Saturday, September 3, 2022

Massive new Kearny bio released this month

Given how many titles skip over online pre-order status in their journey toward publication (and thus escape my notice for a while after release), I've been toying with the idea of doing a regular "straggler" feature each month to complement the Coming Soon posts. One noteworthy title that did not make September's Coming Soon list (but I did add in retroactively) is William Styple's new biography of Major General Philip Kearny, which I may not have picked up on for a while without the help of ALB's A House Divided list of upcoming episodes.

Most Civil War readers are familiar with Styple due to his 2005 book Generals in Bronze: Interviewing the Commanders of the Civil War, which was much talked about at the time. However, his real passion project appears to have been digging into the life of General Kearny. Bellegrove Publishing describes Styple's General Philip Kearny - A Very God of War: The Life & Letters of General Philip Kearny as being the product of fifty years of research, the resulting 880-page(!) biography being the "definitive life story" of the man.

The next most recent Kearny biography was published only a short time ago, but that slender volume never made it to my bookshelf so I can't comment on it. Styples's book certainly promises to offer much more than what has come before it. Like most Civil War generals, Kearny had then and has now both admirers and detractors. His aggressive demeanor as Army of the Potomac brigade and division commander draws support from many observers today as being a welcome antidote to AoP high command "McClellanism," but his volatile antics have also been regarded as being too reckless in nature. I will be very interested in reading Styple's assessment of both man and general. Upon reading the publisher's description, it also appears that Styple views some of the criticisms aimed toward Kearny by West Point-trained officers as being sourced primarily from jealousy. I have a review copy request in the email ether and hope to pick up a copy of this promising tome at some point.

No comments:

Post a Comment

When commenting, PLEASE SIGN YOUR NAME. In order to maintain civil discourse and ease moderating duties anonymous comments will be deleted. Comments containing outside promotions and/or product links will also be deleted. Thank you.