Monday, December 31, 2007

London Confederates: The Officials, Clergy, Businessmen and Journalists Who Backed the American South during the Civil War

by John D. Bennett

From the publisher:
Although the British government declared its neutrality during the American Civil War, London nevertheless became an important center of Confederate overseas operations.

This work examines the extensive Confederate activities in London during the war, including diplomacy, propaganda, purchasing for the Army and Navy, spying, Cotton Loan, and various business associations; reflections of the Civil War in British art and literature; and the extent of British support for the South. Appendices cover London firms with Confederate links, pro-Confederate publications, Confederate music published in London, the Southern lobby in Parliament, the Southern Independence Association, and the British Jackson Monumental Fund. The work also includes a chronology of events and a gazetteer of Confederate sites in London.

Former reference librarian John D. Bennett lives in Leicester, England.

From CWBN:
This title, released on September 25, had originally been assigned a December release in the publisher's catalog. We have only just now discovered the update and regret the oversight.

To Battle for God and the Right: The Civil War Letterbooks of Emerson Opdycke

Edited by Glenn V. Longacre and John E. Haas

From the publisher:
Emerson Opdycke, a lieutenant with the 41st Ohio Infantry and later a commander of the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, won fame at the Battle of Franklin when his brigade saved the Union Army from defeat. He also played pivotal roles in some of the major battles of the western theater, including Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Missionary Ridge.

Opdycke's wartime letters to his wife, Lucy, offer the immediacy of the action as it unfolded and provide a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a soldier. Viewing the conflict with the South as a battle between the rights of states and loyalty to the Union, his letters reveal his dislike of slavery, devotion to the Union, disdain for military ineptitude, and opinions of combat strategies and high-ranking officers. A thorough introduction by editors Glenn V. Longacre and John E. Haas and a foreword by Peter Cozzens provide additional historical context and biographical information.
"Glenn V. Longacre and John E. Haas are to be commended for giving us such a detailed look at the motivation, courage, and especially the political infighting of officers who served in the Army of the Cumberland. Opdycke's letters are expertly annotated with rich detail about the lives of individuals, including privates."--Journal of Southern History

"An absolute goldmine. . . . The Battle for God and the Right . . . is an absolute must for serious students of the western theater. The reader is taken beyond the bland, often self-serving reports of the Official Records and shown the behind-the-scenes personal stories."--Journal of Military History

"There are only a handful of primary sources of this depth by high-ranking Union officers from the western theater. Opdycke's letters are especially important because they are contemporary and intimate, not a sanitized postwar memoir. His words convey the spirit of the times and add much to our understanding of the mid-nineteenth century."--Robert Girardi, coeditor of The Military Memoirs of General John Pope

Glenn V. Longacre is an archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration, Great Lakes Region, Chicago. John E. Haas is a reference archivist with the Ohio Historical Society, Archives/Library Division, Columbus.

Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian

by Edward H. Bonekemper

From the publisher:
Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian is a comprehensive, multi-theater, war-long comparison of the commanding general skills of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.

Unlike most analyses, Bonekemper clarifies the impact both generals had on the outcome of the Civil War - namely, the assistance that Lee provided to Grant by Lee's excessive casualties in Virginia, the consequent drain of Confederate resources from Grant's battlefronts, and Lee's refusal and delay of reinforcements to the combat areas where Grant was operating. The reader will be left astounded by the level of aggression both generals employed to secure victory for their respective causes, demonstrating that Grant was a national general whose tactics were consistent with achieving Union victory, whereas Lee's own priorities constantly undermined the Confederacy's chances of winning the war.

Building on the detailed accounts of both generals' major campaigns and battles, this book provides a detailed comparison of the primary military and personal traits of the two generals. That analysis supports the preface discussion and the chapter-by-chapter conclusions that Grant did what the North needed to do to win the war: be aggressive, eliminate enemy armies, and do so with minimal casualties (154,000), while Lee was too offensive for the undermanned Confederacy, suffered intolerable casualties (209,000), and allowed his obsession with the Commonwealth of Virginia to obscure the broader interests of the Confederacy. In addition, readers will find interest in the 18 clean-cut and lucid battle maps as well as a comprehensive set of appendices that describes the casualties incurred by each army, battle by battle.

"In this sequel to his Lee, Grant and McClellan books, Ed Bonekemper has created a controversial but compelling comparison of Grant and Lee. Although I have always been an admirer of Lee, this book sets forth a convincing case for Grant's superiority." - Ed Baldrige Professor of History, Emeritus, Muhlenberg College

"Instead of following the same old tired pattern comparing the generals during the Campaigns of 1864-65, Bonekemper follows the path each general took comparing and contrasting their successes and failures from the beginning of the Civil War to the outcome at Appomattox. Providing a rich resource of background data, footnotes, and references, data is summarized for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. A must read for all who study these two generals." - Larry Jesse Clowers Ulysses S. Grant Living Historian Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

"Bonekemper throws the spotlight of rigorous scholarship on this riddle, and in doing so, illuminates the era and the men. Thoroughly exploring the details of their adverse relationship, Bonekemper makes a strong case that, indeed, the outcome of the war was attributable in large measure to their differences of temperament and contradictory approach to strategy and tactics. Bonekemper's very readable text plus a wealth of superb maps and illustrations makes this handsome book a must in every Civil War enthusiast's collection." - James L. MacDonald Great-Grandson of four Civil War Veterans

"Ed Bonekemper's "Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian" compares the generalship of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and draws what many might consider a heretical conclusion--that the victor was a better war leader than the loser. He ably backs up this conclusion with a detailed analysis of the war, featuring a groundbreaking study of wartime casualty statistics. This thorough, well- written and passionate look at our Civil War's two military icons should become a "must read" for students of the war." - Bruce Allardice Past president, CWRT of Chicago Author, "More Generals in Gray"

"The value of this book is that the history behind Grant and Lee reveals what it means to be a strategic commander. One general understood the total nature of war and the utility of force at a time when changes in weaponry, transport, and communications materially altered the course of the Civil War." - Dr. Jon R. Carleton, Department Chair, History & Military Studies Fellow, World Association of International Studies

How the South Could Have Won the Civil War: The Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat

by Bevin Alexander

From the publisher:
Could the South have won the Civil War?

To many, the very question seems absurd. After all, the Confederacy had only a third of the population and one-eleventh of the industry of the North. Wasn’t the South’s defeat inevitable?

Not at all, as acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander reveals in this provocative and counterintuitive new look at the Civil War. In fact, the South most definitely could have won the war, and Alexander documents exactly how a Confederate victory could have come about—and how close it came to happening.

Moving beyond fanciful theoretical conjectures to explore actual plans that Confederate generals proposed and the tactics ultimately adopted in the war’s key battles, How the South Could Have Won the Civil War offers surprising analysis on topics such as:

• How the Confederacy had its greatest chance to win the war just three months into the fighting—but blew it

• How the Confederacy’s three most important leaders—President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson—clashed over how to fight the war

• How the Civil War’s decisive turning point came in a battle that the Rebel army never needed to fight

• How the Confederate army devised—but never fully exploited—a way to negate the Union’s huge advantages in manpower and weaponry

• How Abraham Lincoln and other Northern leaders understood the Union’s true vulnerability better than the Confederacy’s top leaders did

• How it is a myth that the Union army’s accidental discovery of Lee’s order of battle doomed theSouth’s 1862 Maryland campaign

• How the South failed to heed the important lessons of its 1863 victory at Chancellorsville

How the South Could Have Won the Civil War shows why there is nothing inevitable about military victory, even for a state with overwhelming strength. Alexander provides a startling account of how a relatively small number of tactical and strategic mistakes cost the South the war—and changed the course of history.

Bevin Alexander is the author of nine books of military history, including How Hitler Could Have Won World War II, How Wars Are Won, How America Got It Right, and Lost Victories, which was named by the Civil War Book Review as one of the seventeen books that have most transformed Civil War scholarship. His battle studies of the Korean War, written during his decorated service as a combat historian, are stored in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bremo Bluff, Virginia.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Clad in Iron: The Civil War and the Challenge of British Naval Power

by Howard J. Fuller

From the publisher:
This work addresses many persistent misconceptions of what the monitors were for, and why they failed in other roles associated with naval operations of the Civil War (such as the repulse at Charleston, April 7, 1863).

Monitors were 'ironclads' - not fort-killers. Their ultimate success is to be measured not in terms of spearheading attacks on fortified Southern ports but in the quieter, much more profound, strategic deterrence of Lord Palmerston's ministry in London, and the British Royal Navy's potential intervention. This relatively unknown 'Cold War' of the American Civil War was a nevertheless crucial aspect of the survival, or not, of the United States in the mid 19th-century.

Foreign intervention--explicitly in the form of British naval power--represented a far more serious threat to the success of the Union blockade, the safety of Yankee merchant shipping worldwide, and Union combined operations against the South than the Confederate States Navy. Whether or not the North or South would be 'clad in iron' thus depended on the ability of superior Union ironclads to deter the majority of mid-Victorian British leaders, otherwise tempted by their desire to see the American 'experiment' in democratic class-structures and popular government finally fail. Discussions of open European involvement in the Civil War were pointless as long as the coastline of the United States was virtually impregnable.

Combining extensive archival research on both sides of the Atlantic, this work offers an in-depth look at how the Union Navy achieved its greatest grand-strategic victory in the American Civil War. Through a combination of high-tech 'machines' armed with 'monster' guns, intensive coastal fortifications and a new fleet of high-speed Union commerce raiders, the North was able to turn the humiliation of the Trent Affair of late 1861 into a sobering challenge to British naval power and imperial defense worldwide.

"Howard Fuller does much more than illuminate the technological advances in 19th century navies, he places those advances within a political, diplomatic, and professional context. In doing so, he has greatly expanded our understanding of how technology influences history." - Craig Symonds

Friday, December 28, 2007

Civil War Films for Teachers and Historians

by Russell William

From the publisher:
Civil War Films for Teachers and Historians discusses teaching the Civil War through film. The book is comprised of four chapters that examine various topics surrounding effective methods in teaching the Civil War through the use of film.

Topics in this book include the appropriate method for incorporating film into the curriculum, relevant legal issues surrounding film use, educational benefits of film use, and a brief history of the Civil War on film.

The heart of the book includes a detailed filmography of nearly 100 movies that pertain to the Civil War. In addition, the book includes a detailed interview with James McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Battle Cry Freedom: The Civil War Era.

William B. Russell III is Assistant Professor of Social Science Education at the University of Central Florida. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Science Education from Florida State University. Dr. Russell has authored numerous refereed articles in professional journals, and is the author of Using Film in the Social Studies published by University Press of America.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader and a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery and Save the Union

by Paul and Stephen Kendrick

From the publisher:
Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln had only three meetings, but their exchanges profoundly influenced the course of slavery and the outcome of the Civil War.

Although Abraham Lincoln deeply opposed the institution of slavery, he saw the Civil War at its onset as being primarily about preserving the Union. Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave, by contrast saw the War’s mission to be the total and permanent abolition of slavery. And yet, these giants of the nineteenth century, despite their different outlooks, found common ground, in large part through their three historic meetings.

Lincoln first invited Douglass to the White House in August 1862. Well-known for his speeches and his internationally read abolitionist newspaper, Douglass laid out for the president his concerns about how the Union army was discriminating against black soldiers. Douglass, often critical of the president in his speeches and articles, was impressed by Lincoln’s response. The following summer when the war was going poorly, the president summoned Douglass to the White House. Fearing that he might not be reelected, Lincoln showed Douglass a letter he had prepared stating his openness to negotiating a settlement to end the Civil War—and leave slavery intact in the South. Douglass strongly advised Lincoln against making the letter public. Lincoln never did; Atlanta fell and he was reelected. Their final meeting was at the White House reception following Lincoln’s second inaugural address, where Lincoln told Douglass there was no man in the country whose opinion he valued more and Douglass called the president’s inaugural address “sacred.”

In elegant prose and with unusual insights, Paul and Stephen Kendrick chronicle the parallel lives of Douglass and Lincoln as a means of presenting a fresh, unique picture of two men who, in their differences, eventually challenged each other to greatness and altered the course of the nation.

Paul Kendrick is a Presidential Arts Scholar at George Washington University. His father Stephen Kendrick is the senior minister of First and Second Church in Boston. They are the authors of Sarah’s Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Civil War on Pensacola Bay, 1861–1862

by John K. Driscoll

From the publisher:
In 1845, sparsely populated Florida had been admitted to the United States along with Iowa in an ill-fated attempt to keep the balance between slave and free states and ultimately avert the civil war that many felt was on the horizon. With the 1861 beginning of hostilities, Florida’s Pensacola Bay area with its magnificent harbor, valuable navy yard and impressive fortifications became hotly contested by Union and Confederate forces. While Pensacola’s lack of navigable rivers and limited rail access had kept it from developing into one of the country’s major commercial centers, its location provided the perfect base for hostile strikes on nearby Mobile and New Orleans.

Focusing on the town of Pensacola and the small residential villages of Warrington and Woolsey, this volume details the events which took place in and around Pensacola Bay immediately before and in the early months of the Civil War. It takes a look at the various people involved and how their personalities and attributes came into play and shaped the course of events. The work presents happenings from a contemporary viewpoint rather than how they were reported and retold at a later time. More than 70 period photographs and illustrations complete the depiction of events.

Retired administrator John K. Driscoll lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the author of Rogue: A Biography of Civil War General Justus McKinstry (2006).

From CWBN:
We had been informed by the publisher that this title would appear in December but both B&N and Amazon currently show it as having been released in October.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cry Havoc!: The Crooked Road to Civil War, 1861

by Nelson D. Lankford

From the publisher:
A compelling re-creation of the eight crucial weeks preceding the Civil War

In early March 1861, civil war loomed. By late April, Americans had begun to kill their fellow citizens. Cry Havoc! recounts in riveting detail the events that divided the states and reveals how quirks of timing, character, and place all conspired to transform the nation into a battlefield. Nelson Lankford, author of Richmond Burning, chronicles the eight critical weeks that began with Lincoln’s inauguration through the explosion at Fort Sumter and the president’s fateful response to it. Before Fort Sumter, the balance could have tipped in favor of a peaceful resolution. This book addresses the many mighthave-beens, both familiar and lesser known. What if Lincoln had delayed the proclamation calling for troops? Could wavering Unionists in the upper South have held the line? A must read for all who wish to understand the birth of the modern United States of America, Cry Havoc! probes the fateful series of events and analyzes each of the failed possibilities that hindsight affords.

Nelson D. Lankford is the author of Richmond Burning and The Last American Aristocrat and the editor of Eye of the Storm and Images from the Storm. He edits The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.

From the critics:
Might-have-beens haunt this absorbing study of the opening act of the Civil War. - Publishers Weekly

Could the conflict have been limited to brush fires of violence until, as Lincoln hoped, "the better angels of our nature" reasserted themselves and a workable compromise was achieved? Lankford asserts that the Civil War was no "irrepressible conflict." - Booklist

From CWBN:
This is the first paperback edition of a hardcover book.

Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy: A Biography of Kentucky Soldier Jerome Clarke

by Thomas S. Watson and Perry A. Brantley

From the publisher:
In 1864, George D. Prentice, editor of the pro-Union Louisville Daily Journal, created the persona of Sue Mundy, a Civil War guerrilla who was in actuality a young man named Marcellus Jerome Clarke.

This volume offers an in-depth, historically accurate account of Clarke's exploits in Kentucky during the Civil War. The work begins with a summary of Kentucky's prewar position: primarily pro-Union yet decidedly anti-Lincoln. The author then discusses the ways in which this paradox gave rise to the guerrilla threat that terrorized Kentuckians during the final years of the war.

Special emphasis is placed on previously unknown facts, names and deeds with dialogue taken directly from testimony in court-martial proceedings. While the main focus of the work is Clarke himself, other perpetrators of guerrilla warfare including William Clarke Quantrill, Sam Berry and Henry Magruder are also covered, as are guerrilla hunters Edwin Terrell and James Bridgewater. The last months of Quantrill's life in Kentucky and his final battle are discussed in detail. Previously unpublished photographs accompany this fascinating Civil War history.

Newsman and historian Thomas Shelby Watson lives in Taylorsville, Kentucky. Perry A. Brantley works with the U.S. postal service and lives in Glasgow, Kentucky.

Friday, December 14, 2007

George W. Alexander and Castle Thunder: A Confederate Prison and It's Commandant

by Frances H. Casstevens

From the publisher:
Captain George W. Alexander was a controversial figure in Richmond during the Civil War, honored as a hero and condemned as a cruel prison superintendent. He was appointed Provost Marshall and put in charge of Castle Thunder in 1862, after escaping imprisonment at Fort McHenry. At his Confederate prison in Richmond, he oversaw prisoners of all types, including Confederates, women, slaves, Federal deserters, and spies.

This biography traces his entire life from his career in the U.S. Navy and the voyage with Commodore Perry to Japan, to his hiding in Canada after Lee’s surrender, to his editorship of Washington DC’s Sunday Gazette and death in 1895. The main body of the text concentrates on Alexander’s time at Castle Thunder, but the book also explores the evolution of the prison system and the provost marshall’s department, touching on unusual prisoners and escape attempts. Appendix 1 is a partial list of prisoners at Castle Thunder and when, where, and why they were arrested. Appendix 2 is a transcript of the court martial of Private John R. Jones. Appendix 3 lists prisoners sent from Camp Holmes and appendix 4 is a report of Alexander as Assistant Provost Marshall. Appendix 5 is a pamphlet published by the Republican Party National Committee; it struck at the Democratic Party by scorning its "military prison keepers."

Retired from Wake Forest University, Frances H. Casstevens is also the author of Clingman’s Brigade in the Confederacy, 1862–1865 (2002), the award-winning The Civil War and Yadkin County, North Carolina (1997), and Edward A. Wild and the African Brigade in the Civil War(2003). She lives in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Texas Terror: The Slave Insurrection Panic of 1860 and the Secession of the Lower South

by Donald E. Reynolds

From the publisher:
On July 8, 1860, fire destroyed the entire business section of Dallas, Texas. At about the same time, two other fires damaged towns near Dallas. Early reports indicated that spontaneous combustion was the cause of the blazes, but four days later, Charles Pryor, editor of the Dallas Herald, wrote letters to editors of pro-Democratic newspapers, alleging that the fires were the result of a vast abolitionist conspiracy, the purpose of which was to devastate northern Texas and free the region's slaves. White preachers from the North, he asserted, had recruited local slaves to set the fires, murder the white men of their region, and rape their wives and daughters.

These sensational allegations set off a panic of unprecedented proportions that extended throughout the Lone Star State and beyond. In Texas Terror, Donald E. Reynolds offers a deft analysis of these events and illuminates the ways in which this fictionalized conspiracy determined the course of southern secession immediately before the Civil War.

As Reynolds explains, all three fires probably resulted from a combination of extreme heat and the presence of new, and highly volatile, phosphorous matches in local stores. But from July until mid-September, vigilantes from the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico charged numerous whites and blacks with involvement in the alleged conspiracy and summarily hanged many of them. Lurid stories of the alleged abolitionist plot in Texas were reprinted in most southern newspapers, and a spate of similar panics occurred in other states. States-rights Democrats asserted that the Republican Party had given tacit approval, if not active support, to the abolitionist scheme, and they repeatedly cited the "Texas Troubles" as an example of what would happen throughout the South if Lincoln were elected President. After Lincoln's election, secessionists charged that all who opposed immediate secession were inviting abolitionists to commit unspeakable depredations. This argument, as Reynolds clearly shows, was used with great effectiveness, particularly where there was significant opposition to immediate secession.

Mining a rich vein of primary sources, Reynolds shows how secessionists throughout the Lower South created public panic for a purpose: preparing a region that traditionally had been nationalistic for withdrawal from the Union. Their exploitation of the "Texas Troubles," Reynolds asserts, was a critical and possibly decisive factor in the Lower South's decision to leave the Union of their fathers and form the Confederacy. 272 pages, 6 Halftones, 1 Map, 6 x 9

Donald E. Reynolds is the author of Editors Make War: Southern Newspapers in the Secession Crisis and Professor Mayo's College: A History of East Texas State University. Professor emeritus of history at Texas A&M, Commerce, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this December title is unknown.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

History Teaches Us to Hope: Reflections on the Civil War and Southern History

by Charles P. Roland (Author) and John David Smith (Editor)

From the publisher:
Charles Pierce Roland ranks as one of the most distinguished and respected historians of the Civil War and the American South. A former president of the Southern Historical Association, Roland is the author of nine books, including An American Iliad: The Story of the Civil War, the definitive biography of Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston, and a history of the South since World War II.

History Teaches Us to Hope collects Roland's most important work--some previously unpublished--on secession and the Civil War, Civil War leadership, and the South in fact and myth, and also includes personal reflections by Roland about his own life and career.

"Charles Roland is one of the most eminent historians of our time. . . . These essays go far in explaining why he is held in such high esteem."--James I. Robertson Jr., author of Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend

"Charles P. Roland has earned a wide and appreciative audience for his many books on southern and Civil War history. This collection offers his many admirers more excellent writing and analysis--as well as a thoroughly engaging memoir of key parts of his formative years in Tennessee and his service in World War II."--Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War

"Charles Roland stands at the forefront of southern and Civil War historians. For more than a half century he has enlightened and rewarded both historians and the general public with his winning prose and spirited interpretations. This volume is fitting recognition of his accomplishments. Its essays underscore the range of Roland's interests from Louisiana sugar planters, to Civil War generalship, to the twentieth-century South. Including human, at times humorous, autobiographical pieces was a marvelous idea, for they let readers see Charlie Roland the man, not just the historian."--William J. Cooper, Louisiana State University

"What a perfectly sweet distillation of the best writing by a truly revered historian of the Civil War and the American South. Anyone familiar with Professor Roland knows that he pulls no punches when he tells a story and argues a point, and yet he is always measured, precise, and judicious. A reader can almost perceive his demeanor and hear his penetrating voice on every page. No wonder that generations of scholars consider him a matchless model of integrity and wisdom."--T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University

Charles P. Roland is Alumni Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of Albert Sidney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics and The Improbable Era: The South Since WWII .

John David Smith is Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this December title is unknown.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Dark Intrigue: The True Story of a Civil War Conspiracy

by Frank Van Der Linden

From the publisher:
The Dark Intrigue tells for the first time the incredible story of how leaders of an American political party, during the Civil War, conferred cordially with enemy agents in a foreign country in a scheme to oust the president of the United States and enforce peace without victory.

Most Northerners initially supported Abraham Lincoln's war against the Southern Confederacy to save the Union. But later, many turned against it when the death toll soared above a half million. Hoping to recapture the White House as a "peace party," leading Democrats met with Confederate agents in the summer of 1864 and discussed ways to end the war-not win it. Lincoln charged that one Confederate agent, C. C. Clay, had convinced the Democrats to orchestrate an armistice. This intriguing book reveals letters from Clay that confirm Lincoln's suspicions. A fascinating read, The Dark Intrigue brings an important piece of Civil War history to light.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this December title is unknown.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Butcher's Cleaver (Novel)

by W. Patrick Lang

From the publisher:
The Devereuxs of Alexandria, Virginia were moderate people. The eldest son seemed the most moderate of all.

Claude Devereux wanted no part of secession. None of his family wanted Virginia to leave the Union. This family of bankers owned no slaves and believed slavery to be an institution to be rid of. The Devereux wanted to be left alone in their private world. Nevertheless, they found Virginia's decision to secede compelling and the Lincoln Administration's decision to "suppress rebellion" in the South to be unacceptable.

Family separation and exile from their home had been the inevitable result. Some family members sided with the Union, but the overwhelming majority "went South" into the 17th Virginia Infantry, the Alexandria Regiment. In the third year of the war, the crushing forces of greater manpower, the naval blockade and the world's largest industrial base were steadily driving the Confederacy to its knees. Desperate times demand desperate measures. In such times who could be better placed for action against disaster than a family of merchant bankers? In that year of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Vicksburg, something had to "be done". Some gateway leading out of the maze had to be found.

The Butcher's Cleaver, an epic novel of Confederate and Union intelligence in the American Civil War has now been published and is available for purchase.

This tale of war and espionage has been many years in creation. It is the product of a lifetime of experience in peace and war...

Its pages are filled with the people of the time; North, South, soldier, spy, slave, master, man, woman. and victim. This sweeping story of the struggle that lies at the heart of American history and identity is fiction in the tradition of Margaret Mitchell, Michael Shaara and John Le Carre.

W. Patrick Lang is a retired high level military intelligence officer, a life long student of the American Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. He is a widely published author and military consultant. His broad experience of combat and of the espionage world uniquely combine to give him special insight into the realities of such events across time. He lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia.

From CWBN:
This title was released last month but was accidentally omitted from November's listings.

Mark Twain's Civil War

by Mark Twain

From the publisher:
Had there been no Civil War, the eminent American author known as Mark Twain would likely have spent his life as Sam Clemens, the Mississippi River steamboat pilot. When the war came and the steamboats stopped running, Clemens served two weeks in the Missouri State Guard before he fled west to begin his career as a writer.
After the Civil War dramatically altered the course of Twain's life and career, his thoughts and stories about the war were published widely. Mark Twain's Civil War marks the first occasion for readers to survey the full range of his Civil War writings in one volume. The book contains autobiographical pieces as well as fiction, appealing to both Twain enthusiasts and Civil War scholars.

David Rachels, associate professor of English at the Virginia Military Institute, is the editor and coeditor of several books, including The First West: Writing from the American Frontier, 1776-1860.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this December title is unknown.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine

by Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein

From the publisher:
The story of Civil War medicine--the staggering challenge of treating wounds and disease on both sides of the conflict--is one of the most compelling aspects of the war. Written for general readers and scholars alike, this first-of-its kind encyclopedia will help all Civil War enthusiasts to better understand this amazing medical saga.

Clearly organized, authoritative, and readable, The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine covers both traditional historical subjects and medical details. It offers clear explanations of unfamiliar medical terms, diseases, wounds, and treatments. The encyclopedia depicts notable medical personalities, generals with notorious wounds, soldiers' aid societies, medical department structure, and hospital design and function. It highlights the battles with the greatest medical significance, women's medical roles, period sanitation issues, and much more.

Presented in A-Z format with more than 200 entries, the encyclopedia treats both Union and Confederate material in a balanced way. Its many user-friendly features include a chronology, a glossary, cross-references, and a bibliography for further study.

"What Mark Boatner's Dictionary did for the Civil War in general, Dr. Schroeder-Lein's book has done for the medical aspects of the Civil War. This volume is a must for any Civil War medical researcher, whether layperson or medical professional. A must have book for any Civil War era medical library." -- Peter J. D'Onofrio, Ph.D., President, Society of Civil War Surgeons, Inc.

"Disease and medical practices during the American Civil War have been the subject of important scholarship in recent years. This encyclopedia is an invaluable reference work for consultation by those who are interested in these questions. Clear, concise, accurate, its entries are readily accessible to the lay reader. I wish it had been available when I wrote my books on the war." -- James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this December title is unknown.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison

by Kelly Pucci

From the publisher:
Thousands of Confederate soldiers died in Chicago during the Civil War, not from battle wounds, but from disease, starvation, and torture as POWs in a military prison three miles from the Chicago Loop.

Initially treated as a curiosity, attitudes changed when newspapers reported the deaths of Union soldiers on southern battlefields. As the prison population swelled, deadly diseases—smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia—quickly spread through Camp Douglas. Starving prisoners caught stealing from garbage dumps were tortured or shot.

Fearing a prisoner revolt, a military official declared martial law in Chicago, and civilians, including a Chicago mayor and his family, were arrested, tried, and sentenced by a military court.

At the end of the Civil War, Camp Douglas closed, its buildings were demolished, and records were lost or destroyed. The exact number of dead is unknown; however, 6,000 Confederate soldiers incarcerated at Camp Douglas are buried among mayors and gangsters in a South Side cemetery. Camp Douglas: Chicago’s Civil War Prison explores a long-forgotten chapter of American history, clouded in mystery and largely forgotten.

Kelly Pucci writes for a variety of magazines, Web sites, and newspapers. As a native Chicagoan, she enjoys exploring local history and has written about Chicago’s ethnic restaurants, neighborhoods, and museums.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Winter Lightning: A Guide to the Battle of Stones River

by Matt and Lee Spruill

From the publisher:
From December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles raged as more than 42,000 Union troops led by General William S. Rosecrans met 37,000 Confederates under General Braxton Bragg near the small town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Battle of Stones River, which the Union declared as a victory, significantly boosted Union morale in the Western Theater.

Stones River has received scant attention in comparison to other battles, such as Gettysburg, Shiloh, and Vicksburg, especially in the publication of tour guidebooks. Winter Lightning is the only battlefield guide to Stones River available in print. Designed as a step-by-step primer for visitors to the Stones River National Battlefield, it offers a comprehensive, “you are there” overview of the important events that took place during the battle.

Winter Lightening follows a sequential series of twenty-one “stops” to guide the visitor through the battlefield over the exact routes used by both armies, offering informative details on what happened at key points along the way. The guide divides the battle into three segments: the west flank, the center, and the east flank. This approach allows visitors to follow the battle in its entirety or in any order they wish. Detailed maps and extensive primary material including commentary by commanders, letters, and other fascinating sources further enrich the visitor's experience.

Matt Spruill is a retired U.S. Army colonel and formerly a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide. He is the author of Guide to the Battle of Chickamauga, Storming the Heights and Echoes of Thunder. Lee Spruill, a paramedic and fireman, is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Missouri's War: The Civil War in Documents

by Silvana R. Siddali (Editor)

From the publisher:
Civil War Missouri stood at the crossroads of America. As the most Southern-leaning state in the Middle West, Missouri faced a unique dilemma. The state formed the gateway between east and west, as well as one of the borders between the two contending armies. Moreover, because Missouri was the only slave state in the Great Interior, the conflicts that were tearing the nation apart were also starkly evident within the state.

Deep divisions between Southern and Union supporters, as well as guerrilla violence on the western border, created a terrible situation for civilians who lived through the attacks of bushwhackers and Jayhawkers.

The documents collected in Missouri's War reveal what factors motivated Missourians to remain loyal to the Union or to fight for the Confederacy, how they coped with their internal divisions and conflicts, and how they experienced the end of slavery in the state. Private letters, diary entries, song lyrics, official Union and Confederate army reports, newspaper editorials, and sermons illuminate the war within and across Missouri's borders.

Missouri's War also highlights the experience of free and enslaved African Americans before the war, as enlisted Union soldiers, and in their effort to gain rights after the end of the war. Although the collection focuses primarily on the war years, several documents highlight both the national sectional conflict that led to the outbreak of violence and the effort to reunite the conflicting forces in Missouri after the war.

Silvana R. Siddali is an assistant professor of history at Saint Louis University. She is the author of From Property to Person: Slavery the Confiscation Acts, 1861-1862.

A People at War: Civilians and Soldiers in America's Civil War, 1854-1877

by Scott Nelson and Carol Sheriff

From the publisher:
A People at War refutes the popular belief that during the American Civil War the citizenry bent to the will of the nation's great military and political leaders. Capturing how the war rocked the lives of all segments of society, it argues that conflicts off the battlefield splintered society in the North and South, creating widespread chaos, guerrilla warfare, urban riots, and unprecedented public outcry which drove the actions of the leaders who now define the era: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee.

The book also brings to life the full humanity of the war's participants--from women behind their plows to their husbands in army camps; from refugees from slavery to their former masters; from Mayflower descendants to freshly recruited Irish sailors. It describes how people confronted their own feelings about the war itself, and how they coped with emotional challenges (uncertainty, exhaustion, fear, guilt, betrayal, grief) as well as physical ones (displacement, poverty, illness, disfigurement). In addition, the authors examine how the West--and the dreams the Easterners attached to it--played a crucial role in a supposedly North-South conflict. A People at War stresses the war years, but also casts an eye at the tumultuous decades that preceded and followed. It is an ideal resource for American History courses focusing on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

"Bold, synthetic, and creative, A People at War presents the history of the Civil War in a way that is at once sweeping in scope and visceral in register. To the chronicle of failed compromises and hallowed battles, Nelson and Sheriff add a framing sense of the social and economic spaces of the nineteenth-century, a revisionary emphasis on the global and imperial dimensions of the Civil War era, and a pointillist attention to the hopes and terrors of the ordinary people black, white, and Indian, women and men who lived and died on wars leading edge." --Walter Johnson, Harvard University

Friday, November 30, 2007

George Stoneman: A Biography of the Union General

by Ben Fuller Fordney

From the publisher:
During an 1865 raid through North Carolina, Major General George Stoneman missed capturing the fleeing Jefferson Davis only by a matter of hours, timing somewhat typical of Stoneman’s life and career.

This biography provides an in-depth look at the life and military career of Major General George Stoneman, beginning with his participation in the 2,000-mile march of the Mormon Battalion and other western expeditions.

The main body of the work focuses on his Civil War service, during which he directed the progress of the Union cavalry and led several pivotal raids on Confederate forces.

In spite of Stoneman’s postwar career as military governor of Virginia and governor of California, his life was marked by his inability to reach ultimate success in war or politics, necessitating a discussion of his weaknesses as a commander and a politician. Period photographs are included.

The Women Will Howl: The Union Army Capture of Roswell and New Manchester, Georgia, and the Forced Relocation of Mill Workers

by Mary Deborah Petite

From the publisher:
In July 1864, Union General William T. Sherman ordered the arrest and deportation of over 400 women and children from the villages of Roswell and New Manchester, Georgia. Branded traitors for their work in the cotton mills which supplied much needed material to the Confederacy, these civilians were shipped to cities in the North (already crowded with refugees) and left to fend for themselves.

This work details the little known story of the hardships these women and children endured before and—most especially—after they were forcibly taken from their homes. Beginning with the founding of Roswell, it examines the prevalent atmosphere in the area and the pre-war circumstances that created this class of women. The main focus, however, is what befell the women at the hands of Sherman’s army and what they faced once they reached Northern states such as Illinois and Indiana. An appendix details the roll of political prisoners from Sweetwater (New Manchester).

Mary Deborah Petite lives in Foster City, California.

More Than a Contest Between Armies: Essays on the Civil War Era

by James Marten and A. Kristen Foster (editors)

From the publisher:
For more than a decade, Marquette University has honored Frank L. Klement, a longtime member of its history department whose reputation as a historian was established with his “alternative view” of the Civil War, with the annual Frank L. Klement Lectures: Alternative Views of the Sectional Conflict. Lecturers are asked to examine an unexplored aspect of the Civil War or to reinterpret an important theme of the conflict, including, among others, the war’s effect on race and gender, historians’ interest in studying the experiences of representative individuals as well as communities, and the emerging field of memory studies.

From the very beginning of the series, lecturers were chosen from among the best-known Civil War historians. They are among the elite scholars responsible for the continuing popularity of the Civil War era among both academics and the interested public. The twelve essays in this anthology were lectures presented by Edward L. Ayers, William Blair, David W. Blight, Catherine Clinton, Gary W. Gallagher, J. Matthew Gallman, Lesley J. Gordon, Robert W. Johannsen, Mark E. Neely Jr., George Rable, John Y. Simon, and Joan Waugh.

In a single volume, More Than a Contest Between Armies offers readers an impressive array of topics, approaches, and perspectives certain to interest both buffs and scholars.

James Marten is professor and chair of the history department at Marquette University and founder of the Frank L. Klement Lecture Series.

A. Kristen Foster is assistant professor in the history department at Marquette University.

George Thomas: Virginian for the Union

by Christopher J. Einolf

From CWBN:
Remembered as the "Rock of Chickamauga," Thomas was so effective he became one of the most prominent Union generals and at one point was considered for overall command of the Union Army. Yet he has been eclipsed in fame by such names as Grant, Sherman, or Sheridan.

Offering vivid accounts of combat, Einolf depicts the fighting from Thomas's perspective to allow a unique look at the real experience of decision making on the battlefield. He examines the general's recurring confrontations with the Union high command to make a strong case for Thomas's integrity and competence, even as he exposes Thomas's shortcomings and poor decisions. The result is a more balanced, nuanced picture than has previously been available. Einolf also explores Thomas's schooling at West Point, early military service in the Seminole and Mexican wars, and his postwar life--notably his service as a military commander in Tennessee protecting freed slaves from the terror of the Ku Klux Klan.

Christopher J. Einolf is the author of The Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System.

Campaign for Wilson's Creek: The Fight for Missouri Begins

by Jeffrey L. Patrick

From the publisher:
In early 1861, most Missourians hoped they could remain neutral in the upcoming conflict between North and South. In fact, a popularly elected state convention voted in March of that year that "no adequate cause" existed to compel Missouri to leave the Union. Instead, Missourians saw themselves as ideologically centered between the radical notions of abolition and secession.

By that summer, however, the situation had deteriorated dramatically. Due to the actions of politicians and soldiers such as Missouri Gov. Claiborne Jackson and Union Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, Missourians found themselves forced to take sides.

Campaign for Wilson's Creek is a fascinating story of high-stakes military gambles, aggressive leadership and lost opportunities. It is also a tale of unique military units, untried but determined commanders, colorful volunteers and professional soldiers. The first major campaign of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River guaranteed that Missourians would be engaged in a long, cruel civil war within the larger, national struggle.

Jeffrey L. Patrick is the National Park Service librarian at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. He is the author of numerous articles on various aspects of American military history, and is the editor/coeditor of two Civil War diaries. He lives in Republic, Missouri.

Waters of Discord: The Union Blockade of Texas During the Civil War

by Rodman L. Underwood

From the publisher:
At the beginning of the American Civil War the Federal government imposed a blockade of the southern coast of the Confederate States of America, including the “dark corner of the Confederacy”—Texas. Much of the fighting in Texas during the Civil War took place in the state’s coastal counties and the adjoining Gulf of Mexico waters, and nearly all of these engagements were involved in one way or another with the Union blockade of the Texas coast.

This book examines all major blockade-related land and sea engagements in and near Texas, and also includes many minor ones. It begins with a discussion of the blockade’s creation and then concentrates on the successful Confederate efforts to evade the blockade by shipping cotton out of Mexico and, in return, receiving matériel and civilian goods through that neutral nation. The author also covers political intrigue and the spy activity with the French who had invaded Mexico. The book concludes with an analysis of the effectiveness of the Union blockade of Texas.

“excellent...well documented” — The Civil War News.

Rodman L. Underwood is also the author of Stephen Russell Mallory (2005). He lives in Port Orange, Florida.

The Camden Expedition of 1864 and the Opportunity Lost by the Confederacy to Change the Civil War

by Michael J. Forsyth

From the publisher:
The Confederacy had a great opportunity to turn the Civil War in its favor in 1864, but squandered this chance when it failed to finish off a Union army cornered in Louisiana because of concerns about another Union army coming south from Arkansas. The Confederates were so confused that they could not agree on a course of action to contend with both threats, thus the Union offensive advancing from Arkansas saved the one in Louisiana and became known to history as the Camden Expedition.

The Camden Expedition is intriguing because of the “might-have-beens” had the key players made different decisions. The author contends that if Frederick Steele, commander of the Federal VII Army Corps, had not received a direct order from General Ulysses S. Grant to move south, disaster would have befallen not only the Army of the Gulf in Louisiana but the entire Union cause, and possibly would have prevented Abraham Lincoln from winning reelection.

“Well-researched and very readable account...maps are excellent and a valuable order of battle and campaign chronology are included...fine study...this exciting account of the Camden Expedition will convince readers that there are still good stories to be found ‘west of the river’” — The Civil War News

“Scholarly...recommended” — Colorado Libraries

“Compelling...Forsyth is an excellent military author” — The Journal of America’s Military Past

A lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, Michael J. Forsyth is also the author of The Red River Campaign of 1864 and the Loss by the Confederacy of the Civil War (2002).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reminiscences of Major General Zenas R. Bliss, 1854-1876: From the Texas Frontier to the Civil War and Back Again

by Thomas T. Smith, Jerry D. Thompson, Robert Wooster, and Ben E. Pingenot (Editors)

From the publisher:
The "Reminiscences" of Maj. Gen. Zenas R. Bliss are a remarkably detailed account of his army service in Texas before and after the Civil War. Many scholars consider Bliss's recollections to be one of the best from a soldier of the "Old Army." It has become a staple primary resource for Texas frontier research for the last three decades.
Bliss's memoirs serve as a rare and important window into Texas' military, political, cultural, and geographical history. The memoirs cover Bliss's graduation at West Point in 1854, his antebellum service at Fort Duncan, Camp Hudson, and Fort Davis, as well as his return to the Texas frontier in 1870, and end with his duties at Fort Davis in 1876. Details also describe his capture by Texas Confederate forces in 1861, his tribulations as a prisoner of war, and his subsequent Civil War experiences as a Union regimental commander at Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, and Petersburg, where he was at the battle of the Crater. For gallantry at Fredericksburg, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

While commanding buffalo soldiers at Fort Duncan in 1870, Bliss conceived the idea of enlisting Seminole-Negro Indians from Mexico as army scouts. After successfully lobbying the departmental commander and the War Department for approval, Bliss formed the first band of Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts in August of 1870. The unit served the army with extraordinary devotion and distinction until 1912.

Bliss served in Texas longer than any other army officer (twenty-three years) and rose in rank from second lieutenant to departmental commander. Possessing a keen sense of humor, an eye for detail, and a boisterous social nature, his lively account of the people and places of the antebellum and post-Civil War Texas frontier is among the very best of Texas history.

COL. THOMAS T. SMITH, Garrison Commander, Fort Riley, Kansas, is the author of The Old Army in Texas. JERRY D. THOMPSON, Regents Professor at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, is the author of numerous publications, including Civil War and Revolution on the Rio Grande Frontier. ROBERT WOOSTER, Joe Frantz Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is the author of many books, including Frontier Crossroads: Fort Davis and the West. BEN E. PINGENOT, deceased, was the author of many books, including Siringo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Senator Henry Wilson and the Civil War

By John L. Myers

From the publisher:
This biography shows that by the beginning of the Civil War, Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson had established himself as one of the leaders of the Republican party. Together with Abraham Lincoln and Henry B. Stanton, Wilson ranks as one of the three most important civilian figures that contributed to creating and sustaining the military. As Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, he introduced and succeeded in passing most of the necessary legislation to obtain and to support an army, including the Enrollment Act of 1863.

Wilson, more than any other politician was responsible for influencing the successful passage of antislavery legislation during the Civil War years. Contemporary newspapers gave him the primary credit for abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, which was the most important abolition step prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. When free Black men were admitted to the army, Wilson worked hard to obtain equal pay for them. Late in the war, he played a major role in the creation of the Freedmen's Bureau. Among his other legendary achievements, Wilson used his influential position to support Clara Barton, enabling her to aid wounded soldiers. He also introduced and succeeded in having passed legislation creating the Congressional Medal of Honor and establishing the National Academy of Science.

John L. Myers is Emeritus Professor of History, State University of New York, Plattsburgh. In 2005, he published Henry Wilson and the Coming of the Civil War (University Press of America). He has written a large number of articles dealing with the antislavery agents in the 1830s. His received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

The Badax Tigers: From Shiloh to the Surrender with the 18th Wisconsin Volunteers

by Nanzig Thomas

From the publisher:
This intimate unit history of the Badax Tigers chronicles the experiences of Company C of the 18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry during the entire Civil War as seen through the eyes of Private Thomas Jefferson Davis. Davis's letters provide an extraordinarily complete picture of a typical Federal volunteer company in the Civil War and are supplemented by newspaper articles and letters of other soldiers.

Thomas P. Nanzig holds degrees in higher education administration/counseling from Michigan State University and The College of William and Mary and in the library and archival studies from the University of Michigan. He is currently a history and genealogy collections editor with Bell & Howell Information and Learning in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is also the president of the Ann Arbor Civil War Round Table.

From CWBN:
This is the first paperback edition of a hardcover book.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe

by Thomas Dilorenzo

From the publisher:
What if you were told that the revered leader Abraham Lincoln was actually a political tyrant who stifled his opponents by suppressing their civil rights? What if you learned that the man so affectionately referred to as the “Great Emancipator” supported white supremacy and pledged not to interfere with slavery in the South? Would you suddenly start to question everything you thought you knew about Lincoln and his presidency?

You should.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, who ignited a fierce debate about Lincoln’s legacy with his book The Real Lincoln, now presents a litany of stunning new revelations that explode the most enduring (and pernicious) myths about our sixteenth president. Marshaling an astonishing amount of new evidence, Lincoln Unmasked offers an alarming portrait of a political manipulator and opportunist who bears little resemblance to the heroic, stoic, and principled figure of mainstream history.

Did you know that Lincoln . . .

• did NOT save the union? In fact, Lincoln did more than any other individual to destroy the voluntary union the Founding Fathers recognized.

• did NOT want to free the slaves? Lincoln, who did not believe in equality of the races, wanted the Constitution to make slavery “irrevocable.”

• was NOT a champion of the Constitution? Contrary to his high-minded rhetoric, Lincoln repeatedly trampled on the Constitution—and even issued an arrest warrant for the chief justice of the United States!

• was NOT a great statesman? Lincoln was actually a warmonger who manipulated his own people into a civil war.

• did NOT utter many of his most admired quotations? DiLorenzo exposes a legion of statements that have been falsely attributed to Lincoln for generations—usually to enhance his image.

In addition to detailing Lincoln’s offenses against the principles of freedom, equality, and states’ rights, Lincoln Unmasked exposes the vast network of academics, historians, politicians, and other “gatekeepers” who have sanitized his true beliefs and willfully distorted his legacy. DiLorenzo reveals how the deification of Lincoln reflects a not-so-hidden agenda to expand the size and scope of the American state far beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned—an expansion that Lincoln himself began.

The hagiographers have shaped Lincoln’s image to the point that it has become more fiction than fact. With Lincoln Unmasked, DiLorenzo shows us an Abraham Lincoln without the rhetoric, lies, and political bias that have clouded a disastrous president’s enduring damage to the nation.

From the critics:
Emotionally, the text gains energy from DiLorenzo's claim that a "cult" of biographers and Civil War historians conceals the historical Lincoln from the public, but if this cabal exits, it is unable to stanch a steady flow of anti-Lincoln books. However, general readers are accustomed to noncritical admiration of Lincoln and might be motivated by DiLorenzo's assertive, free-swinging style into exploring the validity of his argument. - Booklist

But Lincoln is not DiLorenzo's real target; he saves his most vitriolic bombast for the scholars who dominate American universities (most notably Eric Foner) and who, he charges, are "cover-up artists" and "propagandists." DiLorenzo accuses them of using their Lincoln mythology to advocate big government and ther "imperialistic" and "totalitarian" policies. DiLorenzo accuses the "cultists" of having a political agenda. He may well be hoisted by his own petard. - Publishers Weekly

From CWBN:
This is the first paperback edition of a hardcover book.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia

by Aaron Sheehan-Dean

In the first comprehensive study of the experience of Virginia soldiers and their families in the Civil War, Aaron Sheehan-Dean captures the inner world of the rank-and-file. He challenges earlier arguments that middle- and lower-class southerners gradually withdrew their support for the Confederacy because their class interests were not being met. Instead he argues that Virginia soldiers continued to be motivated by the profound emotional connection between military service and the protection of home and family, even as the war dragged on.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is assistant professor of history at the University of North Florida. He is editor of Struggle for a Vast Future: The American Civil War and The View from the Ground: The Experience of Civil War Soldiers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney

by James F. Simon

From the publisher:
The clashes between President Abraham Lincoln and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney over slavery, secession, and the president's constitutional war powers went to the heart of Lincoln's presidency. James Simon, author of the acclaimed What Kind of Nation -- an account of the battle between President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall to define the new nation -- brings to vivid life the passionate struggle during the worst crisis in the nation's history, the Civil War. The issues that underlaid that crisis -- race, states' rights, and the president's wartime authority -- resonate today in the nation's political debate.

Lincoln and Taney's bitter disagreements began with Taney's Dred Scott opinion in 1857, when the chief justice declared that the Constitution did not grant the black man any rights that the white man was bound to honor. In the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln attacked the opinion as a warped judicial interpretation of the Framers' intent and accused Taney of being a member of a pro-slavery national conspiracy.

In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln insisted that the South had no legal right to secede. Taney, who administered the oath of office to Lincoln, believed that the South's secession was legal and in the best interests of both sections of the country.

Once the Civil War began, Lincoln broadly interpreted his constitutional powers as commander in chief to prosecute the war, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, censoring the mails, and authorizing military courts to try civilians for treason. Taney opposed every presidential wartime initiative and openly challenged Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeascorpus. He accused the president of assuming dictatorial powers in violation of the Constitution. Lincoln ignored Taney's protest, convinced that his actions were both constitutional and necessary to preserve the Union.

Almost 150 years after Lincoln's and Taney's deaths, their words and actions reverberate in constitutional debate and political battle. Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney tells their dramatic story in fascinating detail.

From the critics:
Simon's focus on Lincoln and Taney makes for a dramatic, charged narrative and the focus on presidential war powers makes this historical study extremely timely. - Publishers Weekly

From CWBN:
This short book, an easy read, will best be enjoyed by readers who know little of Lincoln or Taney. The parallel stroytelling structure, alternating biographical chapters, will wear thin for those already versed in Lincoln's background. The book is an enjoyable read, trading analytical depth for drama and color.

This is the first paperback edition of a hardcover book.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

American Civil War Fortifications: The Mississippi and River Forts, Vol. 3

by Adam Hook

From the publisher:
The Mississippi River played a decisive role in the American Civil War. The Confederate fortifications that controlled the lower Mississippi valley were put to the test in the lengthy Federal campaign of 1862-63. Vicksburg was a fortress city, known as the "Gibraltar of the Confederacy," whose capture is often seen as the key to victory in the war.

This book explores the fortifications of the river valley, focusing on Vicksburg and its defenses which boasted a network of forts, rifle pits, and cannon embrasures surrounding the city and examining the strengths and weaknesses of the fortifications when under siege. Also examined are numerous other fortified strongholds, including New Orleans, Port Hudson, New Madrid and, forts Henry and Donelson, all lavishly illustrated with full color artwork and cutaways.

Ron Field is Head of History at the Cotswold School in Burton-on-the-Water. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught history at Piedmont High School in California from 1982 to 1983. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain from 1983 to 1992. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on US military history, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, based in Washington, DC, in 2005.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction

by Mark E., Jr. Neely

From the publisher:
The Civil War is often portrayed as the most brutal war in America's history, a premonition of twentieth-century slaughter and carnage. In challenging this view, Mark E. Neely, Jr., considers the war's destructiveness in a comparative context, revealing the sense of limits that guided the conduct of American soldiers and statesmen.

Neely begins by contrasting Civil War behavior with U.S. soldiers' experiences in the Mexican War of 1846. He examines Price's Raid in Missouri for evidence of deterioration in the restraints imposed by the customs of war; and in a brilliant analysis of Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign, he shows that the actions of U.S. cavalrymen were selective and controlled. The Mexican war of the 1860s between French imperial forces and republicans provided a new yardstick for brutality: Emperor Maximilian's infamous Black Decree threatened captured enemies with execution. Civil War battles, however, paled in comparison with the unrestrained warfare waged against the Plains Indians. Racial beliefs, Neely shows, were a major determinant of wartime behavior.

Destructive rhetoric was rampant in the congressional debate over the resolution to avenge the treatment of Union captives at Andersonville by deliberately starving and freezing to death Confederate prisoners of war. Nevertheless, to gauge the events of the war by the ferocity of its language of political hatred is a mistake, Neely argues. The modern overemphasis on violence in Civil War literature has led many scholars to go too far in drawing close analogies with the twentieth century's "total war" and the grim guerrilla struggles of Vietnam.

Love amid the Turmoil: The Civil War Letters of William and Mary Vermilion

by Donald C. Elder

From the publisher:
“The letters of William and Mary Vermilion provide a unique glimpse into the changes the war inflicted on men, women, and family relationships . . . [they] offer a rich discussion of the politics of the home front in two states as well as the progress of military action, expecially in the Western theatre. . . . This is a welcome complement to the literature on the Civil War’s impact on gender and marriage.”—Choice

“What a find! This remarkable cache of Civil War letters reveals a companionate marriage of two literate, caring individuals who explore the meaning of their love and the meaning of the war that has separated them. Well illustrated and well documented, the book's pages take the reader from honesty and sensitivity to disappointment and despair. Elder proves that historical documents can be more compelling than fiction.” —Glenda Riley, Alexander M. Bracken Professor, Ball State University

William Vermilion (1830-1894) served as a captain in Company F of the 36th Iowa Infantry from October 1862 until September 1865. Although he was a physician in Iconium in south central Iowa at the start of the war, after it ended he became a noted lawyer in nearby Centerville; he was also a state senator from 1869 to 1872. Mary Vermilion (1831-1883) was a schoolteacher who grew up in Indiana; she and William married in 1858. In this volume historian Donald Elder pro-vides a careful selection from the hundreds of supportive, informative, and heart-wrenching letters that they wrote each other during the war—the most complete collection of letters exchanged between a husband and a wife during the Civil War.

Donald Elder is professor of history and chair of the department at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. He is also the editor of A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton (Iowa, 1998) and author of Out from behind the Eight-Ball: The History of Project Echo.

Iowa's Forgotten General: Matthew Mark Trumbull and the Civil War

by Kenneth L. Lyftogt

From the publisher:
Matthew Mark Trumbull was a Londoner who immigrated at the age of twenty. Within ten years of his arrival in America, he had become a lawyer in Butler County, Iowa; two years later a member of the state legislature; and two years after that a captain in the Union Army. By the end of the Civil War, he was a brevet brigadier general, and in his later years he was an author and lecturer. Kenneth Lyftogt’s biography details the amazing life of this remarkable man, also shedding light on the histories of the Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry and the Ninth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry.

Kenneth Lyftogt is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Northern Iowa. He has walked all the major battlefields of the Civil War and participated in reenactments. He is editor of Left for Dixie and the author of From Blue Mills to Columbia: Cedar Falls and the Civil War (Iowa, 1993) and the novel Road Freaks of Trans-Amerika.

Seventh Rhode Island Infantry in the Civil War

by Robert Grandchamp

From the publisher:
With over an 80 percent casualty rate by the war’s end, the Seventh Rhode Island participated in some of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. From its muster in the fall of 1862 through the death of the Seventh’s last surviving veteran in 1939, this regimental history records the story of the Seventh Rhode Island, a regiment which was among the last of the three years’ volunteers. Compiled primarily from firsthand sources such as letters and diaries, it follows the Seventh from Providence, Rhode Island, through the swamps of the Mississippi to the grueling Overland Campaign, providing a gripping historical narrative in the words of those who were actually present.

Appendices contain a list of casualties suffered by the regiment, a detailed Role of Honor and a division of enlistments by town. Period photographs, portraits and sketches complete this fascinating tale of the Seventh Rhode Island.

Robert Grandchamp is the author of numerous articles on Rhode Island’s Civil War past. A student at Rhode Island College in Providence. he resides in Warwick.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina and the Civil War: A History of Battle and Occupation

by Alex Christopher Meekins

From the publisher:
An account of a little-known theater of the Civil War.

In February of 1862, a Union naval force captured Elizabeth City. This fascinating history characterizes the overall situation in the notheastern North Carolina, where secessionists and Union sympathizers tangled right up until the Battle of Appomattox.

The First Louisiana Special Battalion: Wheat’s Tigers in the Civil War

by Gary Schreckengost

From the publisher:
From the little-known Filibuster Wars to the Civil War battlefield of Gaines’ Mill, this volume details the fascinating story of one of the South’s most colorful military units, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion, aka Wheat’s Tigers.

Beginning with a brief look at the Filibuster Wars (a set of military attempts to annex Latin American countries into the United States as slave states), the work takes a close look at the men who comprised Wheat’s Tigers: Irish immigrant ship hands, New Orleans dock workers and Filibuster veterans. Commanded by one of the greatest antebellum filibusterers, Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, the Tigers quickly distinguished themselves in battle through their almost reckless bravery, proving instrumental in Southern victories at the battles of Front Royal, Winchester and Port Republic. An in-depth look at Battle of Gaines’ Mill, in which Wheat’s Tigers suffered heavy casualties, including their commander, completes the story.

Appendices provide a compiled roster of the Wheat’s Tigers, a look at the 1st Louisiana’s uniforms and a copy of Wheat’s report about the Battle of Manassas. Never-before-published photographs are also included.

Author and historian Gary Schreckengost lives in Elm, Pennsylvania. An infantry officer in the Army Reserves, his work has been published in American Civil War Magazine, World War II Magazine, Field Artillery Journal and Armor Magazine.

On Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War

by Anthony W. Lee

From the publisher:
Soon after Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book was published, in 1866, it became the Civil War's best-known visual record and helped define how viewers, then and in subsequent generations, would come to know the war.

Gardner's classic also became foundational in the history of American photography, combining, for the first time, words and images in a sophisticated and moving account. This book, written by the art historian Anthony W. Lee and the literary scholar Elizabeth Young, interprets the story of the war as told by Gardner, unraveling his careful choice of words and images and the complicated play between them, and understanding them against the backdrop of the literary and photographic cultures of the American antebellum and Reconstruction eras.

This book presents a unique study of a pivotal American historical document, approaching it from the perspective of visual studies as well as American literature and history.

"Lee and Young have admirably elucidated this foundational volume in the history of American photography by developing references that emerge from prior readings of these images, as well as thoughtfully producing new ways of seeing the landscapes Gardner presents. The book makes available to a wide audience one of the most important photographic records of any war and certainly the most interesting visual record of the American Civil War. This is superior scholarship."--Shirley Samuels, author of Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War

Their Patriotic Duty: The Civil War Letters of the Evans Family of Brown County, Ohio

by Robert F. Engs

From the publisher:
Many of the farm families in the river country of southern Ohio sent fathers, husbands, and sons to fight and die in the Civil War. Few families have bequeathed a record of that experience as remarkable as that created by the Evans Family: an extraordinary collection of letters that offers a unique portrait of life both on the homefront and on the frontlines.

From his homestead near Ripley on the Ohio River, patriarch Andrew Evans sent two sons to war, and from 1862 to 1866, father and sons wrote each other hundreds of letters. Called 'the soldier's letters" by the family, this cache lay untouched in a barn until the 1980s, when Robert Engs was invited to edit them. Here are 273 family letters, most between Andrew and son Samuel, that draw us into the complicated lives of a Midwestern family not just suffering the dislocations of war, but also experiencing-and describing in intimate detail-the sorrows and occasional joys of rural life in 19th century America.

From the frontlines with the 70th Ohio and, later, as an officer commanding a unit of "colored troops," Samuel writes of the horrors of Shiloh, of the loneliness and fear patrolling Union lines in Tennessee. Andrew writes of the seasons of rural life, of illness and deaths in the family, of the complicated politics of this borderland where abolitionists and "Copperhead" pro-slavery voices shared daily debates. One of the very few collections of Civil War letters from homefront and frontlines, this meticulously edited book is an engrossing chronicle of war and peace, family and country, and an indispensable addition to the history of the Civil War.

Robert F. Engs is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His other books include Educating the Disenfranchised: Samuel Chapman Armstrong and Hampton Institute, 1939-1893; Freedom’s First Generation: Black Hampton, Virginia; and, with Randall E. Miller, The Birth of the Grand Old Party: The Republicans’ First Generation.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton

by Donald C. Elder III

From the publisher:
William Henry Harrison Clayton was one of nearly 75,000 soldiers from Iowa to join the Union ranks during the Civil War. Possessing a high school education and superior penmanship, Clayton served as a company clerk in the 19th Infantry, witnessing battles in the trans-Mississippi theater. His diary and his correspondence with his family in Van Buren County form a unique narrative of the day-to-day soldier life as well as an eyewitness account of critical battles and a prisoner-of-war camp.

Clayton participated in the siege of Vicksburg and took part in operations against Mobile, but his writings are unique for the descriptions he gives of lesser-known but pivotal battles of the Civil War in the West. Fighting in the Battle of Prairie Grove, the 19th Infantry sustained the highest casualties of any federal regiment on the eld. Clayton survived that battle with only minor injuries, but he was later captured at the Battle of Stirling's Plantation and served a period of ten months in captivity at Camp Ford, Texas.

Clayton's writing reveals the complicated sympathies and prejudices prevalent among Union soldiers and civilians of that period in the country's history. He observes with great sadness the brutal effects of war on the South, sympathizing with the plight of refugees and lamenting the destruction of property. He excoriates draft evaders and Copperheads back home, conveying the intra-sectional acrimony wrought by civil war. Finally, his racist views toward blacks demonstrate a common but ironic attitude among Union soldiers whose efforts helped lead to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

From CWBN:
This is the paper edition of an earlier hardback release.

Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility

by Jason Phillips

From the publisher:
Insight into the mindset of the Confederacy’s most unyielding soldiers

Well into the final months of the Civil War, countless Confederate soldiers earnestly believed that victory lay just around the corner. How could this be? Jason Phillips reveals the deeply ingrained attitudes that shaped the reality of these diehards not only during the war but in the subsequent era, when the myth of the Lost Cause was born.

Much is known about what Confederate soldiers fought for; far less is understood about why they fought on despite long odds and terrible costs. Drawing on soldiers’ letters and diary entries from 1863 to 1865, Diehard Rebels explains how religious dogma and perceptions of Union barbarity and ineptitude affirmed in many soldiers a view of an indomitable South. Within the soldiers’ closely circumscribed world, other elements reinforced convictions that the South was holding its own against great but surmountable odds. Close comradeship and disorienting combat conditions were factors, says Phillips, as well as conclusions drawn from images and experiences contradicting the larger reality, such as battlefields littered with enemy corpses and parade-ground spectacles of Confederate military splendor.

Troops also tended to perceive the course of the war in far-off theaters, the North, and overseas in positive ways. In addition, diehards were both consumers and conduits of rumors, misinformation, and propaganda that allowed them to envision a war that was rosier than the truth but still believable. Instead of crippling diehards after defeat, old notions of southern superiority helped them uphold southern honor. The central elements of Confederate invincibility fueled white southern defiance after surrender and evolved into the Lost Cause.

Jason Phillips is an assistant professor of history at Mississippi State University. He has also taught at Texas A&M University.

From Blue Mills to Columbia: Cedar Falls and the Civil War

by Kenneth L. Lyftogt

From the publisher:
Historian Kenneth Lyftogt introduces us to the volunteer soldiers of the Pioneer Grays and Cedar Falls Reserves infantry companies and in turn examines Iowa’s role in the Civil War. Many of these soldiers served the Union for the duration of the war, from the early fighting in Missouri to Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Sherman’s destructive marches through Georgia and the Carolinas. Their letters home are Lyftogt’s primary sources, as are editorials and articles published in the Cedar Falls Gazette.

Kenneth Lyftogt is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Northern Iowa. He has walked all the major battlefields of the Civil War and participated in reenactments. He is editor of Left for Dixie and the author of Iowa's Forgotten General: Matthew Mark Trumbull and the Civil War (Iowa, 2007) and the novel Road Freaks of Trans-Amerika.