Sunday, June 6, 2021

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

With a steep increase in work responsibilities, which in turn impacted my level of physical and mental energy, my reading pace slowed significantly this past month and a half. That is also probably evident from the fewer number of posts. Not being able to read as many books slowed my purchasing, too. However, I was still able to pick up three titles recently to add to my personal library.

I found William Barney's The Making of a Confederate: Walter Lenoir's Civil War (2007) a fantastic read, so when saw he had a new release Rebels in the Making: The Secession Crisis and the Birth of the Confederacy, I added it to my wishlist last year. It is now being offered on the secondary book market at a very reasonable price, so I snatched up a copy. I'm always interested in seeing how historians cover the secession crisis, and although that event has received significant attention in the last decade or so, new sources and interpretations continue to emerge that give us a clearer understanding of that pivotal moment in American history. I look forward to reading Professor Barney's take.


One of things that I enjoy most about leading a Civil War roundtable is being able to meet the historians that I line up as speakers. Our roundtable normally purchases several copies of the speakers' books to sell to our members and attendees. Dr. Christian B. Keller, who teaches at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was the May 2021 speaker for the Petersburg Civil War Roundtable. Although a last minute schedule conflict prevented Keller from making an in-person appearance, I thoroughly enjoyed his talk about his recently published book, The Great Partnership: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Fate of the Confederacy. Being intrigued with the talk, I purchased a copy. I'm sure reading it will benefit my knowledge of these two men and their working relationship.


A 2021 book that is getting quite a bit of coverage is Joshua D. Rothman's The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America. Rothman's work focuses heavily on the partnership of Isaac Franklin, John Armfield, and Rice Ballard, who formed what was probably the largest and most powerful domestic slave trading firm in antebellum America. These men helped transform the South by moving thousands of enslaved people from Upper-South states to locations in the "Cotton Kingdom." and thus helped create a society that led to war when the "peculiar institution" became threatened. If this book is anything like Rothman's previous study, Flush Time and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson (2012), I'll certainly be satisfied and a better person for reading it.   

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