Somehow over the past month or so I’ve managed to buy about 30 more civil war books. I haven’t entered them into my library spreadsheet yet. Maybe when I get done with that I’ll give a recap of the purchases next week.
Also in are four books I need to review for America’s Civil War by Nov. 10th. Not to worry…I don’t have to read them cover to cover. My job is to write Reviews in Brief, informational reviews that describe what the books are about, maybe a little info on the authors and some historiography of the topics covered. You can look for my reviews in the March issue due out at the end of December or beginning of July.
I also just finished an off-topic book, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, by David Bellavia and John Bruning. (I may have mentioned before that I think too much familiarity with the modern military and modern combat can be something of a detriment in the study of Civil War armies and operations, and since I’m not a veteran myself this opinion sometimes gets me in hot water with friends who are. But I remain unshaken.) Bellavia turns in a gritty account of the infantry in Iraq, specifically the Second Battle of Fallujah. While I don’t think it rises to the literary level of E. B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed, on some levels it may be a little more brutally honest; perhaps that’s possible because of the mutation of sensibilities over the years. Victorian mores prevented the real Civil War from ever getting into the books. While there is probably no way to accurately convey the experience of combat on the printed page, Bellavia gets us closer.