Monday, January 13, 2014

Booknotes (Jan '14)

New Arrivals:

1. The Fifth New York Cavalry in the Civil War by Vincent L. Burns (McFarland, 2013).

This regimental history describes the New Yorkers's "experiences in the Shenandoah campaign of 1862, the epic encounter at Gettysburg, life in camp and on picket duty, the Wilderness in the spring of 1864 and again the Shenandoah in the fall of 1864".  As bibliographical depth goes, it has the fairly typical appearance of those from unit histories and biographies from this publisher.

2. Living a Big War in a Small Place: Spartanburg, South Carolina, during the Confederacy by Philip N Racine (Univ of South Carolina Pr, 2013).

This is a brief community-at-war history monograph of the type we're seeing more and more of these days. Emphasis is on "personal stories: the plight of a slave; the struggles of a war widow managing her husband's farm, ten slaves, and seven children; and the trauma of a lowcountry refugee's having to forfeit a wealthy, aristocratic way of life and being thrust into relative poverty and an alien social world".

3. Challenges on the Emmaus Road: Episcopal Bishops Confront Slavery, Civil War, and Emancipation by T. Felder Dorn (Univ of South Carolina Pr, 2013).

I am unfamiliar with this particular specialized corner of the Civil War literature beyond a general awareness that Christian intra-denominational sectional divides existed alongside the secular ones and for many of the same reasons. Dorn "focuses on the way Northern and Southern Episcopal bishops confronted and responded to the issues and events of their turbulent times" and "carefully summarizes the debates within the church and in secular society surrounding the important topics of the era. In doing so, he lays the groundwork for his own interpretations of church history and also provides authentic data for other church scholars to investigate such topics as faith and doctrine, evangelism, and the administrative history of one of the most important institutions in America".

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