps.

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