Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

I've been in a fairly heavy reading mode lately, and since I took a few days of annual leave I've enjoyed turning pages at my own pace and not having work-related thoughts invade my reading comprehension.

It seems that when my reading ramps up, so does my book buying. That is probably because I come across sources that authors use and become curious to read the book the reference is taken from. Anyway, here are some book's that I've added to my ever-expanding library over the last month or so.

I remembered seeing The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America in the UNC Press book catalog when it came out in 2012, and I must say the title intrigued me. Recently, while speaking with my minister at church, he referenced the book and that it might be helpful to me at work. I located a used copy on the internet market and it is in the reading queue.

As I've mentioned plenty of times on this forum, the Petersburg Campaign is thankfully gaining more and more attention in scholarship. A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg, Vol. 1, From the Crossing of the James to the Crater is a work that was much anticipated. I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago and I can confirm that it did not disappoint. I spoke with author Will Greene this weekend at the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute and asked him when we could expect Vol. 2. When one considers the depth of research and length of Vol. 1, it might not come as a surprise that he said it may be a while. Regardless, I'll be on the lookout until it is released.

Secession fire-eater James D. B. De Bow is a fascinating figure in Southern history. Born in Charleston but moving to New Orleans, where he started a magazine to publicize his views, De Bow and his Review helped persuade many Southerners about the necessity of secession in the face of perceived Northern attacks on slavery. I'm looking forward to reading De Bow's Review: The Antebellum Vision of the New South to learn more about De Bow and his effort to build solidarity in the slave states before and during the Civil War.

The scholarship that UNC Press publishes on the Civil War era is impressive. I consider it the top academic publisher in the field, with UGA Press a rather close second. Almost everything I read from UNC Press is well written and edited. I was happy to receive the opportunity to review The Loyal Republic: Traitors, Slaves, and the Remaking of Citizenship in Civil War America from the Civil War News and look forward to reading it. 

In an effort to learn more about how Civil War armies handled their logistical challenges I picked up a gently used copy of The Quartermaster: Montgomery Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army at the used book sale at the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute this past weekend. I am currently reading this book and I'll post a brief review on this forum when I complete it.

I became aware of the courageous exploits of the 6th USCI while preparing for leading a tour of the Battle of New Market Heights last fall. Somehow Strike a Blow for Freedom: The 6th United States Colored Infantry in the Civil War escaped my search for resources on the battle, but I came across it recently, and again, found a nice used copy. I posted a brief review of it yesterday, so check it out.

I also recently posted a brief review of Fighting Means Killing: Civil War Soldiers and the Nature of Combat. This book's several chapters cover a fascinating set of topics related to the fighting, and thus killing, that Civil War soldiers experienced. It is a much needed well-researched reexamination of combat during the conflict. I highly recommend it. 

Cultural history, like social history often covers difficult subjects. Ring Shout, Wheel About: The Racial Politics of Music and Dance in North American Slavery examines how white Americans used African Americans' tradition of song and dance to reinforce their concepts of racial prejudice and enslavement, often through minstrelsy. Blacks on the other hand used music and dance for other reasons such as community solidarity and retaining some African traditions. This promises to be yet another eye-opening cultural scholarly study.  

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