Friday, May 10, 2024

Booknotes: War in the Western Theater

New Arrival:

War in the Western Theater: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War edited by Chris Mackowski & Sarah Kay Bierle (Savas Beatie, 2024).

With something posted on the Emerging Civil War blog seemingly every day (and often multiple times per day), regular crew and guest writers there are a busy bunch. Every so often, founder Chris Mackowski and another editor compile theme-based articles for print publication as part of the Civil War history collective's 10th Anniversary Series. The latest, and eighth in the series, is War in the Western Theater: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War.

According to ECW's series description, the anniversary titles "not only collect some of our best blog posts, but they also include selected transcripts from Symposium talks and podcasts. Plus, each include original scholarship, as well, plus new maps and lots of photos. They’re not intended as complete narrative histories but are rather meant to reflect the eclectic conversation of topics and voices readers find on the blog itself." The goal is not just to provide a physical copy of previously published, and readily accessible, digital material but to truly embark on a "value-added" exercise. So the original blog pieces are "updated, and, in most cases, expanded and footnoted" (pg. xiv).

Around four dozen articles are compiled in this western-themed volume. In addition to discussing campaigns and battles (along with frequently featuring the involvement of individuals and units during particular episodes), chapters explore a variety of city, state, and family connections to the war in the western theater. Remembrance, what-if ponderings, debate, and analysis articles are also sprinkled about. Supplementing the text are eight maps and numerous other photographs and illustrations.

As summed up in the description, the articles collected in War in the Western Theater "bring together the best scholarship from Emerging Civil War’s blog, symposia, and podcast, revised and updated, together with original pieces designed to shed new light and insight on some of the most important and fascinating events that have for too long flown under the radar of history’s pens."

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