Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Nelson County: A Portrait of the Civil War"

Nelson County: A Portrait of the Civil War by Dixie Hibbs [Arcadia Publishing, 1999] employs an unusual but workable content format. Instead of a conventional narrative, Hibbs's study is largely composed of a sequence of dated text entries, many of which serve as image captions. While not footnoted, these snippets of information are chronologically arranged, with some quite extensive in length and drawing their content from a variety of published and unpublished primary and secondary source materials. A bibliography is included but no index. The images consist of period and modern photographs, maps of various scale [some of the town maps depict camp and fortification locations], newspaper scraps, sketches, and lithographs. It's an informative and attractive visual record of the people, places, and events of a Kentucky county during the years spanning 1860-1865. I wouldn't mind seeing more of these from the publisher, but this particular book, still in print but ten years old already, remains a unique part of Arcadia's Civil War History series.

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