Saturday, June 30, 2007

Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander

by Myron J. Smith, Jr.

From the publisher:
This is the first published biography of Lieutenant Commander Le Roy Fitch, U.S. Navy. Fitch saw action on the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers; fought against Morgan, Wheeler and Forrest, as well as irregulars; commanded an ironclad monitor during the Battle of Nashville; and was renowned for his abilities in counterinsurgency and convoy tactics.

Myron J. Smith, Jr., is the library director and a professor of history at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. He is the author of The Baseball Bibliography, 2d ed., (2006).

My Brave Mechanics: The First Michigan Engineers and Their Civil War

by Mark Hoffman

From the publisher:
As volunteer engineers for the Union army, the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics regiment was made up of skilled artisans, craftsmen, railroad men, and engineers whose behind-the-scenes work was crucial to the Union victory. Charged with maintaining the Union supply line in the western theater, the engineers constructed and repaired a staggering number of bridges, blockhouses, fortifications, railroads, and telegraph lines to keep the Union army functioning in the aftermath of battle. My Brave Mechanics traces the history of this little-known unit, revealing their substantial engineering accomplishments as well as their combat experience.

Although they were charged primarily with engineering work, the regiment also saw substantial direct combat action. Confederate guerillas and bushwackers bent on disrupting vital communication and supply lines routinely disregarded the usual rules of warfare to target the engineers. They struck quickly, and sometimes at night, exploiting the isolation and vulnerability of the workmen, who, unlike regular infantrymen, were almost never dug-in and ready for an attack. Yet despite the odds against them, the Michigan engineers are recognized for several key accomplishments, including their work in keeping the railroad open south from Union supply depots in Louisville, the relief of the Union forces in Chattanooga, and destruction of rebel railroads during Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas. The regiment’s senior officers also held important posts within the Union military organization in the west and were instrumental in developing a coherent policy for the use of captured rebel railroads and infrastructure.

Historian Mark Hoffman offers readers a detailed account of the Michigan engineers from a wealth of sources, including letters, diaries, regimental papers, communications and orders from the military establishment, period newspapers, and postwar accounts. As little has been written about Union volunteer engineers in the western theater, their unique history will undoubtedly be fascinating reading for Civil War buffs, local historians, and those interested in the history of American military engineering.

Mark Hoffman is deputy department director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries.

To Honor These Men: A History of the Phillips Georgia Legion Infantry Battalion

by Richard M. Coffman and Kurt D. Graham

From the publisher:
To Honor These Men is a thoroughly researched, comprehensive book that details the organization of a “legion” and its combat odyssey. The authors have followed the trail of the story of the Phillips Georgia legion. The result is a highly readable book that takes the reader on foot and horseback through most of the major battles in the eastern theater of the Civil War. The words of soldiers express the sights, sounds, screams, and odors of the battlefield. The agony of festering wounds, and the misery of typhoid fever and pneumonia grab the reader as does the loneliness and yearning for contact with loved ones.

Coffman and Graham track the legion troops from the mountains of Western Virginia to the tears of Appomattox, pausing only for savage interludes of ten major battles and countless skirmishes. The stink of black powder, the blast of musketry and cannons flood the senses and keep the pages turning. Bravery, cowardice, fatigue, and boredom are documented throughout the text in this first-ever saga of Phillips Georgia legion. Detailed appendices include a capsule history of Macon Light Artillery, the Sharpshooter Battalion, and the band, as well as annotated rosters for each infantry company.

Richard M. Coffman graduated from the Ohio State University and the University of South Carolina. He was a career Air Force officer serving in Europe and Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Kurt D. Graham retired from IBM in 1996 and lives in historic Vinings, Georgia, with his wife, Mary, and sons Griff and Jack. His lifelong love affair with American history was fueled by a father and grandfather who “had dragged him across every Civil War battlefield by the time he was ten.” Kurt is an enthusiastic supporter of battlefield preservation and a collector of military art and books.

Maryland Voices of the Civil War

by Charles W. Mitchell

From the publisher:
The most contentious event in our nation's history, the Civil War deeply divided families, friends, and communities. Both sides fought to define the conflict on their own terms -- Lincoln and his supporters struggled to preserve the Union and end slavery, while the Confederacy waged a battle for the primacy of local liberty or "states' rights." But the war had its own peculiar effects on the four border slave states that remained loyal to the Union. Internal disputes and shifting allegiances injected uncertainty, apprehension, and violence into the everyday lives of their citizens.

No state better exemplified the vital role of a border state than Maryland -- where the passage of time has not dampened debates over issues such as the alleged right of secession and executive power versus civil liberties in wartime. In Maryland Voices of the Civil War, Charles W. Mitchell draws upon hundreds of letters, diaries, and period newspapers -- many previously unpublished -- to portray the passions of a wide variety of people -- merchants, slaves, soldiers, politicians, freedmen, women, clergy, slave owners, civic leaders, and children -- caught in the emotional vise of war. Mitchell tells the compelling story of how Maryland African Americans escaped from slavery and fought for the Union and their freedom alongside white soldiers and he reinforces the provocative notion that Maryland's Southern sympathies -- while genuine -- never seriously threatened to bring about a Confederate Maryland.

Maryland Voices of the Civil War illuminates the human complexities of the Civil War era and the political realignment that enabled Marylanders to abolish slavery in their state before the end of the war.

Charles W. Mitchell, a Marylander by birth and by choice, is a writer descended from a congressman, a pirate, and two Confederate officers who appear in the pages of this book. The ancestors of his wife, Betsy, include eleven Union soldiers, Pennsylvanians all. Charley and Betsy, and their two children, Abbie and Alec, live in Lutherville, Maryland.

From CWBN:
A book of this sort depends mainly on three elements: sources, "flavoring," and editing.

Editor Charles Mitchell should be given the highest credit for his selection of sources, a rich array of previously unquoted material set in contexts that can, with reasonable ease, be looked up by researchers or just savored by readers as "flavor."

"Flavor" is a matter of taste and trust, of course: is the author leading us with his source selections? Is there an agenda at work? In any case, there is a lot of flavor here, over 400 pages worth, and the endnotes alone span 50 pages.

The editing is good. The broad topical organization is interesting: "Indecision," "Occupation," and (black) "Liberation." The weaving of sources is also good but structurally challnging because of the number of "voices." A long sit with the book will convey a certain "jumpiness" despite the editor's best efforts.

This is undoubtedly a labor of love and Johns Hopkins is backing it with a sturdy binding that will support many readings and look-ups.

Admin note from CWBN:
This blog entry has been updated with comments (above) and redated as June 30 based on information received from the publisher. The publisher's own release date may therefore not match the release dates shown by Amazon or B&N.

Zoar in the Civil War

by Philip E. Webber

From the publisher:
Traces the response of the Zoar community to the Civil War

Zoar Village, located in Ohio’s Tuscarawas Valley, functioned from 1817 to 1898 as a communal society. Formed by German separatists seeking religious freedom, Zoar became one of the most successful experiments in communal living in America’s history.

One cardinal principle in the Zoarite’s faith and practice was the refusal to bear arms. In the 1860s, with the rise of the Civil War, conflict emerged between the community’s pacifist stance and its strong support for the Union cause and for the abolition of slavery. Some Zoarites continued on the path of conscientious objection; others chose the path of conscientious participation in the Union army.

Zoar in the Civil War traces the ways that the Zoar community dealt graciously with the war as a difficult yet inescapable event in its history. Based primarily on unpublished material from archives and collections of the Ohio Historical Society and the Western Reserve Historical Society, this study draws together the largest gathering to date of previously untapped Zoar records. Following a brief and informative introduction, Webber allows these eloquent and fascinating primary sources to tell the story, thereby offering a unique perspective on the American Civil War.

Philip E. Webber is a professor of German at Central College in Pella, Iowa, where he has been a faculty member since 1976. His scholarly and pedagogical projects have enjoyed the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Iowa Humanities Board, the Mellon Exxon Foundations, the American Philosophical Society, and various educational agencies in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Of Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball

by Carlyn E. Kahl (Editor), Andrew Hillhouse (Editor)

From the publisher:
Of Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball is not a typical Civil War letter collection.

Ball's circumstances and experiences allowed him to glimpse the war through two sets of eyes, that of a loving husband, and of an increasingly disillusioned physician. The inclusion of Ball's medicinal recipe book is the first of its kind to appear in print completely annotated. Readers will find themselves not only sympathetic to the struggles of one newlywed couple, but educated about the medical and herbal lore of that era.

During the war, Ball and his wife, Argent, managed to stay in contact, not only with each other, but with their various friends and family throughout the South. Ball's letters home give an account of one man's experiences in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the Civil War with the Twenty-third Texas Cavalry, and later with McMahan's Light Artillery Battery. The mail he and his wife received from others gives a cross-section of the Southern experience in general.

ANNE BALL RYALS of Montgomery, Alabama, transcribed the letters with great regard for the principals, Augustus and Argent, her great-grandparents. CARLYN E. KAHL is the Managing Editor of State House Press/McWhiney Foundation Press in Abilene, Texas. ANDREW HILLHOUSE is a graduate student in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

The 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Unit in the Civil War

by Richard E. Matthews

From the publisher:
The 149th Pennsylvania saw its one day of glory on July 1, 1863, when this young and untried regiment staged a magnificent defense at McPherson’s farm. Although this bright promise quickly faded into more typical regimental experience, the story of the regiment’s service under the indomitable Joshua Chamberlain remains worth telling.

Drawing on the service records of more than 800 soldiers as well as diaries, letters, and other primary souces, this book details the 149th’s battles from brigade to company level, from the charges at Gettsyburg to the assault at Petersburg. Focus is on the development, mood and character of a regiment as it undergoes changes in leadership, loss of reliable veterans and the increased individual desire for survival as brutal battles take their toll on mind and body. More than 50 photographs enhance the text.

A retired high school principal, Richard E. Matthews of Slatington, Pennsylvania, has written numerous magazine articles on the Civil War.

“Matthews has done his job well, mining contemporary newspapers, letters, diaries, reports and muster rolls”— Blue & Gray

“A first rate regimental history”— Civil War

“One of the most thorough, most intelligently written regimentals you are likely to encounter”— Military Images

Northborough in the Civil War: Citizen Soldiering and Sacrifice

by Robert P. Ellis

Northborough sent over half of its eligible population into this war. This book attempts to bring to life as many of these people as possible.

The people of Northborough, Massachusetts played an important role in the Civil War. The war began in response to an armed internal rebellion the result of two opposed social systems. At the heart was a dispute over slavery that had been steadily and intensively scrutinized for thirty years particularly in New England. In 1848 in Worcester County, Massachusetts, the Free Soil candidate for the presidency polled more votes than either candidate of the two major parties, Whig and Democrat.

In Northborough, former president Martin Van Buren, the Free Soil nominee, received nearly three times as many votes as the winner, Zachary Taylor. These figures do not prove Northborough was a hotbed of abolitionists, but they do suggest that its vigorous anti-slavery activity demands preliminary attention. The South suspected the later Republican opposition to the extension of slavery as merely a first step against an institution established by the Constitution. Were towns like Northborough welcoming of abolitionists silent advocates for an emancipation that had to be proclaimed mid-war?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Encyclopedia of Civil War Usage: An Illustrated Compendium of the Everyday Language of Soldiers and Civilians

by Webb and Cheryl Garrison

From the publisher:
While there are many encyclopedias and dictionaries of the American Civil War available today, none of them provide a systematic guide to the language used by the generation that fought the war. During the last 150 years language has changed, and as meanings have become obscure or lost, links with the past have dissolved and much of that which had meaning to our forefathers no longer means anything to us.
What did it mean "to cross the bar"? What was a soldier's "big ticket"? What did it mean "to see the elephant" or "to go South"? Why did the armies have so-called ninety-day men and hundred-day men? What were soldiers supposed to do when they heard the commander shout, "Let her go, Gallagher"? How did one "pay tribune to Neptune"? What was a "picket pin"? Could you make a passable meal out of "possum beer" and "secession bread"? How did one "vibrate the lines," and why would one want to attempt such a maneuver?

To address this need, Webb Garrison has pooled his notes from more than thirty years of research and study to produce a dictionary of words and phrases (including nicknames and slang) commonly used during the war. Where appropriate, examples and anecdotes are included to illustrate meanings. Included in this compendium are also the often overlooked naval terms and esoteric formal and informal military expressions that dominate the writing of the Civil War generation. And in what has become a trademark of his work, Garrison profusely illustrates his encyclopedia of word usage with period art and photographs. Completed just weeks before his death in the summer of 2000, The Encyclopedia of Civil War Usage is sure to become a valuable reference work for scholars and laymen alike.

Webb Garrison, formerly the associate dean of Emory University and president of McKendree College, has written more than 55 books, including A Treasury of Civil War Tales, Civil War Curiosities, The Lincoln No One Knows, Amazing Women of the Civil War, Friendly Fire in the Civil War, and Love, Lust, and Longing in the White House.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Jo Shelby's Iron Brigade

by Deryl P. Sellmeyer

From the publisher:
Gen. Joseph Orville Shelby’s involvement in the Civil War began when he raised a cavalry company for Southern service after refusing a commission in the Federal army. Shelby’s company of Rangers became known as the most disciplined company in the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard.

General Shelby’s reputation as a fierce commander on the battlefield coexisted with his reputation for acts of compassion toward prisoners of war and innocent civilians. His actions were actuated by his principles, and he permitted no dishonorable act. He was relentless in the punishment of crimes against the weak and helpless, showing regard for all civilians. One example illustrating this occurred prior to the war, when he single-handedly faced down a lynch mob in Lexington, Missouri, to rescue a man who had insisted on his right to vote for Abraham Lincoln at the polls. Shelby’s actions set a high standard of courage and honor for his men. While he was not sentimental over fallen comrades, he did not subject his men to dangers that he did not face himself. As a result, the men of Shelby’s Brigade idolized him and followed him without question.

Every march, camp, and battle that could be identified from reliable source material is incorporated here in this thoroughly researched book. Information was obtained from officers’ reports and correspondence from both armies, the National Archives and Records Service, newspapers from that period, articles written by veterans after the war, and the memoirs of Confederate brigadier general M. Jeff Thompson, who temporarily commanded Shelby’s Brigade near the end of the war.

Jo Shelby was motivated by his unselfish belief in the rightness of the cause of Southern independence. He was a true Southern patriot and his accomplishments place him among the top Confederate cavalry generals. After the war he was beloved by the men who had fought for him and even, over time, by his past adversaries. His life is worthy of study and reflection, for his actions embody the best qualities of the American soldier.

While reading Battles and Leaders of the Civil War in 1977, Deryl Sellmeyer stumbled across mention of a cavalry fight at Prairie D’Ane, Arkansas. He recalled the name as a battle mentioned in a brief biography his late grandmother had given him of her grandfather’s life. He realized that her grandfather, a soldier in Shelby’s Brigade, had fought at Prairie D’Ane, and he was hooked. He began researching voraciously, and his interest never waned. In 1983, he self-published his first book, Saline County Soldier, a brief biography of his great-great-grandfather’s service in the Civil War. After retiring in 2003, Mr. Sellmeyer completely devoted his time to completing his manuscript of the history of Shelby’s Brigade.

Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol

by William C. Davis

From the publisher:
"A superbly written and judiciously documented account of one of America's most outstanding and least understood mid-nineteenth-century statesmen." — Pennsylvania History

"Breckinridge is superb biography. The research is definitive....More unusual in scholarly works, the writing is excellent, sometimes brilliant." — Georgia Historical Quarterly

"William C. Davis gives new prominence to a man who served his country as congressman, vice president, and senator before casting his lot with the Confederacy....a first-rate biography." — Journal of Southern History

At the age of thirty-five, John C. Breckinridge was the vice president of the United States. Later he came closest to defeating Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. In a short time he became secretary of war in the Confederate cabinet. This—the first—comprehensive biography of this remarkable man and his generation covers one of the most turbulent eras of the American past.

Breckinridge was a Kentucky lawyer and veteran of the Mexican War when he was elected to the state legislature in 1849. Soon thereafter he was elected to Congress and in 1865 became James Buchanan's running mate. After his defeat by Lincoln in the 1860 election, he took his seat in the Senate and supported the Union on the question of secession. Because he opposed most of Lincoln's other policies, he was considered dangerous. When Lincoln ordered him arrested, even though no charges had been brought against him, Breckinridge escaped to the South and joined the Confederate army as a brigadier general. Later he was appointed secretary of war by Jefferson Davis.

Prominent in every field he entered, Breckinridge was a leading statesman and soldier. As a moderate and an earnest supporter of compromise, he became the symbol of peaceful reconciliation between the states after the Civil War.

WILLIAM C. DAVIS is the author of many books, including Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War; The Battle of New Market; Duel Between the First Ironclads; The Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who Couldn't Go Home; and Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour. He is a professor of history at Virginia Tech.

The Maps of Gettysburg: The Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863

by Bradley Gottfried

From the publisher:
More academic and photographic accounts on the battle of Gettysburg exist than for all other battles of the Civil War combined-and for good reason. The three-days of maneuver, attack, and counterattack consisted of literally scores of encounters, from corps-size actions to small unit engagements. Despite all its coverage, Gettysburg remains one of the most complex and difficult to understand battles of the war. The Maps Gettysburg: The Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863, by Bradley Gottfried offers a unique approach to the study of this multifaceted engagement.

The Maps of Gettysburg plows new ground in the study of the campaign by breaking down the entire campaign in 140 detailed original maps. These cartographic originals bore down to the regimental level, and offer Civil Warriors a unique and fascinating approach to studying the always climactic battle of the war.

The Maps of Gettysburg offers thirty "action-sections" comprising the entire campaign. These include the march to and from the battlefield, and virtually every significant event in between. Gottfried's original maps (from two to as many as twenty) enrich each "action-section." Keyed to each piece of cartography is detailed text that includes hundreds of soldiers' quotes that make the Gettysburg story come alive. This presentation allows readers to easily and quickly find a map and text on virtually any portion of the campaign, from the cavalry drama at Brandy Station on June 9, to the last Confederate withdrawal of troops across the Potomac River on July 15, 1863. Serious students of the battle will appreciate the extensive and authoritative endnotes. They will also want to bring the book along on their trips to the battlefield.

Perfect for the easy chair or for stomping the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, The Maps of Gettysburg promises to be a seminal work that belongs on the bookshelf of every serious and casual student of the battle.

Bradley M. Gottfried holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from Miami University. He has worked in higher education for more than three decades as a faculty member and administrator. He is currently President of the College of Southern Maryland. An avid Civil War historian, Dr. Gottfried is the author of five books: The Battle of Gettysburg: A Guided Tour (1998); Stopping Pickett: The History of the Philadelphia Brigade (1999); Brigades of Gettysburg (2002); Roads to Gettysburg (2002); and Kearny's Own: The History of the First New Jersey Brigade (2005). He is currently working with Theodore P. Savas on a Gettysburg Campaign Encyclopedia.

From CWBN:
This title has gone into a second printing already (as of July 9); please see here and here for availability news.

Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain

by David B. Sachsman, S. Kittrell Rushing, and Roy Morris Jr. (Editors)

From the publisher:
Memory and Myth is an interdisciplinary study of the Civil War and its enduring impact on American writers and filmmakers. Its twenty-five chapters are all concerned, in one way or another, with creative responses to the Civil War, and the ways in which artists have sought to make sense of the war and to convey their findings to succeeding generations of readers and filmgoers. The book also examines the role of movies and television in transmuting the historical memories of the Civil War into durable, ever-changing myths.

David B. Sachsman holds the George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He is known for his research and scholarly activities in environmental communication and environmental risk reporting. S. Kittrell Rushing is the Frank McDonald Professor of Communication and the head of the Communication Department at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. His current research interests include newspapers of the antebellum and Civil War eras. Roy Morris Jr. is the editor of Military Heritage magazine and the author of four well-received books on the Civil War and post-Civil War eras.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Civil War in New Bern and Fort Macon, North Carolina

by Drew Pullen, photography by Robert V. Drapala

From the publisher:
After capturing Confederate positions on Hatteras Island and Roanoke Island, the loyal Union soldiers directed their attention to the town of New Bern, located on North Carolina's mainland. As a strategically important port of Neuse River, New Bern also served as a railroad center--meaning that its capture could allow the Union forces to control territory near the major supply line for Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

This work shows that New Bern's Confederate forces were understaffed and inadequately prepared to face the Federal assault. The fall of New Bern enabled Union forces to proceed to the small coastal town of Beaufort and lay siege to Fort Macon, thus confirming New Bern's infamous place in history.

Other books in the series include Civil War on the Hatteras Island and Civil War in Roanoke Island.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Florida's Lighthouses in the Civil War

by Neil E. Hurley

From the publisher:
Florida's premier Lighthouse historian sets the record straight in this fascinating account of wartime activities at each of the state's 21 Civil War lighthouses. Both sides fought for possession of the towers and their valuable lenses and lamp oil. Through meticulous research, Neil Hurley has uncovered little-known facts about each lighthouse, including the great care taken by Confederate authorities to protect the lighthouses, lenses and oil.

Neil Hurley's interest in Florida lighthouses started in the mid 1980s while he was serving as a Staff Officer for the Seventh Coast Guard s District Aids to Navigation Branch. One of his jobs there included answering the public's questions about lighthouses in Florida. At that time, there wasn't much information available. Much of the information that did exist was inaccurate.

Taking the matter to heart, Neil decided to make Florida lighthouse history his off-duty hobby. What followed were many hours of research in the National Archives, at local libraries and through correspondence with other historians.

Neil is the author of numerous articles and books on the subject. For more than ten years, his Florida Lighthouse Page on the internet has informed people about the history and status of Florida lights. He has been the historian for the Florida Lighthouse Association since it was founded.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Singing for Freedom: The Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth-Century Culture of Reform

by Scott Gac

From the publisher:
In the two decades prior to the Civil War, the Hutchinson Family Singers of New Hampshire became America’s most popular musical act. Out of a Baptist revival upbringing, John, Asa, Judson, and Abby Hutchinson transformed themselves in the 1840s into national icons, taking up the reform issues of their age and singing out especially for temperance and antislavery reform. This engaging book is the first to tell the full story of the Hutchinsons, how they contributed to the transformation of American culture, and how they originated the marketable American protest song.

Through concerts, writings, sheet music publications, and books of lyrics, the Hutchinson Family Singers established a new space for civic action, a place at the intersection of culture, reform, religion, and politics. The book documents the Hutchinsons’ impact on abolition and other reform projects and offers an original conception of the rising importance of popular culture in antebellum America.

Scott Gac is visiting professor of American studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and an accomplished double bass player.

Men of Fire: The Rise of Forrest and Grant and the Splitting of Dixie

by Jack Hurst

From the publisher:
The epic history of a bloody campaign that determined the course of the Civil War-and forged two of America's greatest military leaders.
Deep in the winter of 1862, on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, two extraordinary military leaders faced each other in an epic clash that would transform them both and change the course of American history forever.

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant had no significant military successes to his credit. He was barely clinging to his position within the Union Army-he had been officially charged with chronic drunkenness only days earlier, and his own troops despised him. His opponent was as untested as he was: an obscure lieutenant colonel named Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a slaveholder, Grant a closet abolitionist-but the two men held one thing in common: an unrelenting desire for victory at any cost.

After ten days of horrific battle, Grant emerged victorious. He had earned himself the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" for his fierce prosecution of the campaign, and immediately became a hero of the Union Army. Forrest retreated, but he soon re-emerged as a fearsome war machine and guerrilla fighter. His reputation as a brilliant and innovative general survives to this day. But Grant had already changed the course of the Civil War. By opening the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to the Union Army, he had split Dixie in two. The confederacy would never recover.

A riveting account of the making of two great military leaders, and two battles that transformed America forever, Men of Fire is destined to become a classic work of military history.

Jack Hurst is a former journalist who has written for newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Nashville Tennessean. He is the author of Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography. A descendant of both Union and Confederate military officers, he currently lives with his wife outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South

by Michael W. Fitzgerald

From the publisher:
Michael Fitzgerald's new interpretation of Reconstruction shows how the internal dynamics of this first freedom movement played into the hands of white racist reactionaries in the South.

Splendid Failure recounts how postwar financial missteps and other governance problems quickly soured idealistic Northerners on the practical consequences of the Radical Republican plan, and set the stage for the explosion that swept Southern Republicans from power and resulted in Northern acquiescence to the bloody repression of voting rights.

The failed strategy offers a chastening example to present-day proponents of racial equality.

"Fitzgerald...has pulled off the enormously difficult task of writing a short, clear, analytically distinctive history of reconstruction . . . " - Thomas Pegram

Monday, June 18, 2007

Civil War in Tennessee 1862-1863

by Jack H. Lepa

From the publisher:
In 1862, with the outcome of the Civil War far from certain, Union and Confederate leaders began to pinpoint locations vital for their army’s success. Tennessee was one such possession. Although nominally under Confederate control, with Union loyalists in the east, Confederate supporters in the west and a mixture in the central region, the state did not have ironclad loyalty to either cause. For the Union, gaining control of Tennessee meant crippling the transportation options of the Confederacy, giving Union forces access to the rivers and mountain passes which would potentially lead them to the heart of the Confederacy and victory over the South. For the Confederacy, maintaining control of Tennessee was vital not only to protect its southernmost states but also to retain control of the state’s agricultural products and mineral wealth, neither of which it could afford to lose.

Drawing on contemporary sources such as memoirs and official correspondence, this volume details the struggle for control of Tennessee during 1862 and 1863. Beginning with the Union commanders’ initial reluctance to challenge the Confederate army, it describes the fortuitous momentum Ulysses S. Grant’s arrival added to the Federal struggle in the west and, consequently, the Union quest for Tennessee. It follows the movements of Union and Confederate forces through some of the worst battles of the war, including Shiloh, Stones River and Chickamauga. Finally, the Union victory at the battle of Chattanooga—which brought Tennessee definitively under Union control—and its consequences for both sides are discussed in detail.

Jack H. Lepa is also the author of Breaking the Confederacy (2005) and The Shenandoah Valley Campaign in 1864 (2003). His articles have been published in Biblio and Renaissance magazines. He lives in Las Vegas.

From CWBN:
We have assigned June 18 as release date for this undated June release.

In the Shadow of the Civil War: Passmore Williamson and the Rescue of Jane Johnson

by Nat and Yanna Kroyt Brandt

From the publisher:
Six years before the onset of the Civil War, two courageous figures - one a free white man and one an enslaved black woman - risked personal liberty to ensure each other's freedom in an explosive episode that captured the attention of a nation on the brink of cataclysmic change. In this deeply researched account of the rescue of the slave Jane Johnson by the Philadelphia Quaker and fervent abolitionist Passmore Williamson, of the federal court case that followed, and of Johnson's selfless efforts to free the jailed Williamson, veteran journalist Nat Brandt and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yanna Kroyt Brandt capture the heroism and humanity at the heart of this important moment in American history.

In July 1855 Williamson and his colleague William Still responded to a written plea from Johnson and rushed to the Camden ferry dock to liberate her and her two children from their master in a daring confrontation. The abolitionists had no idea that Johnson's owner, Col. John Hill Wheeler, was connected to the highest levels of government and was a personal friend of President Franklin Pierce. As a result Wheeler was able to have Williamson arrested and confined to Moyamensing Prison, an institution notorious for harboring Philadelphia's worst criminals.

The case and Williamson's imprisonment became an international cause celebre with famous leaders of the abolitionist movement, black and white, visiting the prisoner. In one of the episode's most dramatic moments, Johnson returned to Philadelphia, at the risk of her own freedom, to testify on Williamson's behalf. There were petitions in many states to impeach Judge John Kintzing Kane, who stubbornly refused to release Williamson. The case became a battle of wills between a man who was unwavering in his defiance of slavery and another determined to defend the so-called rights of the slave owner.

Williamson's martyrdom spotlighted Philadelphia as one northern city where the growing rifts between states' rights, federal mandates, and personal liberties had come to the fore. His case put a vivid, human face on the issue of slavery, helped to strengthen the will of its opponents, and highlighted the increasing inevitability of the Civil War.

Encompassing acts of brazen defiance, heroic self-sacrifice, high courtroom drama, and the rise of a cult of celebrity, the Brandts' brisk narrative takes readers into the lives of the central participants in this complex episode. Passmore Williamson, Jane Johnson, William Still, Colonel Wheeler, and Judge Kane are brought vibrantly to life as fully developed and flawed characters drawn unexpectedly into the annals of history. Enhanced by eleven illustrations, In the Shadow of the Civil War chronicles events that presage the divisive national conflict that followed and that underscore the passionate views on freedom and justice that continue to define the American experience in our own time.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Berry Benson's Civil War Book: Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter

Edited by Susan Williams Benson

From the publisher:
"An outstanding memoir."—Civil War History

Confederate scout and sharpshooter Berry Greenwood Benson witnessed the first shot fired on Fort Sumter, retreated with Lee's army to its surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, and missed little of the action in between. This classic account of his wartime service is filled with the minutiae of the common soldier's life and paced by a continual succession of battlefield anecdotes. A new biographical introduction by historian Edward J. Cashin adds further depth and detail to Benson's own vivid memories. The introduction also reveals Benson's less widely known early life and his postwar careers, interests, and activities.

At seventeen, after leaving his home near Augusta, Georgia, to join the army, Benson soon distinguished himself as a crack shot, natural leader, and sure judge of human nature-abilities that would serve him well as a scout. Benson's reconnaissance exploits took him within earshot of Union trenches and encampments. On the battlefield he saw firsthand the desperation of a frontal charge and the blind panic of a disorganized retreat. Benson's odyssey as a prisoner of war took him to Elmira Prison in New York, where he joined the only successful tunnel escape in the camp's history.

Benson, who was the model for the figure atop Augusta's Civil War memorial, is most often remembered as a soldier. However, his postwar life defies simple labels. He held such conventional jobs as cotton trader and accountant, yet he also published verse and philosophical writings, supported labor causes, worked tirelessly to exonerate the accused murderer Leo Frank, and earned respect as an amateur cryptologist. Energetic and unconventional to the end, Berry Benson remains a fascinating figure to this day.

Susan Williams Benson was a daughter-in-law of Berry Benson. Edward J. Cashin is Professor Emeritus of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Georgia History at Augusta State University. His many books include Lachlan McGillivray, Indian Trader (Georgia) and Paternalism in a Southern City (Georgia).

"This book showers well-deserved attention on one of the South's truly noble sons. Benson, who served his homeland from Charleston to Appomattox, won even greater glory late in life when he championed the innocence of Jewish factory boss Leo M. Frank, convicted of murder in 1913 in Atlanta and subsequently lynched. Benson was a terrific character and this volume does him justice."
—Steve Oney, author of And the Dead Shall Rise

"Well-told and very captivating." — Civil War Courier

"[Benson] knew how to tell an exciting story. . . . Unusually descriptive; his book contains a host of little details." — Richmond Times-Dispatch

Friday, June 15, 2007

Landsman: A Novel

by Peter Charles Melman

From the publisher:
A stirring, evocative, and unforgettable epic novel of the Civil War in the tradition of Cold Mountain and Widow of the South.

In the summer of 1853, in Lafayette City, Louisiana, eleven-year-old Elias Abrams loses his mother to yellow fever. Grief-stricken and alone, he becomes embroiled in the street life of New Orleans. After Elias is falsely accused of a crime and in order to escape arrest a decade later, he enlists as a private in the Third Louisiana Regiment, where three thousand other Jews will ultimately fight for the Confederacy.

The chaos of life at the front is broken in the form of a letter written by a young woman to "a soldier" in order to lift his spirits. Elias' courtship of sweet Nora Bloom becomes heady with true romance and escapist longings. Before long, though, Elias' past catches up with him, and he realizes that he must face his demons or lose the woman he loves.

Peter Melman has crafted a riveting tale of redemption and romance in the midst of this nation's most bloody and convulsive conflict. Landsman is transfixing and transporting, as well wrought as any classic work of historical fiction.

From Booklist:
A barely literate hard-bitten gambler and petty criminal, Elias Abrams, the 20-year-old cardsharp hero of Melman's solid debut, flees hometown New Orleans (and a bogus murder charge), joins the Confederate Army and realizes "every circumstance of his life now conspires to kill him." He survives the infantry as he had the city—using his wiles, card skills and fists—until his colonel hands over an envelope containing a charming missive from Nora Bloom, a young New Orleans maiden who wrote a support-the-troops letter at the urging of her rabbi. Unexpectedly stirred, Elias begins a correspondence and finds himself obsessively fantasizing about her. A battlefield injury leads to a furlough during which he returns to the city to meet both Nora (he falls in love) and cronies from his seedy past, who use his new flame as leverage to draw him into a sinister plot. Readers will find no fault with the colorful portrait of Civil War–time New Orleans, its squalid underworld and small Jewish enclave, or Melman's portrayal of army life (more hurry-up-and-wait than cannons and sabers). There is certainly no shortage of Civil War fiction; this is one of the better offerings.

From Publishers Weekly:
Can a man expect justice from the world if he has spent his life inflicting injustice? Elias Abrams ponders this quandary while sitting in a Missouri field. Having fled New Orleans in the wake of a murder and seeking refuge in the Confederate army, Abrams begins to analyze the elements leading to his conscription: the Jewish son of an indentured servant roaming the brothels and alleys of Civil War New Orleans fueled by whiskey, gambling, and brawling. This carousing finds him the accomplice to a brutal murder and on the run from the law and his fellow carousers. Throughout the narrative, Melman crafts searing images: the physical degradation of Civil War infantrymen, the underbelly of 1860s New Orleans, burgeoning love, and one man's unplanned introspection. This novel gallops across prairies and battlefields as Elias Abrams writes letters to his Nora Bloom and struggles to make sense of his past, all while trying to carve out the future he desires. At times ribald and always real, Melman creates a rich and authentic story.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The White Pacific: U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas after the Civil War

by Gerald Horne

From the publisher:
“Horne’s book is impressive in its research and compelling in its history and argument. It pieces together a marvelously suggestive story of the African American presence in the Pacific. . . .This is a transnational history at its most ambitious and materially grounded best and includes superb comparative insights.” —David Roediger, Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History, University of Illinois

Worldwide supplies of sugar and cotton were impacted dramatically as the U.S. Civil War dragged on. New areas of production entered these lucrative markets, particularly in the South Pacific, and plantation agriculture grew substantially in disparate areas such as Australia, Fiji, and Hawaii. The increase in production required an increase in labor; in the rush to fill the vacuum, freebooters and other unsavory characters began a slave trade in Melanesians and Polynesians that continued into the twentieth century.

The White Pacific ranges over the broad expanse of Oceania to reconstruct the history of “blackbirding” (slave trading) in the region. It examines the role of U.S. citizens (many of them ex-slaveholders and ex-confederates) in the trade and its roots in Civil War dislocations. What unfolds is a dramatic tale of unfree labor, conflicts between formal and informal empire, white supremacy, threats to sovereignty in Hawaii, the origins of a White Australian policy, and the rise of Japan as a Pacific power and putative protector. It also pieces together a wonderfully suggestive history of the African American presence in the Pacific.

Based on deft archival research in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, the United States, and Great Britain, The White Pacific uncovers a heretofore hidden story of race, labor, war, and intrigue that contributes significantly to the emerging intersectional histories of race and ethnicity.

Gerald Horne is Moores Professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Houston.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Amalgamation Polka

by Stephen Wright

From the publisher:
Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a bright star in the literary sky," Stephen Wright now extends his astonishing accomplishment with a Civil War novel unlike any other.

Born in 1844 in bucolic upstate New York, Liberty Fish is the son of fervent abolitionists as well as the grandson of Carolina slaveholders even more dedicated to their cause. Thus follows a childhood limned with fugitive slaves moving through hidden passageways in the house, his Uncle Potter's free-soil adventure stories whose remarkable violence sets the tone of the mounting national crisis, and the inevitable distress that befalls his mother whenever letters arrive from her parents' a conflict that ultimately costs her life and compels Liberty, in hopes of reconciling the familial disunion, to escape first into the cauldron of war and then into a bedlam more disturbing still.

Rich in characters both heartbreaking and bloodcurdling, comic and horrific, The Amalgamation Polka is shot through with politics and dreams, and it captures great swaths of the American experience, from village to metropolis to plantation, from the Erie Canal to the Bahamas, from Bloody Kansas to the fulfillment of the killing fields. Yet for all the brutality and tragedy, this novel is exuberant in the telling and its wide compassion, brimming with the language, manners, hopes, and fears of its time, all of this so transformed by Stephen Wright's imaginative compass that places and events previously familiar are rendered new and strange, terrifying and stirring. Instantly revelatory, constantly mesmerizing, this is the work of a major writer at the top of his form.

From the Washington Post:
When Wright is sitting firmly in the saddle, The Amalgamation Polka reads like a cross between John Barth and John Waters, and is often entertaining; when he's not, it resembles a Victorian morality play by the over-excitable cult porn director Russ Meyers. My guess is that Wright himself, if asked to account for his excesses, would probably admit to them with pride. To quote a phrase attributed to P. T. Barnum, whose "Hall of Wonders" turns up in the novel: "Let them call me unreasonable if they must, but never, ever, let them call me boring."

From the New York Times:
The perpetual danger in Wright's novels is that the book's forward momentum will be swamped by the trippy fecundity of his prose. He always has time for a detour. Before, say, the former slave living in the Fishes' root cellar can show Liberty his scars, Wright must pause to describe the man's style of shucking peas, "the pods splitting neatly open beneath his broad thumbs like emerald wallets, the peas tumbling into the bucket as noisily as balls of shot." Tantalized with too many such images, a reader can become as disoriented and distractible as someone on hallucinogens. But in The Amalgamation Polka, Wright gets the balance just right, and the rich, droll style he uses here — both tribute to and parody of 19th-century diction — becomes, like the canal water conveying Captain Whelkington's boat, a means of travel as well as an interesting stew in its own right.

The Age of Lincoln

by Orville Vernon Burton

From the publisher:
Stunning in its breadth and conclusions, The Age of Lincoln is a fiercely original history of the five decades that pivoted around the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Abolishing slavery, the age’s most extraordinary accomplishment, was not its most profound. The enduring legacy of the age was inscribing personal liberty into the nation’s millennial aspirations.

America has always perceived providence in its progress, but in the 1840s and 1850s a pessimism accompanied a marked extremism. With all sides claiming God’s blessing, irreconcilable freedoms collided; despite historic political compromises the middle ground collapsed. In a remarkable reappraisal of Lincoln, the distinguished historian Orville Vernon Burton shows how the president’s Southernness empowered him to conduct a civil war that redefined freedom as a personal right protected by the rule of law. In the violent decades that followed, the extent of that freedom would be contested by racism and unregulated capitalism, but not its central place in what defined the country.

Presenting a fresh conceptualization of the opening decades of modern America, The Age of Lincoln is narrative history of the highest order.

Orville Vernon Burton is professor of history and sociology and a University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author or editor of eight previous books, including the Pulitzer prize-nominated In My Father's House Are Many Mansions.

From Library Journal:
Lincoln's real legacy? The idea that personal liberty really matters-and should be protected by law. From history professor and Pulitzer Prize nominee Burton.

Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life

by Beverly Lowry

From the publisher:
“I am at peace with God and all mankind.”
—Harriet Tubman to Mary Talbert, on the occasion of their last visit, 1913

“I’ll meet you in the morning.
I’m bound for the Promised Land
On the other side of Jordan.
Bound for the Promised Land.”
—Harriet Tubman, singing to alert slaves of a rescue

Now, from the award-winning novelist and biographer, an astonishing reimagining of the remarkable life of Harriet Tubman—the “Moses of Her People.”

During her lifetime Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave, lumberjack, laundress, raid leader, nurse, fund-raiser, cook, intelligence gatherer, Underground Railroad organizer, and abolitionist. She was known both as Moses and as General Tubman.

In Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life, Beverly Lowry goes beyond the familiar tales to create a portrait of Tubman in lively imagined vignettes that, as Lowry writes, “catch her on the fly” and portray her life as she herself might have presented it. Lowry offers readers an intimate look at Tubman’s early life firsthand: her birth as Araminta Ross in 1822 in Dorchester, Maryland; the harsh treatment she experienced growing up—including being struck with a two-pound iron when she was twelve years old; and her triumphant escape from slavery as a young woman and rebirth as Harriet Tubman. We travel with Tubman along the treacherous route of the Underground Railroad and hear of her friendships with Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and other abolitionists. We accompany her to the battlefields of the Civil War, where she worked as a nurse and a cook and earned the nameGeneral Tubman, join her on slave-freeing raids in the heart of the Confederacy, and share her horror and sorrow as she witnesses the massacre of Colonel Shaw and the black soldiers of the 54th Regiment at Fort Wagner.

Integrating extensive research and interviews with scholars and historians into a stunningly rich and mesmerizing chronicle, Lowry brings Tubman to life as never before.

BEVERLY LOWRY is the author of six novels and the nonfiction works Crossed Over and Her Dream of Dreams. The recipient of the 2007 Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award, Lowry teaches at George Mason University. She lives in Austin, Texas.

From Kirkus:
A speculative biography, told mostly through imagined scenes, of the Underground Railroad's most famous conductor. Tubman (c. 1819-1913) never learned to read or write; her memories have all been recorded and interpreted by others. Lowry (Creative Nonfiction/George Mason Univ.; Her Dream of Dreams, 2003, etc.) deals with the documentation problems this creates by acknowledging inconsistencies in the records, considering their sources and then choosing what seems most probable to her. Words like "presumably," "may have," "might" and "probably" appear frequently. Throughout, the reader learns as much about slavery, the Underground Railroad, abolitionists, the Civil War in the Carolinas and emancipation as about Tubman. We do learn that she was struck in the head as a child on Maryland's Eastern Shore and thereafter experienced narcolepsy, had visions and heard voices. We see her as an overworked child, as an enterprising young woman and as a determined runaway who escaped to the North in 1849. Once there, she saw it as her responsibility to help others. Confident that God was directing her work, she made numerous trips back, acting as guide and commander to hundreds of slaves. How she accomplished this without being captured remains unclear, although she seems to have established a large network through which she could send messages and raise funds. During the Civil War, Tubman put her organizational, navigational and intelligence skills to use as a nurse, spy and scout for the Union in the Carolinas. After the war, she spent 30 years trying to obtain retroactive pay and a pension, finally succeeding when she was 77. Lowry swiftly moves through Tubman's later years. It is for her midlifefeats that she is remembered, and those accomplishments and the circumstances surrounding them are well depicted here. Creative nonfiction from a writer well-versed in the genre.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ulysses S. Grant: The Soldier and the Man

by Edward G. Longacre

From the publisher:

A fresh look at General Grant's military career in light of his conflicted personality and drinking habits.

In this new biography of General Ulysses S. Grant, acclaimed Civil War historian, Edward G. Longacre, examines Grant's early life and his military career for insights into his great battlefield successes as well as his personal misfortunes.

Longacre concentrates on Grant's boyhood and early married life; his moral, ethical, and religious views; his troubled military career; his strained relationships with wartime superiors; and, especially, his weakness for alcohol, which exerted a major influence on both his military and civilian careers. Longacre, to a degree that no other historian has done before, investigates Grant's alcoholism in light of his devout religious affiliations, and the role these sometimes conflicting forces had on his military career and conduct. Longacre's conclusions present a new and surprising perspective on the ever-fascinating life of General Grant.

Edward G. Longacre is the author of numerous biographies of Civil War generals. He is a recipient of the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award for Civil War writing. He lives in Newport News, Virginia.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America

by Andrew Ferguson

From the publisher:
Before he grew up and became one of Washington’s most respected reporters and editors, Andrew Ferguson was, of all things, a Lincoln buff — with the photos hung on his bedroom wall to prove it.

Decades later, Ferguson’s latent buffdom is reignited. In Land of Lincoln, he embarks on a curiosity-fueled coast-to-coast journey through contemporary Lincoln Nation, encountering everything from hatred to adoration to opportunism and all manner of reaction in between. He attends a national conference of Lincoln impersonators; attends a leadership conference based on Lincoln’s “management style”; drags his family across the three-state-long and now defunct Lincoln Heritage Trail; and even manages to hold one of five original copies of the Gettysburg Address.

Along the way he weaves in enough history to hook readers of presidential biographies and popular histories while providing the engaging voice and style of the best narrative journalism. This is an entertaining, unexpected, and big-hearted celebration of Lincoln and his enduring influence on the country he helped create.

From Publishers Weekly:
The question that animates this original, insightful, disarmingly funny book is: how do Americans commemorate Lincoln, and what do our memories of him reveal about our visions of the good life? To discover the answer, Ferguson, an editor at the Weekly Standardand a Lincoln buff, made a long field trip, poking into many of the places where Americans have chosen to remember—or to forget—Honest Abe. He eavesdrops on the Lincoln Reconsidered conference, where a group of "Abephobes" aim to retrieve Lincoln's memory from the distortions of "liberal historians." He considers the "Disney aesthetic" of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., and attends a convention of Lincoln "presenters" (otherwise known as impersonators). Ferguson is occasionally and unnecessarily snide, and a deeper examination of the changing place of Lincoln in mainstream historical scholarship would have added a great deal to the book. Still, Ferguson's conclusions are stirring.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Uniforms of the Civil War

by Francis A. Lord

From the publisher:
Shattering the myth that the Civil War was fought between soldiers in blue or gray, this complete history details the rainbow of colors and styles worn.

From the Army of the United States and US Militia to the Confederate Army and Navy, it presents a wealth of blouses, frockcoats, chevrons, chapeaux, shoes, and more.

Over 100 rare photographs and illustrations.

This Terrible War: The Civil War and Its Aftermath

by Michael Fellman et al

From the publisher:
This absorbing text examines the American Civil War and its aftermath, exploring the crucial themes, and challenging many traditional views about the war that nearly tore this nation in two.

Attention is paid to the social aspects of the war and includes a presentation of what was happening on the home front while the war was going on. While This Terrible War maintains a clear chronological foundation, it is also concerned with developing the central themes that are necessary for a rich and full understanding of the war and its aftermath.

With a clear chronological foundation, This Terrible War addresses the attitudes of pre-war American, the slavery debate, differences between the North and South, the economic and social climate of the country, the role of African Americans during the war, and the war itself with stories of both common soldiers and powerful military figures. The authors devote significant attention to the social and cultural aspects of the war to impart a rich and full understanding of this terrible war and its aftermath. Civil War, African Americans, Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses Grant, Robert E. Lee, the Union. Civil War and Reconstruction courses.

Whether a novice or an expert on the Civil War, readers will find This Terrible War to be a well-designed and fully developed book, and a powerful tool in learning about the Civil War and its foreground and aftermath. The book provides an analysis of the United States in the time leading up to the war—the slavery debate, the differences between North and South, the economic and social climate of the country—and moves into the war itself, presenting stories of both common soldiers and powerful military figures. The authors also trace the impact and eventual abolition of slavery, examining the role of African-Americans during the war. They conclude that the victory of the North resulted from superior resources and manpower, but also examine other contributing factors—providing a well-rounded, interesting and thorough analysis. The final section of the book describes the aftermath of the war, and the Epilogue examines how Americans have remembered the Civil War in later years. Ideal for anyone interested in the United States Civil War or US military history in general.

Virginia at War, 1862

by William C. Davis and James I Roberston Jr.

From the publisher:
In Virginia at War, 1862, we see Virginia emerged from the year 1861 in much the same state of uncertainty and confusion as the rest of the Confederacy. While the North was known to be rebuilding its army, no one could be sure if the northern people and government were willing to continue the war. Virginians' expectations for the coming year did not prepare them for what was about to happen, for in 1862 the war became earnest and real, and the Old Dominion became then and thereafter the major battleground of the war in the East. The landscape and the people of Virginia were a part of the battlefield, and as the contributors to Virginia at War, 1862 attest, no individual and no aspect of life in the Commonwealth could escape the war's impact.

William C. Davis is director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. James I. Robertson Jr. is Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at Virginia Tech.

From CWBN:
We assigned a June 8 release date to the undated June release of this book.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Beleaguered Winchester: A Virginia Community at War, 1861-1865

by by Richard R. Duncan

From the publisher:
During the Civil War, the strategically located town of Winchester, Virginia, suffered from the constant turmoil of military campaigning perhaps more than any other town. Occupied dozens of times by alternating Union and Confederate forces, Winchester suffered from three major battles including some seventy smaller skirmishes. In his voluminous community study of the town over the course of four tumultuous years, Richard R. Duncan shows that in many ways Winchester’s history provides a paradigm of the changing nature of the war. Indeed, Duncan reveals how the town offers a microcosm of the war: slavery collapsed, women assumed control in the absence of men, and civilians vied for authority alongside an assortment of revolving military commanders.

Control over Winchester was vital for both the North and the South. Confederates used it as a base to strike the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and conduct raids into western Maryland and Pennsylvania, and when Federal forces occupied the town, they threatened Staunton—Lee’s breadbasket—and the Virginia Central Railroad. At various times during the war, generals "Stonewall" Jackson, Nathaniel Banks, Robert Milroy, Richard Ewell, Jubal Early, and Philip Sheridan each controlled the town. Guerilla activity further compounded the region’s strife as insecurity became the norm for its civilian population. In this first scholarly treatment of occupied Winchester, Duncan has compiled a narrative of voices from the entire community, including those of groups often omitted from such studies, such as slaves, women, and Confederate dissenters. He shows how Federal occupation meant an early end to slavery in Winchester and how the paucity of men left women to serve as the major cohesive force in the community, making them a bulwark of Confederate support. He also explores the tensions between civilians and military personnel that inevitably arose as each group sought to protect its interests.

The war, Duncan explains, left Winchester a landscape of wreckage and economic loss. A fascinating case study of civilian survival amid the turmoil of war, Beleaguered Winchester will appeal to Civil War scholars and enthusiasts alike.

Richard R. Duncan is the author of Lee's Endangered Left: The Civil War in Western Virginia, Spring of 1864 and is professor emeritus of history at Georgetown University. He grew up in Winchester, Virginia, and now lives in Alexandria, VA.

From CWBN:
We assigned a release date of June 7 to this undated June release.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965

by Robert J. Cook

From the publisher:
In 1957, Congress voted to set up the United States Civil War Centennial Commission. A federally funded agency within the Department of the Interior, the commission's charge was to oversee preparations to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the central event in the Republic's history.

Politicians hoped that a formal program of activities to mark the centennial of the Civil War would both bolster American patriotism at the height of the cold war and increase tourism in the South. Almost overnight, however, the patriotic pageant that organizers envisioned was transformed into a struggle over the Civil War's historical memory and the injustices of Jim Crow. In Troubled Commemoration, Robert J. Cook recounts the planning, organization, and ultimate failure of this controversial event and reveals how the broadbased public history extravaganza was derailed by its appearance during the decisive phase of the civil rights movement.

Cook shows how the centennial provoked widespread alarm among many African Americans, white liberals, and cold warriors because the national commission failed to prevent southern whites from commemorating the Civil War in a racially exclusive fashion. The public outcry followed embarrassing attempts to mark secession, the attack on Fort Sumter, and the South's victory at First Manassas, and prompted backlash against the celebration, causing the emotional scars left by the war to resurface. Cook convincingly demonstrates that both segregationists and their opponents used the controversy that surrounded the commemoration to their own advantage. Southern whites initially embraced the centennial as a weapon in their fight to save racial segregation, while African Americans and liberal whites tried to transform the event into a celebration of black emancipation.

Forced to quickly reorganize the commission, the Kennedy administration replaced the conservative leadership team with historians, including Allan Nevins and a young James I. Robertson, Jr., who labored to rescue the centennial by promoting a more soberly considered view of the nation’s past. Though the commemoration survived, Cook illustrates that white southerners quickly lost interest in the event as it began to coincide with the years of Confederate defeat, and the original vision of celebrating America's triumph over division and strife was lost.

The first comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Civil War Centennial, Troubled Commemoration masterfully depicts the episode as an essential window into the political, social, and cultural conflicts of America in the 1960s and confirms that it has much to tell us about the development of the modern South.

Robert J. Cook is the author of several books, including Sweet Land of Liberty? The African American Struggle for Civil Rights in the Twentieth Century and Civil War America: Making of a Nation, 1848–1877. He is Professor of American History at the University of Sheffield in England.

From CWBN:
We assigned a release date of June 6 to this undated June release.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War

by Edwin C. Bearss

From the publisher:
Edwin C. Bearss presents legendary Civil War battles as they have never before been told, rich with human interest and little-known facts.

In Fields of Honor, Bearss, hailed as the "Homer of the Civil War," shares his encyclopedic knowledge in print for the first time, providing his legions of fans with a tangible collection of his expertise. Culled from recordings of his widely popular battlefield tours, Bearss recounts twenty of the war's most significant battles in lively, detailed prose. Illustrated with exhaustive battlefield maps and fascinating historical images - and published in conjunction with the 140th anniversary of the end of the Civil War - this volume will stand as an important reference for generations to come.

An easily accessible, episodic narrative, Fields of Honor will appeal to Civil War buffs and general interest readers alike. From the first shots at Fort Sumter to the surrender at Appomattox, this engaging collection takes readers through the Civil War in the unique voice that has made Edwin Bearss a living legend.

Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War

by Edwin C. Bearss

From Booklist:
Bearss presents the story of the Civil War as he has in the battlefield tours he has conducted for many years. A former chief historian of the National Parks Service, he chronicles 14 crucial battles, including Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Sherman's march through the Carolinas, and Appomattox, the battles ranging between 1861 and 1865; included is an introductory chapter describing John Brown's raid in October 1859.

Bearss relates the details of terrain and tactics and of personalities and command decisions; he personalizes generals and politicians, sergeants and privates. The text is augmented by 80 black-and-white photographs and 19 maps. A chance to tour battlefields without leaving home.

Lincoln's White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O.Stoddard

By Harold Holzer

From the publisher:
William Osborn Stoddard, Lincoln’s “third secretary” who worked alongside John G. Nicolay and John Hay in the White House from 1861 to 1865, completed his autobiography in 1907, one of more than one hundred books he wrote. An abridged version was published by his son in 1955 as Lincoln’s Third Secretary: The Memoirs of William O. Stoddard. In this new, edited version, Lincoln’s White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O. Stoddard, Harold Holzer provides an introduction, afterword, and annotations and includes comments by Stoddard’s granddaughter, Eleanor Stoddard. The elegantly written volume gives readers a window into the politics, life, and culture of the mid-nineteenth century.

Stoddard’s bracing writing, eye for detail, and ear for conversation bring a novelistic excitement to a story of childhood observations, young friendships, hardscrabble frontier farming, early hints of the slavery crisis, the workings of the Lincoln administration, and the strange course of war and reunion in the southwest. More than a clerk, Stoddard was an adventurous explorer of American life, a farmer, editor, soldier, and politician.

Enhanced by seventeen illustrations, this narrative sympathetically draws the reader into the life and times of Lincoln’s third secretary, adding to our understanding of the events and the larger-than-life figures that shaped history.

From CWBN:
We assigned June 5 to this undated June release.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sherman's Forgotten General: Henry W. Slocum

by Brian C. Melton

From the publisher:
Henry Warner Slocum, a Union major general who was a corps and army commander in the Civil War, served from the first call for troops until he stood with Sherman to receive Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender after Appomattox. He saw action at Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, and by the end of the war, he had taken command of the Army of Georgia, yet historians have largely overlooked this key commander.

Brian Melton has written the first scholarly account of this important general––the first full length biography in nearly a century. Although Slocum is remembered primarily for his lackluster performance at Gettysburg, Melton discloses that there is more to him than current history credits, offering a holistic account of his life to show that his career was much more significant than has been supposed.

Brian C. Melton is Assistant Professor of History at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Meade’s Army: The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman

Edited by David W. Lowe

From the publisher:
Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman served as Gen. George Gordon Meade’s aide-de-camp from September 1863 until the end of the Civil War. Lyman was a Harvard-trained natural scientist who was exceptionally disciplined in recording the events, the players, and his surroundings during his wartime duty. His private notebooks document his keen observations. Published here for the first time, Meade’s Army: The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman contains anecdotes, concise vignettes of officers, and lively descriptions of military campaigns as witnessed by this key figure in the Northern war effort.

Lyman may well be the finest chronicler of the day-to-day experiences of a staff officer in the Civil War, and his notebook entries have an immediacy, coming as close to real-time reporting as possible. As combat raged, Lyman penciled notations into his dispatch books, including exact times when Meade issued orders and when units deployed. He later transformed his notes into a coherent, historically accurate narrative, filling the account with personal and military details that few others were in a position to observe and including his sketches and hand-drawn maps showing the positions of the army after every significant movement.

With Meade’s Army, editor David W. Lowe has completed a task that should have been undertaken long ago: a proper and scholarly editing of Lyman’s journals. The publication of this significant resource will give historians and students of the Civil War a clearer understanding of the last great campaigns of the Army of the Potomac and of the men who led it.

“Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman is already well-known to students and scholars of the Civil War for his extensive letters first published in 1922. As a member of General George Meade’s staff from September 1863 until the end of the war, Lyman provided colorful commentary on the inner workings of the Army of the Potomac. Now, with the discovery and publication of Lyman’s “private notebooks,” readers will find even more of his illuminating observations. Historian David W. Lowe has salvaged these largely forgotten notebooks, carefully edited them, and made them easily accessible. Wonderfully rich in military detail, Meade’s Army offers a wealth of information from one of the war’s most perceptive chroniclers.” — Lesley J. Gordon, Series Editor, Civil War in the North

David W. Lowe is a historian for the National Park Service. He has published articles in North and South Magazine and Civil War Battlefield Guide and is the author of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (National Park Service, 1992), Bentonville Battlefield Resources (National Park Service, 2001), and Civil War in Loudoun Valley (National (National Park Service, 2004).

Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah

by Tom Chaffin

From the publisher:
The sleek, 222-foot, black auxiliary steamer Sea King left London on October 8, 1864, ostensibly bound for Bombay. The subterfuge was ended off the shores of Madeira, where the ship was outfitted for war. The newly christened CSS Shenandoah then commenced the last, most quixotic sea story of the Civil War: the 58,000-mile, around-the-world cruise of the Confederacy’s second most successful commerce raider. Before its voyage was over, thirty-two Union merchant and whaling ships and their cargoes would be destroyed. But it was only after ship and crew embarked on the last leg of their journey that the excursion took its most fearful turn.

Four months after the Civil War was over, the Shenandoah’s Captain Waddell finally learned he was, and had been, fighting without cause or state. In the eyes of the world, he had gone from being an enemy combatant to being a pirate—a hangable offense. Now fearing capture and mutiny, with supplies quickly dwindling, Waddell elected to camouflage the ship, circumnavigate the globe, and attempt to surrender on English soil.

Tom Chaffin is the author of Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire (H&W, 2002). His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, Time, and other publications. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

From Kirkus:
Chaffin does a good job of charting the Shenandoah's path and fortunes, and though the narrative could have stood a little trimming here and there, he makes it clear that there were plenty of worse places to be in the war than on the ship's decks; the officers had time to read the many books they liberated from enemy vessels, while the crew, for all its rebelorthodoxy, merrily disported themselves among the dark women of Ascension, unrepentant pirates to the last. Good reading for Civil War buffs, taking the naval aspect of the conflict well beyond the usual Monitor and Merrimac fare.

From CWBN:
Books on the CSS Shenandoah keep coming. This one joins the ranks of The Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah: A Memorable Cruise (2005); The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War (2005); and Confederate Raider in the North Pacific: The Saga of the C.S.S. Shenandoah, 1864-65 (1995). We do not know how Sea of Gray differs from its predecessors except that here the subject is backed by a major trade publisher.

Quantrill in Texas: The Forgotten Campaign

by Paul R. Petersen

From the publisher:
The second of a three-volume work that examines the life of one of the most controversial figures of the Civil War, Quantrill in Texas: The Forgotten Campaign documents a part of William C. Quantrill's life and career that has largely been ignored by historians. Indeed, Quantrill's most unrecognized accomplishments outside his adopted state of Missouri occurred in Texas, not in Kansas or Kentucky.
Quantrill in Texas corrects that oversight, carefully exploring for the first time the places and people associated with the guerrilla leader as he moved south during the winter to a safer environment in Texas. The result is a surprising addition to the Quantrill legacy.

His first experience in Texas and his subsequent trips to and from the state reveal that he became acquainted with the noted personalities who lived there. His battles and skirmishes along the way increased his reputation among the citizenry as word spread of his victories throughout the South.

The arrival of Quantrill and his men was welcomed by those who lived in north Texas. While most historians depict him as resting in exile, he occupied himself with battling cattle thieves, warding off Indian attacks, hunting down deserters and draft dodgers, and even quelling riots on behalf of the Confederate cause. Careful research in the official records, local historical records, and archaeological excavations reveals that Quantrill and his men thwarted two known Federal invasions of Texas.

Paul R. Petersen is a highly decorated retired officer of the U.S. Marine Corps and a lifelong resident of Jackson County, Missouri, near where William Quantrill lived. The author of Quantrill of Missouri: The Making of a Guerrilla Warrior, he lives in Raytown, Missouri.

Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign

by Scott C. Patchan

From the publisher:
Scott C. Patchan has performed a rare feat in his analysis of one of the least-known Civil War campaigns, that of Jubal A. Early, whose foray into the Shenandoah was a Confederate embarrassment and revealed its ultimate weakness. Early's disastrous battles in the Shenandoah Valley and his burning of the town of Chambersburg in retaliation for Union abuses caused Robert E. Lee to dismiss the well-respected but fiery officer in ignominious disgrace. By focusing on military tactics and battle history, Patchan reveals that Early--who was widely reviled--made significant political and military contributions by alarming Washington D.C., and causing Lincoln and the Union generals to rethink their war plan. This superbly argued study resurrects Early's significance as an influential military commander in the Confederate pantheon.

Scott C. Patchan, a Civil War battlefield guide and historian, is the author of Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont and a consultant and contributing writer for Shenandoah, 1862.

Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Tennessee in the Civil War

by Richard B. McCaslin

From the publisher:
It’s one thing to understand that over twenty-thousand Confederate and Union soldiers died at the Battle of Murfreesboro. It’s quite another to study an ambrotype portrait of twenty-year-old private Frank B. Crosthwait, dressed in his Sunday best, looking somberly at the camera. In a tragically short time, he’ll be found on the battlefield, mortally wounded, still clutching the knotted pieces of handkerchief he used in a hopeless attempt to stop the bleeding from his injuries.

Private Crosthwait’s image is one of more than 250 portraits—many never before published—to be found in the much anticipated Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Tennessee in the Civil War. The eighth in the distinguished Portraits of Conflict series, this volume joins the personal and the public to provide a uniquely rich portrayal of Tennesseans—in uniforms both blue and gray—who fought and lost their lives in the Civil War.

Here is the story of a widow working as a Union spy to support herself and her children. Of a father emerging from his house to find his Confederate soldier son dying at his feet. Of a nine-year-old boy who attached himself to a Union regiment after his mother died. Their stories and faces, joined with personal remembrances from recovered letters and diaries and ample historical information on secession, famous battles, surrender, and Reconstruction, make this new Portraits of Conflict a Civil War treasure.

Richard B. McCaslin is an associate professor of history at the University of North Texas. He is the author of Lee in the Shadow of Washington; Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas; and two volumes in the Portraits of Conflict series. He is the winner of the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and a fellow in the Texas State Historical Association.