Preview: White, “The Republic for Which It Stands”

6 09 2017

6127ca7ZUKL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Just in from Oxford University Press is Richard White’s The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896. This is (quantitatively, not qualitatively) a doorstop at 872 pages of narrative. White is the author of Railroaded; The Middle Ground; and A New History of the American West.

A quick look-through is reminiscent – in layout, at least – of Walter McDougall’s Throes of Democracy. Keep in mind, this is not a history of Reconstruction, or of The Gilded Age, but rather of America during those periods, just like the post-colon title says. It’s divided into three parts: Reconstructing the Nation; The Quest of for Prosperity; The Crisis Arrives. Per Publisher’s Weekly, White’s “account’s central focus is public affairs and he foregrounds the West and its native tribes, farmers, workers, and cities; his astute examination of the ‘greater Reconstruction of the West’ works as a counterpoint to the failures of Southern Reconstruction.” That last bit is a theme that also runs through my current reading Thunder in the Mountains, a study of O. O. Howard and Nez Perce Chief Joseph.

So, you’re going to have to set aside a good bit of time if you choose to bite into this one. In the yay department, footnotes are real, bottom of the page footnotes. In the boo department, the book includes a 29 page bibliographic essay only. Wave of the future, I guess.

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Preview: Crenshaw, “Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up”

18 08 2017

RichmondGivenUp_LRGIf you’ve been reading Bull Runnings for a while, you know that I’ve previewed all of the titles in Savas Beatie’s Emerging Civil War series. And you also know how these books work. Concise histories, lots of maps and illustrations, tough paperbacks, suitable for the field. The really interesting parts, to me anyway, are the appendices. So, for this newest publication, I’m going to give you the bare minimum, and flesh out those appendices for you.

Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up: The Seven Days Battles, June 25 – July 1, 1862, by Doug Crenshaw

  • Foreword by Robert M. Dunkerly
  • Four page prologue
  • Narrative 131 pages in fourteen chapters
  • Fourteen Hal Jesperson maps
  • Appendix A: Stuart’s ride around McClellan
  • Appendix B: The Civilians
  • Appendix C: Preservation Efforts
  • Order of Battle
  • Suggested Reading
  • No index, no bibliography, no footnotes – I’m informed they are or will be available online

Doug Crenshaw is a volunteer at Richmond National Battlefield Park. He is the author of Fort Harrison and the Battle of Chaffin’s Bluff and The Battle of Glendale: Robert E. Lee’s Lost Opportunity.





Preview: Rossino, “Six Days in September”

11 08 2017

9781611213454_2Just in from Savas Beatie is the unedited galley proof of Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee’s Army in Maryland, 1862, by Alexander B. Rossino. (It appears that this is a new edition of the work previously published in 2015.) Novels are problematic subjects for a preview, since the typical features of notes, bibliography, maps, prefaces, and conclusions aren’t present. The subject matter is self-explanatory, thanks again to the post-colon subtitle. A flip-through reveals that this story is focused on the Confederate angle, and focuses on familiar “real life” players with a smattering of what I’m guessing are narrative-propelling, representative fictional characters.

The book is impressively blurbed, with James McPherson calling it a “page turner” that “provides the most vivid description…of the desperate plight of Southern forces” during these events; Scott Hartwig notes that it “provides the best that historical fiction has to offer”; and Tom Clemens calls it “an insightful look” and “a great read!”

Alexander B. Rossino is a resident of Boonsboro, MD. He is the author of Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity. 





Preview: Coleman, “Discovering Gettysburg”

19 07 2017

thContinuing the Savas Beatie trend of really, really long, self-descriptive book titles that don’t leave much room in which a previewer can expand is W. Stephen Coleman’s Discovering Gettysburg: An Unconventional Introduction to the Greatest Little Town in America and the Monumental Battle that Made it Famous. Now, most of us realize that Gettysburg is a very weird place, and I’m not talking about ghosts. If you want to get a good idea of just how weird, check out the little film Route 30 (and it’s so-far-two sequels).

This is described by the author as his personal journey of coming to know the place:

“…you will visit with me a host of famous and off-the-beaten-path places on the battlefield, explore the historic town of Gettysburg as it is today, chat with some of the town’s fascinating ‘resources,’ enjoy ‘conversations’ with a variety of experts on the battle, and follow along, as I did, with some of the most engaging storytelling I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.”

Tim Hartman provides maps and caricatures of historic personalities and, most interestingly, acquaintances like Sue Boardman, Lance Herdegen, Scott Mingus, Scott Hartwig, James Hessler, Eric Lindblade, and Steve Stanley, all of whom have been interviewed here, as well as a few other friends like John Heiser, Chuck Teague, J. D. Petruzzi, Dean Schultz, Eric Wittenberg, and Pete Carmichael.

Stephen Coleman was, until his retirement, a theater professor at the University of Pittsburgh (I have to wonder if he crossed paths with my brother Dennis Smeltzer there?), and you may remember him as the guy who got his face ripped off by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.

Tim Hartman is also a local Pittsburgh actor and cartoonist, and sometimes gigs as a stand-up comic.





Preview: Crawford, “Confederate Courage on Other Fields”

18 07 2017

51pTW95i2vL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_New from Savas Beatie is a title and cover illustration combination that is sure to get knees jerking and teeth gnashing: Confederate Courage on Other Fields: Overlooked Episodes of Leadership, Cruelty, Character, and Kindness, by Mark J. Crawford. This one “offers four valuable but little-studied events of the Civil War.” Those four “events” are:

  • Rev. M. M. Marshall and General Hospital Number One in Kittrell Spings, NC.
  • The letters of  plantation owner/Confederate officer Charles Blacknall.
  • A personal quarrel between a Union major and Confederate colonel that escalates out of control.
  • The late-war Confederate attack at Dinwiddie Courthouse.

Mark J. Crawford is the author of Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War.

 

 





Preview: Hunt, “Meade and Lee After Gettysburg”

8 07 2017

Layout 1New from Savas Beatie is Jeffrey Wm. Hunt’s Meade and Lee After Gettysburg: The Forgotten Final Stage of the Gettysburg Campaign, from Falling Waters to Culpeper Court House, July 14-31, 1863 (man, some of these titles need chapter breaks). The first thing you’ll notice about this book is the cover art. That’s N. C. Wyeth’s War!, and it rocks the Casbah. Not only does it put to shame all the ill-advised “my cousin drew this” illustrations you see on too many covers, but pretty much everyone else’s as well.

OK, enough about that. The title is self-descriptive. Here’s what you get: a foreword by Bryce Suderow; 271 pages of text with footnotes, 14 chapters and an epilogue; principal engagements and casualties appendix; bibliography, (including 29 unpublished manuscript collections); index; 16 Chris Hunt maps; 35 illustrations and photographs.

The book is blurbed glowingly by the likes of Kent Masterson Brown and Gary Gallagher.

Author Hunt is the director of the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin, TX, and the author of The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch.





Preview: Schmutz, “The Bloody Fifth”, Vol. 2

5 07 2017

Bloody5V2_LRGThis being the second of a two-volume set, and volume one having been previewed here earlier, please refer to this post for background.

“The Bloody Fifth”: The 5th Texas Infantry Regiment, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, Vol.2,: Gettysburg to Appomattox , by John F. Schmutz

Here’s what you get: 306 pages of text with footnotes; death from disease or accident appendix; battle deaths appendix; head count by company appendix; author interview appendix; bibliography (for both volumes); index.  George Skoch maps and a light sprinkling of photos – mostly portraits – included.