Friday, December 28, 2012

Reading List. . .2013!

Time to clear up some shelf space. . .

2013 promises to be a year of good Civil War reading. Here are just a few titles--scheduled for publication in 2013--I am most looking forward to. I am not saying I will actually get around to reading all of them (there are still many 2012 titles I need to get through). . .but I have a strong feeling each of the following titles will at least find a home on the crowded shelves of my library.

So, with nothing more needed to be said, here are some of the 2013 titles on my ever-growing "must read" list broken down into categories. . .

1863: Sesquicentennial 

As 2012 fast draws to a close, we say farewell to all Sesquicentennial observances and commemorations of all-things 1862. But 2013 is just a few days away and we thus look ahead at commemorating and remembering the major campaigns and battles of that all-important year: 1863.

First, a look at some non-Gettysburg, 1863 books!

Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front:
The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church: May 3, 1863

Chris Mackowski and Kristopher White
June 2013

Savas-Beatie Description: By May of 1863, the Stone Wall at the base of Marye's Heights above Fredericksburg loomed large over the Army of the Potomac, haunting its men with memories of slaughter from their crushing defeat there the previous December. They would assault it again with a very different result the following spring when General Joe Hooker, bogged down in bloody battle with the Army of Northern Virginia around the crossroads of Chancellorsville, ordered John Sedgwick's Sixth Corps to assault the heights and move to his assistance. This time the Union troops wrested the wall and high ground from the Confederates and drove west into the enemy's rear. The inland drive stalled in heavy fighting at Salem Church. Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, May 3, 1863 is the first book-length study of these overlooked engagements and the central roles they played in the final Southern victory.Once Hooker opened the campaign with a brilliant march around General Lee's left flank, the Confederate commander violated military principles by dividing his under-strength army in the face of superior numbers. He shuttled most of his men west from around Fredericksburg under Stonewall Jackson to meet Hooker in the tangles of the Wilderness, leaving behind a small portion to watch Sedgwick's Sixth Corps. Jackson's devastating attack against Hooker's exposed right flank on May 2, however, convinced the Union army commander to order Sedgwick's large, unused corps to break through and march against Lee's rear. From that point on, Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front tightens the lens for a thorough examination of the decision-making, movements, and fighting that led to the breakthrough, inland thrust, and ultimate bloody stalemate at Salem Church.Authors Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White have long appreciated the pivotal roles Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church played in the campaign, and just how close the Southern army came to grief-and the Union army to stunning success. Together they seamlessly weave their extensive newspaper, archival, and firsthand research into a compelling narrative to better understand these combats, which usually garner little more than a footnote to the larger story of Jackson's march and tragic fatal wounding.The success at Second Fredericksburg was one of the Union army's few bright spots in the campaign, while the setback at Salem Church stands as its most devastating lost opportunity. Instead of being trapped between the Sixth Corps' hammer and "Fighting Joe" Hooker's anvil, Lee overcame long odds to achieve what is widely recognized as his greatest victory. But Lee's triumph played out as it did because of the pivotal events at Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church-Chancellorsville's forgotten front-where Union soldiers once more faced the horror of an indomitable wall of stone, and an undersized Confederate division stood up to a Union juggernaut.
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Grant at Vicksburg: The General and the Siege
Michael Ballard
Southern Illinois University Press
April 2013
Amazon Description: On May 22, 1863, after two failed attempts to take the city of Vicksburg by assault, Major General Ulysses S. Grant declared in a letter to the commander of the Union fleet on the Mississippi River that “the nature of the ground about Vicksburg is such that it can only be taken by a siege.” The 47-day siege of Vicksburg orchestrated by Grant resulted in the eventual surrender of the city and fulfilled a major strategic goal for the Union: command of the Mississippi River for the remainder of the war. In this revealing volume, Michael B. Ballard offers the first in-depth exploration of Grant’s thoughts and actions during this critical operation, providing a never-before-seen portrait of the general in the midst of one of his most notable achievements.
After an overview of Grant’s early Civil War career from his first battle through the early stages of the attacks on Vicksburg, Ballard describes in detail how Grant conducted the siege, examining his military decisions, placement of troops, strategy and tactics, engineering objectives, and relationships with other officers. Grant’s worried obsession with a perceived danger of a rear attack by Joseph Johnston’s Confederate army, Ballard shows, affected his decision making, and shows how threats of Confederate action occupied more of Grant’s time than did the siege itself.
In addition, Ballard soundly dispels a false story about Grant’s alleged drinking binge early in the siege that has been taken as truthful by many historians, examines how racism in Grant’s army impacted the lives of freed black people and slaves in the Vicksburg area, and explores Grant’s strained relationship with John McClernand, a politically appointed general from Illinois. The book concludes with the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the expulsion of Johnston and his army from the region, and demonstrates the impact of the siege on the outcome on the short and long-terms of Grant’s military career.
By analyzing Grant’s personality during the siege and how he dealt with myriad issues as both a general and an administrator, Grant at Vicksburg offers a revealing rendering of the legendary general.

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Chickamauga 1863: Rebel Breakthrough
Alexander Mendoza
February 2013
Amazon Description: There is renewed interest among Civil War historians and history buffs alike about events west of the Appalachian Mountains and their impact on the outcome of the conflict. In examining the Chickamauga campaign, this book provides a fresh analysis of the foremost Confederate victory in the Western theater. The study opens with a discussion of two commanders, William S. Rosecrans and Braxton Bragg, and the forces swirling around them when they clashed in September 1863. Drawing on both primary sources and recent Civil War scholarship, it then follows the specific aspects of the battle, day by day.

In addition to interweaving analysis of the Union and Confederate commanders and the tactical situation during the campaign, the book also reveals how the rank and file dealt with the changing fortunes of war. Readers will see how the campaign altered the high commands of both armies, how it impacted the common soldier, and how it affected the strategic situation, North and South.

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Now. . . .

Onto some Gettysburg-specific titles, on their way in 2013.

Naturally, because Gettysburg remains the best-remembered battle in American Civil War history, and because it continues to capture our attention, there are a number of full campaign/battle studies on the way. . .in addition to the title I wrote, published in November 2012 by the History Press as part of its Civil War Sesquicentennial Series.

[Click on the Photo for more on my contribution to that vast Gettysburg historiography]

Forgive my shameless plug. . .let's move on. . .

I am looking forward to Dr. Allen Guelzo's Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, scheduled for release in May and published by Knopf. A little more about this title can be found here.

Other Gettysburg titles include. . .

The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses:
Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties, and Maps: June 9—July 14, 1863

J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley
February 2013

Amazon Description: The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses is a full-color, master work decades in the making. Presented for the first time in print are comprehensive orders of battle for more than three dozen engagements both large and small waged during the five weeks of the Gettysburg Campaign (June 9 - July 14, 1863).

Each presentation includes a synopsis of the engagement, photos of the commanders, an original full page map of the fighting, an order of battle with numbers and losses (including killed, wounded, captured, and missing), charts and graphs of relative strengths and losses, a conclusion of how the fighting affected each side and the course of the campaign, and a brief suggested reading list.

J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley use a staggering array of primary resources to compile the text and craft the original maps, including the Official Records, soldier letters and diaries, period newspapers, regimental histories, reminiscences, muster rolls, and other published and unpublished sources. For the first time students of the campaign can turn page-by-page to read, visualize, and understand blow-by-blow how the unfolding action affected the individual corps, divisions, brigades, and regiments, and by extension influenced decision-making at the highest levels of command.

The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties, and Maps, June 9 - July 14, 1863 is a stunning original presentation destined to become a constant companion for anyone interested in this always fascinating slice of Civil War history.

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Searching for George Gordon Meade:
The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg

Tom Huntington
Stackpole Books
February 2013

Amazon Description: While researching Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg, author Tom Huntington visited a severed leg, a buried arm, and a horse's head. He also hiked across Civil War battlefields, recited the names of fallen soldiers at a candlelit ceremony at Gettysburg, and drank a champagne toast in a Philadelphia cemetery on New Year's Eve. It was all part of his quest to learn more about the man who commanded the victorious Union army at the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg, yet has been unfairly overlooked by history in the years since.

Although in command of the Army of the Potomac for a mere three days before the battle, Major General George Gordon Meade managed to defeat Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia during three days of vicious fighting. The cantankerous general remained in command of the army for the rest of the war even as he watched his reputation decline. "I suppose after awhile it will be discovered I was not at Gettysburg at all," he griped in a letter to his wife.

Searching for George Gordon Meade is not your typical Civil War biography. While Huntington does tell the story of Meade's life, he also provides first-person accounts of his visits to the battlefields where Meade fought and museums that cover the Civil War. He includes his conversations with experts, enthusiasts, curators, park rangers and even a Meade impersonator to get their insights. The result is a compelling mash-up of history, biography, travel and journalism that touches both past and present.

·  A historian's investigation of the life and times of Gen. George Gordon Meade to discover why the hero of Gettysburg has failed to achieve the status accorded to other generals of the conflict

·  Covers Meade's career from his part in the Mexican-American War through his participation in the great Civil War engagements, including Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Overland Campaign, and Appomattox.

·  Available for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

·  Explores Meade's legacy today at reenactments, battlefields, museums, and institutions that preserve history

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John Bell Hood
The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General

Stephen Hood
May 2013

Amazon Description: John Bell Hood, one of the Confederacy's most enigmatic figures, died unexpectedly from yellow fever in August of 1879 at the age of 48. He had been working hard on his memoirs, the first draft of which he finished just before his death. When Advance and Retreat: Personal Experience in the United States and Confederate States Armies was published the following year, they immediately became as controversial as its author.A careful and balanced examination of these "controversies," however, coupled with the recent discovery of Hood's personal papers-long considered lost forever-finally sets the record straight in John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General.Outlived by most of his critics, Hood's published version of the major events and controversies of his Confederate military career met with scorn and skepticism. Many described his memoirs as nothing more than a polemic against his arch-rival Joseph E. Johnston. These unflattering opinions persisted throughout the decades and reached their nadir in 1992 when an influential author described Hood's memoirs as "merely a bitter, misleading, and highly distorted treatise" replete with "distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications." Without any personal papers to contradict them, many historians took full advantage of the opportunity to portray Hood as an inept and dishonest opium addict and a conniving, vindictive cripple of a man. One writer went so far as to brand him "a fool with a license to kill his own men." Authors misused sources and ignored or suppressed facts sympathetic to Hood.Stephen M. "Sam" Hood, a distant relative of the general, embarked on a meticulous forensic study of the common perceptions and controversies of his famous kinsman. His careful use of the original sources of the broadly accepted "facts" about John Bell Hood uncovered startlingly poor scholarship by some of the most well-known and influential historians of the 20th and 21st centuries. These discoveries, coupled with his use of a large cache of recently discovered Hood papers-many penned by generals and other officers who served with General Hood-confirm accounts that originally appeared in Hood's posthumously published memoir and resolve, for the first time, some of the most controversial aspects of Hood's long career."Blindly accepting historical 'truths' without vigorous challenge," cautions one historian, "is a perilous path to understanding real history." The shocking revelations in John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General will forever change our perceptions of Hood as both a man and general, and those who set out to shape his legacy.

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No cover image for this one has been found yet, but I am happy to see a biography of Sumner on its way.  . .

General Edwin Sumner:
A Civil War Biography

Thomas K. Tate
McFarland & Company
Spring/Summer 2013

Publisher's Description: Covering General Edwin Vose Sumner’s eventful career, this biography emphasizes his role in developing the mounted arm of the U.S. Army. Born in Boston in 1797 he abandoned a merchant’s career and entered the U.S. Infantry in 1819. Transferring to the Dragoons in the 1830s, Sumner established the Cavalry School of Practice at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Among his students was the future Confederate General Richard S. Ewell. Sumner served with distinction throughout the Mexican War and maintained a balance between the warring factions in Kansas in the mid-1850s (his efforts earning him the displeasure of the Pierce administration). He led an expedition against the Cheyennes with subordinates that included future Civil War generals John Sedgwick and Samuel Sturgis as well as the capable but head-strong Lieutenant Jeb Stuart. Replacing Albert Sidney Johnston in California in 1861, Sumner kept the state within the Union. Returning east, he commanded the Second Corps throughout 1862 and he died of pneumonia in March 1863. 

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Surgeon in Blue:
Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care

Scott McGaugh
Arcade Publishing
July 2013

Amazon Description: The first full-length biography of the Civil War surgeon who, over the course of the war’s bloodiest battles—from Antietam to Gettysburg—redefined military medicine.

Jonathan Letterman was an outpost medical officer serving in Indian country in the years before the Civil War, responsible for the care of just hundreds of men. But when he was appointed the chief medical officer for the Army of the Potomac, he revolutionized combat medicine over the course of four major battles—Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg—that produced unprecedented numbers of casualties. He made battlefield survival possible by creating the first organized ambulance corps and a more effective field hospital system. He imposed medical professionalism on a chaotic battlefield. Where before 20 percent of the men were unfit to fight because of disease, squalid conditions, and poor nutrition, he improved health and combat readiness by pioneering hygiene and diet standards. Based on original research, and with stirring accounts of battle and the struggle to invent and supply adequate care during impossible conditions, this new biography recounts Letterman’s life from his small-town Pennsylvania beginnings to his trailblazing wartime years and his subsequent life as a wildcatter and the medical examiner of San Francisco. At last, here is the missing portrait of a key figure of Civil War history and military medicine. His principles of battlefield care continue to be taught to military commanders and first responders. 24 b/w photographs

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Other. . .

James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War
John Quist and Michael Birkner, Editors
The University Press of Florida
February 2013

Amazon Description: James Buchanan took office just as the schism surrounding states’ rights had grown so wide in the national consciousness that it could no longer be ignored. His presidency was defined by the Dred Scott case, his choices for cabinet, and the secession crisis. Despite his central role in a crucial hour in U.S. history, few presidents have been more ignored by historians. Michael Birkner and John Quist seek to fix this oversight with this collection of cutting-edge essays analyzing Buchanan and his presidency.

This highly focused and groundbreaking work will significantly alter how James Buchanan is remembered as man, politician, and president. It forces historians to reconsider whether Buchanan’s failures stemmed from his own mistakes or from circumstances that no president could have overcome. By taking a closer look at some of the defining moments in his presidency—including his contentious Kansas Policy and the Star of the West incident—the contributors paint a much clearer picture of the man who came to be known as one of America’s worst presidents.

Analyzing everything from the president’s dealings with Brigham Young to his foreign policy, interpretations of Buchanan and his presidency differ widely throughout the collection. These essays truly grappled with the complexities of the debate surrounding the man who sat in the White House prior to the towering figure of Lincoln.

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Interpreting Sacred Ground:
The Rhetoric of National Civil War Parks and Battlefields

J. Christian Spielvogel
The University of Alabama Press
January 2013

Amazon Description: Interpreting Sacred Ground is a rhetorical analysis of Civil War battlefields and parks, and the ways various commemorative traditions—and their ideologies of race, reconciliation, emancipation, and masculinity—compete for dominance.

The National Park Service (NPS) is known for its role in the preservation of public sites deemed to have historic, cultural, and natural significance. In Interpreting Sacred Ground, J. Christian Spielvogel studies the NPS’s secondary role as an interpreter or creator of meaning at such sites, specifically Gettysburg National Military Park, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and Cold Harbor Visitor Center.

Spielvogel studies in detail the museums, films, publications, tours, signage, and other media at these sites, and he studies and analyzes how they shape the meanings that visitors are invited to construct. Though the NPS began developing interpretive exhibits in the 1990s that highlighted slavery and emancipation as central facets to understanding the war, Spielvogel argues that the NPS in some instances preserves outmoded narratives of white reconciliation and heroic masculinity, obscuring the race-related causes and consequences of the war as well as the war’s savagery.

The challenges the NPS faces in addressing these issues are many, from avoiding unbalanced criticism of either the Union or the Confederacy, to foregrounding race and violence as central issues, preserving clear and accurate renderingsof battlefield movements and strategies, and contending with the various public constituencies with their own interpretive stakes in the battle for public memory.

Spielvogel concludes by arguing for the National Park Service’s crucial role as a critical voice in shaping twentieth-first-century Civil War public memory and highlights the issues the agency faces as it strives to maintain historical integrity while contending with antiquated renderings of the past.

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No Cover Image has yet been found for this title.  .  .

Veterans North and South:
The Transition from Soldier to Civilian after the American Civil War

Paul Cimbala
July 2013

Amazon Description: Based largely on Civil War veterans' own words, this book documents how many of these men survived the extraordinary horrors and hardships of war with surprising resilience and went on to become productive members of their communities in their post-war lives.

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Lincoln’s Citadel
The Civil War in Washington, D.C.

Kenneth J. Winkle
W.W. Norton & Company
August 2013

Amazon Description: From a White House window in 1861 Lincoln could see the Confederate flag flying across the Potomac. On Capitol Hill the slave trade and the underground railroad had long worked clandestinely side by side. Situated on the border of the Confederacy and at the crossroads of slavery and freedom, Washington, DC, was on the front lines of the Civil War. A dangerous position, it became a bastion for the Union under the leadership of Lincoln and his administration. Confederate sympathizers in this southern town posed real security threats, and fear led to loyalty oaths and political arrests. Tides of wounded troops and fugitive slaves flooding the city—the health risks compounded by pestilential canals and creeks—forced the administration to undertake massive relief operations.

Original and absorbing, Lincoln’s Citadel
shows us a president fully engaged, privately and publicly, with the challenges the war imposed on the capital and its residents, black and white. 8 pages of illustrations

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Across the Divide:
Union Soldiers View the Northern Home Front

Steven Ramold
NYU Press
April 2013
Amazon Description: Union soldiers left home in 1861 with expectations that the conflict would be short, the purpose of the war was clear, and public support back home was universal. As the war continued, however, Union soldiers noticed growing disparities between their own expectations and those of their families at home with growing concern and alarm. Instead of support for the war, an extensive and oft-violent anti-war movement emerged.
In this first study of the gulf between Union soldiers and northern civilians, Steven J. Ramold reveals the wide array of factors that prevented the Union Army and the civilians on whose behalf they were fighting from becoming a united front during the Civil War. In Across the Divide, Ramold illustrates how the divided spheres of Civil War experience created social and political conflict far removed from the better-known battlefields of the war.
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Lee’s Army During the Overland Campaign:
A Numerical Study

Alfred C. Young
Louisiana State University Press
May 2013
Publisher's Description: The initial confrontation between Union general Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Virginia during the Overland Campaign has not until recently received the same degree of scrutiny as other Civil War battles. The first round of combat between the two renowned generals spanned about six weeks in May and early June 1864. The major skirmishes—Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor—rivaled any other key engagement in the war. While the strength and casualties in Grant’s army remain uncontested, historians know much less about Lee’s army. Nonetheless, the prevailing narrative depicts Confederates as outstripped nearly two to one, and portrays Grant suffering losses at a rate nearly double that of Lee. As a result, most Civil War scholars contend that the campaign proved a clear numerical victory for Lee but a tactical triumph for Grant.
Questions about the power of Lee’s army stem mainly from poor record keeping by the Confederates as well as an inordinate number of missing or lost battle reports. The complexity of the Overland Campaign, which consisted of several smaller engagements in addition to the three main clashes, led to considerable historic uncertainty regarding Lee’s army. Significant doubts persist about the army’s capability at the commencement of the drive, the amount of reinforcements received, and the total of casualties sustained during the entire campaign and at each of the major battles.
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2013 thus looks to be a promising year. . .but more than anything else. . .this is what I am most looking forward to in the year ahead:

Our first little bundle of joy. . . .

Due to Arrive in May!

1 comment:

Scott Stemler said...

Ranger Hoptak,
Thanks for the preview of 2013 Civil War titles. I will be adding some of these to my library as well. Wishing you and your family a great 2013! Congratulations and all of the best on the announcement of your little one on the way!!!