Sunday, December 20, 2009

Quick Takes

Despite the lack of activity here, I have managed to read several good books recently. I still need to add or tweak a few apps on the new laptop, and now that the last toy soldier show of the year is over, I am slowly getting back to other interests.

I've been buying books on Sherman's campaign in North Carolina recently. No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar, by Mark A. Smith and Wade Sokolosky, covers the campaign from the seizure of Fayetteville to the battle at Averasboro that set the stage for the larger fight at Bentonville. This is a great book with excellent maps, a critical component for any campaign study. I'll reserve additional comments for a more formal review. For now, I hope you enjoy these short takes on a couple of interesting titles.

Spencer C. Tucker, A Short History of the Civil War at Sea, Scholarly Resources Inc., 2002.

A friend purchased this book for me from Daedalus Books, a local bargain book store. The naval history of the Civil War is one of those aspects of the conflict I need to learn more about. This entertaining introduction covers all major naval actions along the coast as well as the actions of Confederate commerce raiders. But take note, the book is exactly what the title indicates, as there is no coverage of the gunboat battles along the western rivers. If the exploits of Farragut or Semmes interest you at all, and you are looking for a good overview, consider Tucker's book.

Nathaniel Cheaires Hughes, Jr., Bentonville: The Final Battle of Sherman and Johnston, UNC Press, 1996.

I really enjoyed Hughes study of the battle of Belmont, so this book was an easy selection for an introduction to the battle of Bentonville. Hughes provides a quick summary of the campaign and then lays out the often confusing details of the battle with clarity and precision. The main drawback of the book is a lack of detailed maps, but this deficiency is easily remedied using Mark Moore's atlas (his maps are also available online here). This book will serve for most students of the war looking for solid coverage of the Bentonville campaign. For me, while I enjoyed the book, I find it has only whetted my appetite for Mark Bradley's work, which promises more detail and includes Moore's maps within the text itself.

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