Friday, July 13, 2018

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

As I've previously mentioned, I was fortunate enough to attend Gettysburg College's Civil War Institute back in June. Among the many amenities that the Institute offered, they had several tables of gently used history books for sale. The books were in excellent condition and most were marked at a fraction of their average prices at online used book sources.  Needless to say, I couldn't help myself and grabbed up several titles.

Abolitionizing Missouri: German Immigrants and Racial Ideology in Nineteenth Century America by Kristen Layne Anderson piqued my interest from reading the title alone. My knowledge of this mid-western border state's Civil War era experience is fairly lacking, so I'm hoping this book will help fill in some gaps.

 I've thoroughly enjoyed Ronald Coddington's previous three books in his series of "Faces of" books (Confederate, Union, and African American). So, I jumped at the chance to add his Faces of the Civil War Navies: An Album of Union and Confederate Sailors to my library when I saw it among the used books at the Civil War Institute. I'm looking forward to reading the fascinating stories that Coddington always seems to discover about the men in the photographs he examines.

I recently read about William Tillman's escape in an issue of one of the popular Civil War magazines. His story is a fascinating look into how this seaman fought against his Confederate captors in order to remain free. The Rest I Will Kill: William Tillman and the Unforgettable Story of How a Free Black Man Refused to Become a Slave by Brian McGinty promises to add to our understanding of the importance of the idea of liberty to free blacks. I enjoyed reading McGinty's book John Brown's Trial several years ago, and I'm sure I'll learn new things from this one, too.

Another title that caught my eye was Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans and the Overland Trails, 1841-1869 by Shirley Ann Wilson Moore. The famous Santa Fe Trail and Oregon Trail have spawned many novels and films, however, few if any examine the experiences of African American men and women who traveled these routes west. I'm very interested to see what sources the author found to craft this history and tell what looks to be an intriguing story.

Susannah J. Ural was one of the Civil War Institute's featured speakers. The arguments she presented in her talk about her most recent book, Hood's Texas Brigade: The Soldiers and Families of the Confederacy's Most Celebrated Unit, on this brigade's commitment to the Confederate cause were quite thought provoking. So much so, that I decided to pull the trigger and go ahead and buy it. I'm interested in reading the sections that cover the Texas Brigade's defense at New Market Heights and their combat experience there versus two United States Colored Troops brigades. The part of the subtitle, "and Families" also seems to show that Ural has written a blend of military and social history with this work. 

Southern Unionism was part of some of my ancestors' experience along the Tennessee and Kentucky border, so I've been trying to find as much quality scholarship on this topic that I can. I was happy to locate an inexpensive copy of Lincoln's Loyalists: Union Soldiers from the Confederacy by Richard Nelson Current recently and snatched it up. Thousands of  White Southerners, as well as black men, joined the ranks of the United States army to put down the rebellion and abolish slavery. This book promises to provide even more evidence that the Confederate South was far far from "solid."

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