Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Booknotes V (October '09)

Other new additions this month:

1. General Sterling Price and the Confederacy by Thomas C. Reynolds, edited by Robert G. Schultz (Missouri History Museum Press, 2009).

Price clashed on a personal level with many important Confederate figures, and Thomas Reynolds (who became Missouri's 'Confederate governor' with the death of Claiborne Jackson) was one of them. Half of the book is Reynold's manuscript, centering on 1863-1864 period encompassing the Helena, Little Rock, and Price Raid disasters, with the balance comprised of Schultz's notes and supplementary materials. Published by the Missouri History Museum, this book is distributed by the University of Missouri Press. It looks to be well worth a look.

2. West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace by Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh (UNC Press, 2009).

Discussions of West Point's role in the institutional transformation of the Old Army throughout the 19th Century, as well as the amateur vs. professional debates, populate the Civil War literature to some degree or another, and it will be interesting to see what Hsieh's book contributes to the historiography of the subject.

3. National Geographic Atlas of the Civil War: A Comprehensive Guide to the Tactics and Terrain of Battle by Stephen Hyslop and Neil Kagan (National Geographic, 2009).

If yet another "comprehensive" Civil War atlas is to be published, it should ideally be populated with previously unpublished maps and/or original creations that artistically and informationally distinguish the work from the others in order to be considered truly worthwhile. Unfortunately, this new atlas appears to largely fail on both counts.

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