Monday, November 25, 2019

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

It has been a while since I've listed some additions to my library, so I thought I'd get to it. My book purchasing has slowed over the past couple of months, but I've picked up a couple here and there, and I received a nice haul for my recent birthday.

Always looking for opportunities to increase my knowledge of aspects of the Civil War in eastern North Carolina, I found and purchased a copy of Time Full of Trial: The Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony, 1862-1867 by Patricia C. Click. Along with the Tennessee and Cumberland River valleys, the Atlantic coast proved to be a region ripe for invasion by the Union army and navy. Places like Norfolk, Virginia, Port Royal, South Carolina, and Roanoke Island, North Carolina saw early military incursions, and doing so brought thousands of formerly enslaved refugees within Union lines. The refugee story is one that needs telling more often, so I'm looking forward to this particular study. 

I've probably mentioned on here that I am always interested in reading anything that Dr. William J. Cooper authors or coauthors. I've been a big fan since reading his Liberty and Slavery: Southern Politics to 1860 long ago. So, I had a big smile on my face when I saw Approaching Civil War and Southern History among the books my wife bought me for my birthday. This fine book contains 10 essays that nearly span the distinguished career of Cooper. Good stuff!

I'm hooked on reading collections of Civil War soldiers' letters. There is simply no better way to learn about the experience of soldering than reading their own written words. I heard about Dear Ma, The Civil War Letters of Curtis Clay Pollock: First Defender & First Lieutenant 48th Pennsylvania Infantry this past summer and quickly put it on my wish list. Pollock's Civil War army career spanned from answering the Lincoln's first call to defend Washington D.C. to his death in the opening days of the Petersburg Campaign. This collection is sure to provide me with a fix for my obsession. 

In my humble opinion, America's greatest challenge to realizing the ideals upon which the nation was founded is that of true racial equality. Although abolished with the 13th Amendment, slavery left a legacy on the United States that we are still dealing with today. As a friend of mine sometimes says, "Racism doesn't stop, it evolves." I firmly believe that a large first step toward eliminating racism is learning about its history. It is difficult history, but it is important history. A Long Dark Night: Race in America from Jim Crow to World War II by J. Michael Martinez covers America's troubles with race from the promise of Reconstruction, through the "nadir of race relations" at the turn of the 20th century, to the end of World War II. 
I've truly enjoyed organizing a book club at work. Getting together with fellow readers and sharing one another's thoughts is a way for me to continue one of the joys I found in graduate school. Our small group is getting ready to start its fourth year in January and it has been so worth the time organizing it. The selection for our next meeting is Lincoln's Greatest Journey: Sixteen Days the Changed a Presidency, March 21-April 8, 1865 by Noah Andre Trudeau. This period included visits to the Petersburg front, so I'm especially eager to dig in.

Happy reading!

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