Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lincoln And His World: Prairie Politician, 1834-1842

by Richard Lawrence Miller

From the publisher:
In the second volume of this monumental Lincoln biography, the young Illinois politician is challenged by Stephen Douglas--brilliant organizer of the Illinois Democratic Party, perennial officeholder and candidate, and unscrupulous when publicly debating Lincoln. Lincoln and his fellow Whigs go on the attack as Democrats split into two factions. Rhetorical violence becomes physical as Whig mobs attack and politicians attempt murder. Lincoln publicly asks whether democracy can endure under such conditions. Yet Lincoln more than once takes politically unpopular stances condemning slavery and defending rights of free blacks in Illinois. The second volume of Lincoln and His World also explores Lincoln's private life: his romances with Ann Rutledge and wealthy plantation belle Mary Owens, his intimate friendship with Joshua Speed, and a stormy, loving relationship with the vivacious and passionate Mary Todd. Rather than concentrate on how Lincoln affected the world, author Richard Lawrence Miller shows how the world affected Lincoln, placing Lincoln in historical context to help readers to understand him. Presenting numerous firsthand recollections, Miller lets participants speak for themselves, an approach reflecting his years in public radio script writing.

Richard Lawrence Miller, a resident of Kansas City, is a former public radio producer and independent scholar whose books range from the Cold War to the drug war. His first presidential biography, Truman: The Rise to Power, was published twenty years ago. Articles about his Lincoln research have appeared in The New Yorker and American Heritage. His Lincoln website is

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865

by Ethan Rafuse

From the publisher:
The generalship of Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy's greatest commander, has long fascinated students of the American Civil War. In assessing Lee and his military career, historians have faced the great challenge of explaining how a man who achieved extraordinary battlefield success in 1862-63 ended up surrendering his army and accepting the defeat of his cause in 1865. How, in just under two years, could Lee, the Army of Northern Virginia, and the Confederacy have gone from soaring triumph at Chancellorsville to total defeat at Appomattox Court House?

In this reexamination of the last two years of Lee's storied military career, Ethan S. Rafuse offers a clear, informative, and insightful account of Lee's ultimately unsuccessful struggle to defend the Confederacy against a relentless and determined foe. Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy describes the great campaigns that shaped the course of this crucial period in American history, the challenges Lee faced in each battle, and the dramatic events that determined the war's outcome. In addition to providing readable and richly detailed narratives of such campaigns as Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, Spotsylvania, and Appomattox, Rafuse offers compelling analysis of Lee's performance as a commander and of the strategic and operational contexts that influenced the course of the war. He superbly describes and explains the factors that shaped Union and Confederate strategy, how both sides approached the war in Virginia from an operational standpoint, differences in the two sides' respective military capabilities, and how these forces shaped the course and outcome of events on the battlefield. Rich in insights and analysis, this book provides a full, balanced, and cogent account of how even the best efforts of one of history's great commanders could not prevent the total defeat of his army and its cause. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the career of Robert E. Lee and the military history of the Civil War.

This book provides a comprehensive, yet concise and entertaining narrative of the battles and campaigns that highlighted this phase of the war and analyzes the battles and Lee's generalship in the context of the steady deterioration of the Confederacy's prospects for victory.

Ethan Rafuse is associate professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff college at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. His previous books include McClellan's War: the Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, George Gordon Meade and the War in the East, and A Single Grand Victory: The First Campaign and the Battle of Manassas.

Black Troops, White Commanders and Freedmen during the Civil War

by Howard Westwood

From the publisher:
In the ten probing essays collected in this volume, Howard C. Westwood recounts the often bitter experiences of black men who were admitted to military service and the wrenching problems associated with the shifting status of African Americans during the Civil War.

Black Troops, White Commanders, and Freedmen during the Civil War covers topics ranging from the roles played by Lincoln and Grant in beginning black soldiery to the sensitive issues that arose when black soldiers (and their white officers) were captured by the Confederates. The essays relate the exploits of black heroes such as Robert Smalls, who singlehandedly captured a Confederate steamer, as well as the experiences of the ignoble Reverend Fountain Brown, who became the first person charged with violating the Emancipation Proclamation.

Although many thousands were enlisted as soldiers, blacks were barred from becoming commissioned officers and for a long time they were paid far less than their white counterparts. These and other blatant forms of discrimination understandably provoked discontent among black troops which, in turn, sparked friction with their white commanders. Westwood's fascinating account of the artillery company from Rhode Island amply demonstrates how frustrations among black soldiers came to be seen as "mutiny" by some white officers.

The late Howard C. Westwood was a senior partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Covington & Burling. He published carefully documented articles on the Civil War for more than thirty years and served as a director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

Abraham Lincoln: A Biography

by Benjamin P. Thomas

From the publisher:
Long considered a classic, Benjamin P. Thomas's Abraham Lincoln: A Biography takes an incisive look at one of American history's greatest figures. Originally published in 1952 to wide acclaim, this eloquent account rises above previously romanticized depictions of the sixteenth president to reveal the real Lincoln: a complex, shrewd, and dynamic individual whose exceptional life has long intrigued the public.

Thomas traces the president from his hardscrabble beginnings and early political career, through his years as an Illinois lawyer and his presidency during the Civil War. Although Lincoln is appropriately placed against the backdrop of the dramatic times in which he lived, the author's true focus is on Lincoln the man and his intricate personality. While Thomas pays tribute to Lincoln's many virtues and accomplishments, he is careful not to dramatize a persona already larger than life in the American imagination. Instead he presents a candid and balanced representation that provides compelling insight into Lincoln's true character and the elements that forged him into an extraordinary leader. Thomas portrays Lincoln as a man whose conviction, resourcefulness, and inner strength enabled him to lead the nation through the most violent crossroads in its history.

Thomas's direct, readable narrative is concise while losing none of the crucial details of Lincoln's remarkable life. The volume's clarity of style makes it accessible to beginners, but it is complex and nuanced enough to interest longtime Lincoln scholars. After more than half a century, Abraham Lincoln: A Biography is still an essential source for anyone interested in learning more about the many facets of the sixteenth president, and it remains the definitive single-volume work on the life of an American legend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of Our Greatest President

by Thomas L. Krannawitter

From the publisher:
In this reasoned argument against the prevailing orthodoxies of the right, left, and center, Krannawitter takes on all of Lincoln's detractors and reasserts his contemporary relevance.

A heady mix of narrative history and political insights, Vindicating Lincoln reveals a man whose political and moral example sets him apart as the greatest President of the United States of America.

Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer

by Stephen Dando-Collins

From the publisher:
When he died in 1877, Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of the Vanderbilt dynasty, was wealthier than the U.S. Treasury. But he had nearly lost his fortune in 1856, when William Walker, a young Nashville genius, set out to conquer Central America and, in the process, take away Vanderbilt’s most profitable shipping business. To win back his empire, Vanderbilt had to win a bloody war involving seven countries.

Tycoon’s War tells the story of an epic imperialist duel—a violent battle of capitalist versus idealist, money versus ambition—and a monumental clash of egos that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans.

Written by a master storyteller, this incredible true story, impeccably researched and never before told in full, is packed with greed, intrigue, and some of the most hair-raising battle scenes ever written.

Stephen Dando-Collins is an Australian-born historian who has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books, including Caesar’s Legion and Standing Bear Is a Person. He lives in Tasmania.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign

by Peter Cozzens

From the publisher:
In the spring of 1862, Federal troops under the command of General George B. McClellan launched what was to be a coordinated, two-pronged attack on Richmond in the hope of taking the Confederate capital and bringing a quick end to the Civil War. The Confederate high command tasked Stonewall Jackson with diverting critical Union resources from this drive, a mission Jackson fulfilled by repeatedly defeating much larger enemy forces. His victories elevated him to near iconic status in both the North and the South and signaled a long war ahead. One of the most intriguing and storied episodes of the Civil War, the Valley Campaign has heretofore only been related from the Confederate point of view. With Shenandoah 1862, Peter Cozzens dramatically and conclusively corrects this shortcoming, giving equal attention to both Union and Confederate perspectives.

Based on a multitude of primary sources, Cozzens's groundbreaking work offers new interpretations of the campaign and the reasons for Jackson's success. Cozzens also demonstrates instances in which the mythology that has come to shroud the campaign has masked errors on Jackson's part. In addition, Shenandoah 1862 provides the first detailed appraisal of Union leadership in the Valley Campaign, with some surprising conclusions.

Moving seamlessly between tactical details and analysis of strategic significance, Cozzens presents the first balanced, comprehensive account of a campaign that has long been romanticized but never fully understood.

Peter Cozzens is an independent scholar and Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State. He is author or editor of nine highly acclaimed Civil War books, including The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth (from the University of North Carolina Press).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Massacre at Mountain Meadows

by Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley, and Glen M. Leonard

From the publisher:
On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. More than 120 men, women, and children perished in the slaughter.

Massacre at Mountain Meadows offers the most thoroughly researched account of the massacre ever written. Drawn from documents previously not available to scholars and a careful re-reading of traditional sources, this gripping narrative offers fascinating new insight into why Mormons settlers in isolated southern Utah deceived the emigrant party with a promise of safety and then killed the adults and all but seventeen of the youngest children. The book sheds light on factors contributing to the tragic event, including the war hysteria that overcame the Mormons after President James Buchanan dispatched federal troops to Utah Territory to put down a supposed rebellion, the suspicion and conflicts that polarized the perpetrators and victims, and the reminders of attacks on Mormons in earlier settlements in Missouri and Illinois. It also analyzes the influence of Brigham Young's rhetoric and military strategy during the infamous "Utah War" and the role of local Mormon militia leaders in enticing Paiute Indians to join in the attack. Throughout the book, the authors paint finely drawn portraits of the key players in the drama, their backgrounds, personalities, and roles in the unfolding story of misunderstanding, misinformation, indecision, and personal vendettas.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands as one of the darkest events in Mormon history. Neither a whitewash nor an expose, Massacre at Mountain Meadows provides theclearest and most accurate account of a key event in American religious history.

Irish-American Units in the Civil War

by Thomas Rodgers (Author), Richard Hook (Illustrator)

From the publisher:
Some 150,000 Irish-American immigrants served in the Union Army, most of them from Boston, New York and Chicago, and about 40,000 fought in the Confederate Army. The best known unit was the Irish Brigade of the Union Army of the Potomac, which distinguished itself at Antietam and, particularly, at Fredericksburg, where its sacrificial bravery astonished friend and foe alike. Famous regiments were New York's 'Fighting 69th', the 9th Massachusetts, 116th Pennsylvania, 23rd Illinois and 35th Indiana. Two Louisiana Confederate brigages from New Orleans were almost entirely Irish and several other Irish companies made a name for themselves at Shiloh, Chickamauga and other key battles. This book will give a brief overview of the history of the units on each side of the conflict and will be illustrated with uniform details, flags and archival photographs.

Thomas G. Rodgers is an Alabama University history graduate and librarian, and prolific contributor to the Company of Military Historians publications on American Civil War units. The author lives in Eufaula, Alabama.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fitz-John Porter, Scapegoat Of Second Manassas: The Rise, Fall and Rise of the General Accused of Disobedience

by Donald R. Jermann

From the publisher:
One of the darkest days in United States history since Valley Forge was August 30, 1862. On this date the Confederate army inflicted a smashing defeat to the United States army at Manassas, on the outskirts of Washington. To many, including the president and press, it appeared that Washington was all but lost.

The defeat was all the more galling because it was inflicted by a numerically inferior and inadequately equipped Confederate force. Someone, it was assumed, had to be responsible. Union Army commander Major General John Pope came forward and blamed the loss on young, handsome, charismatic and popular Major General Fitz-John Porter. He charged Porter with disobedience of orders and shameful conduct before the enemy. But was Porter really guilty or was it he who saved the country from an even greater disaster? This book examines the question of Porter’s guilt or innocence, examining the trial and its aftereffects from several perspectives. It also examines the larger question: If Porter was innocent, then who was to blame?

Captain Donald R. Jermann served more than 32 years on active duty in the Navy covering World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Afterward he served as a senior executive in the Department of Defense.

Amazon gives the publication date for this title as August 15; the publisher's site refers to availability in "fall/winter"; and Barnes & Noble lists "July" as the release date.

Guardian of Savannah: Fort McAllister, Georgia, in the Civil War and Beyond

by Roger S. Durham

From the publisher:
Built out of sand and mud and designed to serve as the southern anchor in the coastal defenses of Savannah, Georgia, Fort McAllister was constructed in June 1861 on the Great Ogeechee River, twelve miles south of the Savannah River. Roger S. Durham offers a comprehensive history of the fort's construction, strategic importance during the Civil War, and postwar restoration in this vivid account of how an earthen defense withstood not only devastating naval assaults but also the effects of time. Durham intertwines historical facts with human fates through frequent use of primary sources, letting the fort's defenders and attackers speak for themselves and bringing readers into the fiery heat of battle.

Two innovations in warfare wrought by the Civil War were the rifled cannon--which proved detrimental to the masonry construction of Fort Pulaski at the mouth of the Savannah River--and the ironclad warship, but neither could compromise the earthen parapets of Fort McAllister. Over the course of the war, McAllister's original four-gun design was augmented to include twenty-two guns, making the fort a much more difficult challenge to Union assaults. The monitor USS Montauk was twice summoned to take Fort McAllister and twice failed. In a third Union attempt, three ironclads and a supporting fleet of wooden gunboats bombarded the fort for seven hours, though the defenders suffered no casualties and the fort withstood the blasts. In all, seven unsuccessful naval attacks were made against the fort. McAllister's final threat did not come from the water but from the western reaches of the state. In December 1864 General William T. Sherman's famed March to the Sea negated the viability of coastal defenses, and Fort McAllister, like Savannah itself, fell at last.

Fort McAllister's story did not end with the war. In the 1930s the site was owned by the industrialist Henry Ford, who was instrumental in the initial preservation efforts to restore the fort as a historical monument. Ownership later passed to the International Paper Company, which in turn deeded the land to the State of Georgia. The historical site was opened to the public in 1963, on the centennial of the bombardments by the Union ironclads.

Durham's harrowing account of life and combat at Fort McAllister, and of the subsequent restoration, is augmented by twelve maps and sixty photographs--including rare images of Sherman's troops at the end of the March to the Sea and of early preservation initiatives.

"In this exciting tale of dirt versus iron, Roger Durham provides an outstanding history of Savannah's Fort McAllister, an earthen battery that withstood numerous attacks by Union ironclads before finally succumbing to a land-based assault. Through his thoughtful interpretation of the facts and his use of defenders' narratives, Durham captures all aspects of life and duty within the walls of this coastal fortification. He also carries the story forward to present day in his discussion of the preservation efforts that have established Fort McAllister as a popular historical site. Guardian of Savannah will appeal to students and enthusiasts of Civil War, Georgia, and maritime history as well as anyone with an interest in preserving our nation's rich and complex history." -- Daniel Brown, superintendent, Fort McAllister State Historic Park

"Located south of Savannah and built of sand and mud, Fort McAllister was pivotal in Confederate defiance of the Union blockade and thus a frequent target of naval attacks. Roger Durham has crafted a fascinating and thorough history of the fort's role as a proving ground for coastal defense designs and as the final obstacle in General Sherman's March to the Sea. Durham also details how Henry Ford's interest in preserving Fort McAllister set in motion the efforts that have since established the site as a historical park for interpretation and tourism." -- W. Eric Emerson, author of Sons of Privilege: The Charleston Light Dragoons in the Civil War

"Guardian of Savannah is a much-needed study of Fort McAllister which includes discussion of a number of examples of Civil War technology and innovations. Ironclad warships, torpedoes, and rifled cannons all make their appearances here in this story of the earthen fort and its small band of defenders. Roger Durham is to be commended for explaining how these military technologies were utilized and how the lessons learned at this Georgia fortification had wider implications for this war and others." -- Jeffrey Seymour, Auburn University

From CWBN:
A model "history of place" that weaves military, social, and science history into a narrative of war and restoration.

Men of Granite: New Hampshire's Soldiers in the Civil War

by Duane E. Shaffer

From the publisher:
During the Civil War, some thirty-five thousand New Hampshire soldiers--representing approximately 11 percent of the state's population--were dispatched to serve the Union in seventeen infantry regiments, two cavalry regiments, three artillery batteries, and three companies of sharpshooters and as members of miscellaneous naval and marine units. Duane E. Shaffer tells the story of these forces in Men of Granite, a thorough history of New Hampshire combat troops in the years before and during the Civil War. Focusing on the day-to-day experiences of the common soldier and his reasons for taking up the fight against the Confederacy, Shaffer has mined myriad primary sources to draw together the experiences of all of the state's regiments and units into this single, cohesive narrative.

Told in chronological order, Shaffer's narrative follows the experiences of New Hampshire troops, primarily in Virginia and South Carolina. Granite State soldiers were stationed at Hilton Head for much of the war, and they offered vivid accounts of bivouac duty and of inland raids in lowcountry South Carolina. The soldiers also fought in major battles such as Manassas, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Cold Harbor. A chapter each is devoted to the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, a fight that included the largest concentration of New Hampshire soldiers in the war, and the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, in which the Twelfth New Hampshire suffered more casualties than any regiment on either side. Shaffer also details the disaster of the Battle of Fort Wagner in July 1863, in which New Hampshire lost more soldiers than in any other operation. He also follows his subjects' return after the war to recount their homecoming and to cement understanding of their sacrifice.

Further enhanced by twenty illustrations and twelve maps, Shaffer's detailed survey reinserts the story of New Hampshire forces into the annals of Civil War history and, through frequent quotation of soldiers' own accounts, gives voice to the motivations and daily experiences of determined Union forces from the Granite State.

"Focusing primarily on the heroics and hardships of those in uniform, Shaffer has mined a sizable sampling of original diaries and letters to present the most ambitious single-volume account yet of all New Hampshire's Civil War soldiers." -- William Marvel, author of Lincoln's Darkest Year: The War in 1862

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic

by Matthew Mason

From the publisher:
Giving close consideration to previously neglected debates, Matthew Mason challenges the common contention that slavery held little political significance in America until the Missouri Crisis of 1819. Mason demonstrates that slavery and politics were enmeshed in the creation of the nation, and in fact there was never a time between the Revolution and the Civil War in which slavery went uncontested.

The American Revolution set in motion the split between slave states and free states, but Mason explains that the divide took on greater importance in the early nineteenth century. He examines the partisan and geopolitical uses of slavery, the conflicts between free states and their slaveholding neighbors, and the political impact of African Americans across the country.

Offering a full picture of the politics of slavery in the crucial years of the early republic, Mason demonstrates that partisans and patriots, slave and free—and not just abolitionists and advocates of slavery—should be considered important players in the politics of slavery in the United States.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth

by Earl J. Hess

From the publisher:
The Civil War's single-shot, muzzle-loading musket revolutionized warfare--or so we've been told for years. Noted historian Earl J. Hess forcefully challenges that claim, offering a new, clear-eyed, and convincing assessment of the rifle musket's actual performance on the battlefield and its impact on the course of the Civil War.

Many contemporaries were impressed with the new weapon's increased range of 500 yards, compared to the smoothbore musket's range of 100 yards, and assumed that the rifle was a major factor in prolonging the Civil War. Historians have also assumed that the weapon dramatically increased casualty rates, made decisive victories rare, and relegated cavalry and artillery to far lesser roles than they played in smoothbore battles.

Hess presents a completely new assessment of the rifle musket, contending that its impact was much more limited than previously supposed and was confined primarily to marginal operations such as skirmishing and sniping. He argues further that its potential to alter battle line operations was virtually nullified by inadequate training, soldiers' preference for short-range firing, and the difficulty of seeing the enemy at a distance. He notes that bullets fired from the new musket followed a parabolic trajectory unlike those fired from smoothbores; at mid-range, those rifle balls flew well above the enemy, creating two killing zones between which troops could operate untouched. He also presents the most complete discussion to date of the development of skirmishing and sniping in the Civil War.

Drawing upon the observations and reflections of the soldiers themselves, Hess offers the most compelling argument yet made regarding the actual use of the rifle musket and its influence on Civil War combat. Engagingly written and meticulously researched, his book will be of special interest to Civil War scholars, buffs, re-enactors, and gun enthusiasts alike.

"Hess hits a bull's-eye with this fresh, provocative book."--Daniel Sutherland, author of Seasons of War: The Ordeal of a Confederate Community, 1861-1865

"A most welcome, meticulous, important, and easy-to-read addition to the literature."--Paddy Griffith, author of Battle Tactics of the Civil War

"Should be required reading, not just for students of the U.S. Civil War, but for anyone interested in the history of warfare."--Mark Grimsley, author of And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864

"A landmark study."--William C. Davis, author of The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy

Wolf of the Deep: Raphael Semmes and the Notorious Confederate Raider CSS Alabama

by Stephen Fox

From the publisher:
The electrifying story of Raphael Semmes and the CSS Alabama, the Confederate raider that destroyed Union ocean shipping and took more prizes than any other raider in naval history.

In July, 1862, Semmes received orders to take command of a secret new British-built steam warship, the Alabama. At its helm, he would become the most hated and feared man in ports up and down the Union coast—and a Confederate legend. Now, with unparalleled authority and depth, and with a vivid sense of the excitement and danger of the time, Stephen Fox tells the story of Captain Semmes's remarkable wartime exploits. From vicious naval battles off the coast of France, to plundering the cargo of Union ships in the Caribbean, this is a thrilling tale of an often overlooked chapter of the Civil War.

Stephen Fox, an independent historian who did his PhD at Brown University, is the author of six previous books, including Transatlantic, a history of the steamship. He lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Take My Pen in Hand: Civil War Letters of Two Soldiers and Friends: Sidney A. Lake and Conrad Litt 100th N. Y. Volunteers Co. C Buffalo N. Y.

by Doris and Wayne L. Cooper

From the publisher:
I Take My Pen in Hand is a collection of Civil War letters written by Sidney A. Lake and Conrad Litt, farm boys and friends from Pembroke, N.Y. These two men served with the 100th N.Y. Volunteer Infantry, 'Eagle Brigade.' Conrad's letters describe the establishment of the regiment in 1862 and several battles, including the Battle of Fair Oaks. The 100th Regiment was in the first charge on Ft. Wagner with other regiments including the 54th Massachusetts (the first Negro regiment). Conrad Litt was killed in this charge on July 18, 1863 at Morris Island, South Carolina.

The letters of Sidney Lake tell of Conrad's death and describe the Battle of Ft. Wagner as well as other major battles. Sidney was discharged in 1865. Sidney's letters tell of events at Ft. Sumter, Bermuda Hundred, tunneling the mine at Petersburg, Virginia and the explosion at City Point, Virginia.

With the addition of 88 descriptive images: which include photographs as well as official records and reports, these letters come alive as we relive this time in history.

This book's exact release date is unknown but falls within this month.

Monday, August 4, 2008

America's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-1863

by Brian Holden Reid

From the publisher:
In 1861, when the Confederate States of America seceded from the Union and Civil War broke out between the North and the South, few people had much idea of the scale, intensity, and duration of the conflict they were about to enter. Politicians, generals, and common folk on both sides blithely assumed that the conflict would be over quickly and were naively convinced of the superiority of the leadership and the forces at their disposal. Three years later, after many horrendous battles and huge loss of life, the tragic realities of this war had begun to sink in. Stalemate had led to great frustration and suggested a protracted conflict with no end in sight.

In this successor volume to his acclaimed Origins of the American Civil War (1996), Civil War historian Brian Holden Reid examines in depth the operational military history during the first three years of America's Civil War. In particular, he focuses on generalship, command decisions, strategy, and tactics, as well as the experiences of ordinary soldiers.

Besides lack of experience among generals, Holden Reid reveals that for the first few years of the war there was considerable indecisiveness in the North, a hesitancy to punish the South, and a fruitless hope that the Confederacy would agree to some form of reconciliation. He highlights certain important political and social developments during the course of the war that had an effect on Union soldiers and shows how their views became a catalyst in hardening the attitudes in the North toward the South.

This important analysis makes a major contribution to Civil War military history within the larger context of a turbulent political and social climate. It will be followed by another work covering the final eighteen months of the conflict.

Brian Holden Reid (London, England) is professor of American history and military institutions and head of the Department of War Studies at King's College, London. Since 1993, he has been a member of the Council of the Society for Army Historical Research and from 1998 to 2004 served as chairman. In 2004-2005, he was the first non-American to serve as a member of the Lincoln Prize jury panel, which awards the most important literary prize in the field of Civil War history. His many books include The Origins of the American Civil War, The Civil War and the Wars of the Nineteenth Century, and Robert E. Lee: Icon for a Nation.