Monday, January 19, 2009

The Battle of the Crater: A Complete History

by John F. Schmutz

From the publisher:
The Battle of the Crater is one of the lesser known yet most interesting battles of the Civil War. This book, detailing the onset of brutal trench warfare at Petersburg, Virginia, digs deeply into the military and political background of the battle.

Beginning by tracing the rival armies through the bitter conflicts of the Overland Campaign and culminating with the siege of Petersburg and the battle intended to lift that siege, this book offers a candid look at the perception of the campaign by both sides.

70 photos & illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, index.

Corporate attorney, Army veteran and longtime Civil War enthusiast John F. Schmutz resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era: History and Memory in Late Twentieth-Century America

by Barry Schwartz

From the publisher:
By the 1920s, Abraham Lincoln had transcended the lingering controversies of the Civil War to become a secular saint, honored in North and South alike for his steadfast leadership in crisis. Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, Lincoln was invoked countless times as a reminder of America’s strength and wisdom, a commanding ideal against which weary citizens could see their own hardships in perspective. But as Barry Schwartz reveals in Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era, those years represent the apogee of Lincoln’s prestige.

The decades following World War II brought radical changes to American culture, changes that led to the diminishing of all heroes—Lincoln not least among them. As Schwartz explains, growing sympathy for the plight of racial minorities, disenchantment with the American state, the lessening of patriotism in the wake of the Vietnam War, and an intensifying celebration of diversity, all contributed to a culture in which neither Lincoln nor any single person could be a heroic symbol for all Americans.

Paradoxically, however, the very culture that made Lincoln an object of indifference, questioning, criticism, and even ridicule was a culture of unprecedented beneficence and inclusion, where racial, ethnic, and religious groups treated one another more fairly and justly than ever before. Thus, as the prestige of the Great Emancipator shrank, his legacy of equality continued to flourish.

Drawing on a stunning range of sources—including films, cartoons, advertisements, surveys, shrine visitations, public commemorations, and more—Schwartz documents the decline of Lincoln’s public standing, asking throughout whether there is any path back from this post-heroic era. Can a new generation of Americans embrace again their epic past, including great leaders whom they know to be flawed? As the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial approaches, readers will discover here a stirring reminder that Lincoln, as a man, still has much to say to us—about our past, our present, and our possible futures.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mutiny at Fort Jackson: The Untold Story of the Fall of New Orleans

by Michael D. Pierson

From the publisher:
New Orleans was the largest city—and one of the richest—in the Confederacy, protected in part by Fort Jackson, which was just sixty-five miles down the Mississippi River. On April 27, 1862, Confederate soldiers at Fort Jackson rose up in mutiny against their commanding officers. New Orleans fell to Union forces soon thereafter. Although the Fort Jackson mutiny marked a critical turning point in the Union's campaign to regain control of this vital Confederate financial and industrial center, it has received surprisingly little attention from historians. Michael Pierson examines newly uncovered archival sources to determine why the soldiers rebelled at such a decisive moment.

The mutineers were soldiers primarily recruited from New Orleans's large German and Irish immigrant populations. Pierson shows that the new nation had done nothing to encourage poor white men to feel they had a place of honor in the southern republic. He argues that the mutineers actively sought to help the Union cause. In a major reassessment of the Union administration of New Orleans that followed, Pierson demonstrates that Benjamin "Beast" Butler enjoyed the support of many white Unionists in the city.

Pierson adds an urban working-class element to debates over the effects of white Unionists in Confederate states. With the personal stories of soldiers appearing throughout, Mutiny at Fort Jackson presents the Civil War from a new perspective, revealing the complexities of New Orleans society and the Confederate experience.

Michael D. Pierson is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is author of Free Hearts and Free Homes: Gender and American Antislavery Politics

Mrs. Lincoln: A Life

by Catherine Clinton

From the publisher:
Abraham Lincoln is the most revered president in American history, but the woman at the center of his life, his wife, Mary, has remained a historical enigma. In this definitive, magisterial biography, Catherine Clinton draws on important new research to illuminate the remarkable life of Mary Lincoln, and at a time when the nation was being tested as never before.

Mary Lincoln's story is inextricably tied with the story of America and with her husband's presidency, yet her life is an extraordinary chronicle on its own. Born into an aristocratic Kentucky family, she was an educated, well-connected Southern daughter, and when she married a Springfield lawyer she became a Northern wife—an experience mirrored by thousands of her countrywomen. The Lincolns endured many personal setbacks—including the death of a child and defeats in two U.S. Senate races—along the road to the White House. Mrs. Lincoln herself suffered scorching press attacks, but remained faithful to the Union and her wartime husband. She was also the first presidential wife known as the "First Lady," and it was in this role that she gained her lasting fame. The assassination of her husband haunted her for the rest of her life. Her disintegrating downward spiral resulted in a brief but traumatizing involuntary incarceration in an asylum and exile in Europe during her later years. One of the most tragic and mysterious of nineteenth-century figures, Mary Lincoln and her story symbolize the pain and loss of Civil War America.

Authoritative and utterly engrossing, Mrs. Lincoln is the long-awaited portrait of the woman who so richly contributed to Lincoln's life and legacy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lincoln Lessons: Reflections on America's Greatest Leader

by Frank J Williams and William D. Pederson (Editors)

From the publisher:
In Lincoln Lessons, seventeen of today’s most respected academics, historians, lawyers, and politicians provide candid reflections on the importance of Abraham Lincoln in their intellectual lives. Their essays, gathered by editors Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson, shed new light on this political icon’s remarkable ability to lead and inspire two hundred years after his birth.

Collected here are glimpses into Lincoln’s unique ability to transform enemies into steadfast allies, his deeply ingrained sense of morality and intuitive understanding of humanity, his civil deification as the first assassinated American president, and his controversial suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War. The contributors also discuss Lincoln’s influence on today’s emerging democracies, his lasting impact on African American history, and his often-overlooked international legend—his power to instigate change beyond the boundaries of his native nation. While some contributors provide a scholarly look at Lincoln and some take a more personal approach, all explore his formative influence in their lives. What emerges is the true history of his legacy in the form of first-person testaments from those whom he has touched deeply.

Lincoln Lessons brings together some of the best voices of our time in a unique combination of memoir and history. This singular volume of original essays is a tribute to the enduring inspirational powers of an extraordinary man whose courage and leadership continue to change lives today.


Jean H. Baker

Mario M. Cuomo

Joan L. Flinspach

Sara Vaughn Gabbard

Doris Kearns Goodwin


Harry V. Jaffa

John F. Marszalek

James M. McPherson

Edna Greene Medford

Sandra Day O’Connor

Mackubin Thomas Owens

William D. Pederson

Edward Steers Jr.

Craig L. Symonds

Thomas Reed Turner

Frank J. Williams

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

The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill, 1858-1867

by Ginny McNeill Raska (Editor), Mary Lynne Gassoway Hill (Editor)

From the publisher:
In this annotated diary, Sallie McNeill chronicles thoughts, observations, and details of her daily life during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. This remarkably well-preserved document tells McNeill's story from her days as a student in the female department of Baylor College at Independence until her death in 1867. McNeill's story - common to the era and place and still intensely personal - lets readers glimpse the numbing expectations of a young woman's proper behavior, moral referencing of those living under the influence of the second Great Awakening, intellectual questions posed by the education of the day, and the lifestyle of the planter class at the margins of its geographical reach.

GINNY McNEILL RASKA, one of Sallie's descendants, transcribed the original diary. Raska is the Sweeny, Texas, Junior High School librarian. MARY LYNNE GASAWAY HILL attended the archaeological field school at the Levi Jordan plantation. Her doctorate is from Tulane University.

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


by John Mosier

From the publisher:
The newest biography in Wesley Clark's Great Generals series details the life and legacy of one of America's most ingenious military minds.

John Mosier is the author of The Myth of the Great War, and from 1989-1992 he edited the New Orleans Review. As a military historian, he received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum for the study of the two world wars. He lives in Jefferson, Louisiana.

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

Lincoln in His Own Words

by Milton Meltzer and Stephen Alcorn

From the publisher:
A renowned orator and writer, Lincoln believed that he must speak plainly so that every American regardless of their level of education or literacy would understand the complicated issues affecting the country during his presidency. He overcame a very humble childhood to become our nation's sixteenth president and trailblazer in the fight to abolish slavery. In addition to the accomplishments of his lifetime, it is Lincoln's simple but eloquent words- in everything from the Emancipation Proclamation to compassionate and often humorous letters to family and friends- that are his legacy. They are proof of his unfailing dedication to the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice upon which America was founded.

In this comprehensive collection of Lincoln's writings, historian Milton Meltzer provides a rare personal glimpse into the life of the man behind the legendary words.

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

Chancellorsville: The Battle and Its Aftermath

by Gary W. Gallagher (Editor)

From the publisher:
A variety of important but lesser-known dimensions of the Chancellorsville campaign of spring 1863 are explored in this collection of eight original essays. Departing from the traditional focus on generalship and tactics, the contributors address the campaign's broad context and implications and revisit specific battlefield episodes that have in the past been poorly understood.

Chancellorsville was a remarkable victory for Robert E. Lee's troops, a fact that had enormous psychological importance for both sides, which had met recently at Fredericksburg and would meet again at Gettysburg in just two months. But the achievement, while stunning, came at an enormous cost: more than 13,000 Confederates became casualties, including Stonewall Jackson, who was wounded by friendly fire and died several days later.

The topics covered in this volume include the influence of politics on the Union army, the importance of courage among officers, the impact of the war on children, and the state of battlefield medical care. Other essays illuminate the important but overlooked role of Confederate commander Jubal Early, reassess the professionalism of the Union cavalry, investigate the incident of friendly fire that took Stonewall Jackson's life, and analyze the military and political background of Confederate colonel Emory Best's court-martial on charges of abandoning his men.


Keith S. Bohannon, Pennsylvania State University and Greenville, South Carolina
Gary W. Gallagher, Pennsylvania State University
A. Wilson Greene, Petersburg, Virginia
John J. Hennessy, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Robert K. Krick, Fredericksburg, Virginia
James Marten, MarquetteUniversity
Carol Reardon, Pennsylvania State University
James I. Robertson, Jr., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His books include Stephen Dodson Ramseur: Lee's Gallant General.

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

Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858, Vol. 1

by Don E. Fehrenbacher (Editor)

From the publisher:
Don E. Fehrenbacher (1920-1997), whom the historian George Fredrickson called "the foremost Lincoln scholar of his generation," was professor of history at Stanford University and the author of several books, including Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850's, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics, and Lincoln in Text and Context. Shortly before his death, he was awarded the 1997 Lincoln Prize, the nation's highest annual award for Civil War studies.

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

Mr. Lincoln's High-tech War

by Roger MacBride Allen and Thomas B. Allen

From the publisher:
Thomas B. Allen’s expertise in military history and strategy is combined with Roger MacBride Allen’s knowledge of technology to reveal a lesser-known yet fascinating side of the 16th president of the United States. Their authoritative narrative reveals Lincoln as our nation’s first hands-on Commander-in-Chief, whose appreciation for the power of technology plays a critical role in the North’s Civil War victory over the less developed South.

Readers meet Lincoln as he exchanges vital telegraph messages with his generals in the field; we witness his inspection of new ship models at the Navy Yard; we view the president target-shooting with the designer of a new kind of rifle; and we follow Lincoln, the man of action, as he leads a daring raid to recapture Norfolk, VA.

The book’s historic sweep also sets Abraham Lincoln in the context of his military era: we learn about the North’s Anaconda Plan, the South’s counter strategies, and how the concept of total war replaced the old Napoleonic way of fighting. Readers will come away with a rich sense of a leader who lived through one of the most exciting ages of technological and social change in America. With archival photographs, artwork, and maps, Mr. Lincoln’s High-Tech War brings alive a time when the railroad brought soldiers and to and from the battlefields, when hot-air balloons were used for surveillance, and when ironclad warships revolutionized naval warfare.

The Allens’ detailed study demonstrates why Lincoln’s appreciation of the importance of technology, his understanding of the art of war, and his mastery of military strategy were keyelements in the winning of the American Civil War.

Thomas B. Allen has written several military history and espionage titles, including the highly acclaimed Remember Pearl Harbor and George Washington, Spymaster for National Geographic Children’s Books. He lives in Takoma Park, MD.

Roger MacBride Allen is the author of 17 science fiction novels. This is his first book for National Geographic Children’s Books and his first book for children.

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

Antietam Trivia

by John Hoptak

From the publisher:
Test your knowledge of the Battle of Antietam! This 48 page book contains over 150 questions relating to the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Antietam Trivia is much more than a simple question-and-answer book. Following each answer, you will find an additional Did You Know. . . ? feature that is intended to increase your understanding of the battle of Antietam. The questions, which range in level of difficulty from the general to the obscure, were written by Antietam Park Ranger John Hoptak and are designed for both the beginner and the buff.