Friday, September 8, 2017

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

With my keen interest in free antebellum African American barbers, America's Forgotten Caste, which focuses on free people of color in Virginia and North Carolina, will hopefully introduce me to some of those men I have not previously located. I am looking forward to reading and seeing if the author's interpretation of these states' free black communities are similar to studies I've read about other locations in the South.

When I read it a couple of years ago, I was very impressed with Brian Matthew Jordan's most recent book, Marching Home, which examines Union veterans' post-war struggles. Therefore, I am quite hopeful that his earlier book on the Battle of South Mountain, Unholy Sabbath, will be just as intriguing, informative, and well written.

I've been fortunate to recently receive three books to read for book reviews. The first was Steven Sodergren's recently published study, The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns, for the Civil War News. I must have turned an acceptable review, because I was soon after asked to read Our Good and Faithful Servant, by Joel McMahon, which looks at the life of the long-termed Georgian U.S. Supreme Court justice James Moore Wayne. Wayne was appointed by Andrew Jackson and served until his death in 1867. Unlike many other Georgians who decided to join the secession camp in 1861, Wayne did not. Southern Unionism is getting to be a rather hot topic in Civil War scholarship and I'm sure some fascinating aspects of Wayne's career will be brought to light in this work.

The most recent book I've been asked to review is Gordon Rhea's much anticipated fifth (and apparently final) volume in his classic Overland Campaign series. Titled On to Petersburg, it covers from the June 4th aftermath of the Battle of Cold Harbor to the first day of the Petersburg Campaign, June 15, 1864. I've thoroughly enjoyed Rhea's previous books on the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna River, and Cold Harbor, and I am confident that this one will follow in that fine tradition. 

If you've been reading my "Random Thoughts" for a while, you've probably noticed I have a fascination with the so-called Fire-Eaters, especially those of South Carolinia. What made the planter politicians of the Palmetto State tick? It almost seems that something was in the water that contributed to their secession fever. Madness Rules the Hour promises to give a new perspective on the state's obsession with secession in the cradle of disunionism, Charleston in 1860.

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