Sunday, March 29, 2020

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

If I am able to find some silver lining to this COVID-19 pandemic black cloud, it is that it is affording numerous opportunities to get in additional reading. Spending more time indoors, with no sports distractions, and not being a big television or movie viewer anyway, I am trying to use my God-given time to continue to learn . . . and share a few of my "Random Thoughts."

Most of my recent readings have come courtesy of my two full "to be read" shelves. I've pulled books off of it that have been there for years. I figure there is no real need to add new books when I have so many waiting to be read, therefore the lack of "Recent Acquisitions to My Library" posts.

However, several different circumstances added three new books to my library over the last month or so. My latest purchase is Civil War Places: Seeing the Conflict through the Eyes of Its Leading Historians, edited by Gary Gallagher and J. Matthew Galman. I almost bought this book last June at the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute where I heard a panel discussion by several of the book's guest authors. I've always enjoyed reading historians connections to subjects and places. Our book club at work chose this selection for our next read before the extent of the corona virus was fully known. And, we may not get to discuss it when we had planned, but I'll have it read and ready in case. Fingers crossed!

I know writing book reviews is something that a lot of people dread, but I rather enjoy it, especially if it is for publication. Every so often I have the opportunity to write book reviews for Civil War News and other publications. Last week I claimed Men is Cheap: Exposing the Frauds of Free Labor in Civil War America by Brian P. Luskey for an upcoming issue. Historian Amy Murrell Taylor calls Men is Cheap "A masterful work of historical research. Centering his story on a wide-ranging cast of brokers, speculators, merchants, soldiers, and formerly enslaved people, Brian Luskey examines deep flaws in the system of free labor at the very moment when it was supposed to deliver the nation from the oppression of chattel bondage. Luskey leaves no doubt that the Civil War marked a critical shift in the history of American labor and capitalism. Men is Cheap is an eye-opening and absorbing read." Sounds like a good one!

The good thing about maintaining an online "wishlist" of books is that from time to time one can monitor prices, and when a good deal comes along, snatch it up. Well, a few weeks ago I found an excellent buy on a hard copy edition of Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and American Memory by Anne Sarah Rubin. Memory studies are one of my favorite history genres, and I can't think of a much better memory study subject than Sherman's march to the sea.

Happy reading! Happy learning! Happy living!

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