The Civil War: A Visual History. Parragon, New York, NY. 223 pages, index, b/w photos. ISBN 9781445440378. $14.99.
The Civil War: A Visual History is a collection of photos and other visual items from the Library of Congress and the National Archives mixed with copies of letters and speeches in an attempt to tell a visual story of the war. These images are put together on the page "scrapbook" style occasionally overlapping or at angles. Each is given a brief description and more complete credit information, including LOC catalog numbers is at the back of the book.
The book is laid out by theme including prisons, front lines, the home front, four sections on battles, and more. Many of the images will be familiar to experienced Civil War readers including the famous seated John Burns, three Confederate Prisoners at Gettysburg, Lewis Payne, and others. Many of the images though will be new.
An area confusing to me was the set up of the index. Most individuals are listed under first name rather than the traditional last name. However, some are listed just by last name such as Lincoln...no first name provided. Devil's Den is listed separately but not under Gettysburg. If you are looking for something in particular it's best to look under all possible names.
While interesting this book is no substitute for more in depth volumes such as the multi volume works The Photographic History of the Civil War and the Image of War 1861-1865 series. That really isn't this books aim though. With the holidays quickly approaching this is more likely to be a gift you will receive from a well meaning family member who knows you are interested in the Civil War but doesn't have any idea what book you really want.
For those of you reading this review Susan Blond, Inc., who is handling publicity for the book, kindly sent me two copies of this book. I would be pleased to send one to a reader. Here's what we'll do...If you are interested please leave a comment explaining why you would like the book. The last week of October I will choose a winner and contact them to arrange sending them the book. Fair?