Monday, September 26, 2011

New: A Pocket History of the Civil War

A Pocket History of the Civil War: Citizen Soldiers, Bloody Battles and the Fight for America's Future, Martin F. Graham, Osprey Publishing, 248 pp., bibliographpic notes, 54 charts, 19 b/w illustrations, appendices, index, $15.95.

With 98 quotations from participants, 54 charts, 80 quiz questions, and 56 entries in a glossary A Pocket History of the Civil War is practical and reaches a wide variety of readers.

The charts include the organization, uniforms, ranks, equipment, muskets/rifles/ carbines and pistols loading procedures of both the infantry and cavalry. Artillerymen are likewise covered. And that's just the first chapter. Twenty-two battles and campaigns are covered in the next four chapters with charts of commanders, engagements in the campaign, and casualties. The chapters' text is clear and concise.

Additional chapters offer the 1860 census, total casualty figures, number of major battles and engagements in each state, greatest percentage of regimental losses by state, nunbers of soldiers engaged by theatre, roles of commanders in battle, and higher ranking generals killed in battle. A chapter on prisons considers paroles and exchange issues, a listing of 12 Federal and 11 Confederate with population and death figures. The chapters' text is direct and extends the figures used by the charts.

Ten brief discussions of interesting characters and events include Sam Davis of Tennessee, Henry and Clara Rathbone [Lincoln's guests at Ford's Theatre], Sergeant Richard Kirkland of the 2nd South Carolina, Ambrose Bierce of the 9th Indiana, The Great Locomotive Chase of Georgia, Federal drummer John Clem, and the reunion at the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg among others.

Of course, something is always left out of a pocket history. In this case, Forts Henry and Donelson, a consideration of the Federal blockade, the fall of New Orleans, emancipation issues, the Lincoln assasination, and any mention of Reconstruction. On the other hand, there are 183 notes for particular sources used in the text. Each of the charts relating to prisons receive a bibliographic citation. Overall new and general readers of Civil War history are well served by Osprey's Publishing's A Pocket History of the Civil War: Citizen Soldiers, Bloody Battles and the Fight for America's Future.

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