The first book on the Civil War Mark Hughes ever purchased, at the ripe old age of ten, was William Price’s Civil War Handbook. It must have made quite an impression, because nearly 50 years after that classic was first published Hughes – who has authored works on the final resting places of prominent Civil War veterans – offers The New Civil War Handbook as Price “updated and expanded for a 21st century audience”.
The slim (158 page) paperback is divided into four sections: Facts (including famous quotes, little known facts, notable personalities, and how armies were structured); Images (73 pages of the usual categories, with the notable additions of Women, African Americans, Native Americans, and Reconstruction); Figures (tables of statistics including strengths, losses, prisoners, wounds); and Miscellany (African and Native Americans in the war, glossary of terms, suggested bibliography, points of interest – including website addresses for those sites).
Also included in the Miscellany section is a listing of web resources, with some great suggestions of websites prospective and established enthusiasts should visit. The last page lists eight blogs specializing in various aspects of the war. I was pleasantly surprised to see Bull Runnings on the list, right at the top of the page (thanks, Guy who Wrote the Alphabet!). Hughes describes it as A massive and simply outstanding site dedicated to all things related to the First Battle of Bull Run. Thanks, Mark! (No, I don’t know Mr. Hughes and as far as I know have never corresponded with him).
Mr. Hughes states in the intro that The New Civil War Handbook is meant to appeal to all levels, from serious researchers to novices. While I can see tossing it in your pack for a day in the field (who wants to lug Livermore, Phisterer, Fox and Dyer around on a hot day?), I think it will be most useful to younger readers and those just starting out in their studies. And that’s not a bad thing at all.