Saturday, March 31, 2018

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

Since reading Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland by Benjamin Franklin Cooling a number years ago, I've been a fan of Cooling's research and writing. To the Battles of Frankin and Nashville and Beyond: Stabilization and Reconstruction in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1864-1865, is his follow-up work to Fort Donelson's Legacy: War and Society in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1862-1863. The tragic fighting at Franklin is one of those battles that continues to draw significant attention due to its controversial high number of Confederate casualties. I'm interested in reading Cooling's take on the engagement, as well as his interpretation on Reconstruction as it was experienced in these two important Civil War states.

With 2018 being Frederick Douglass' bicentennial birthday, it is not surprising that some new scholarship would appear. This work caught my attention because of its focus on the role of religion in Douglass' life. From what I've read about and from Douglass, I had never thought of him as being particularly religious. However, due to his life experiences, I could see where he might see the influence of divine Providence. In addition to this work, I believe that Yale's David Blight is also releasing a Douglass biography this year.

I saw The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead by Meg Groeling in the Petersburg National Battlefield's book store recently, and then located a used copy on Amazon for a steal, so I bought it. I just finished reading it this past week and found it quite informative as it covers a number of diverse topics related to burying the dead from the Civil War' battlefields.

While I lived in Kentucky I became acquainted with the life of Richard Mentor Johnson. Johnson, Martin Van Buren's vice president, supposed slayer of Tecumseh, and the common-law husband of an enslaved woman of color, who sent his mixed race daughters to be educated intrigued me. I was just as much fascinated as to why no one had attempted a modern study about this seemingly fascinating man's life and times. Johnson is also known for founding an academy for American Indian young men on his Kentucky lands. I am especially interested in learning if the Johnson family benefited financially through their work as Indian agents to tribes in the South. I have high hopes.

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