Monday, March 22, 2010
Booknotes - "Civil War Arkansas, 1863"
Decades ago, Ed Bearss published several booklet-length articles about 1863 battles in Arkansas (e.g. Pine Bluff, Helena, Arkansas Post, Ft. Smith), some of which were incorporated into his landmark 3-volume history of the Vicksburg Campaign. For his own Vicksburg study, Warren Grabau also paid close attention to the Arkansas front, but Mark Christ's newly released book Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State (U. of Oklahoma Press, 2010) is the first to integrate all of these battles into a single sweeping narrative. The author ambitiously covers a lot of ground in a relatively short study, and I will be interested in reading his matured perspectives (the project began some time ago as a master's thesis) on the calamitous (for the Confederates) military and political consequences of the campaign. Christ is the Community Outreach Director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.