Sunday, August 26, 2012

Upcoming Post--The Lincoln Letter

I seem to be receiving a fair amount of Civil War related fiction lately.

Thanks to the good folks at Tor/Forge and Sullivan and Partners  for sending a copy of the new book The Lincoln Letter written by William Martin. This book continues his popular Peter Fallon series of novels this time centered around a race against evil to find a lost Abraham Lincoln diary.

The promotional page included with the book contained positive words from the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jeffry Wert so I have high hopes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Review--Pittsburg Landing

Clark, Robert Burns. Pittsburg Landing. Definitive Words Cyber Publishing, 283 pages. ISBN 9780985537500, $19.95.

Best known for his work as a writer and producer for The Dukes of Hazzard, Robert Burns Clark is a veteran writer with many credits under his belt. Pittsburg Landing however is his first novel. While showing promise this is a book that could have been improved through better editing (was the term "slacker" really used in the 1860's?). In addition, having tied his story to a major Civil War battle it seems Burns should have had the battle play a more pivotal role and the setting should have seemed more authentic. A good reading of Killer Angels might have been in order.

The book revolves around two basic story lines. First are Amos Bingham and his son Noah. Amos is a veteran of the Mexican War and from his experiences there he has taken a vow not to fight again. He has never told this to his son Noah who feels his father is a coward for not joining a local regiment. Noah vows to save the family name and despite being too young is able to join an infantry unit. Amos leaves home to find his son and bring him home. Unfortunately along the way his character becomes repetitive and predictable.

The other major story involves Union officer William Moore. We follow Moore through his reenlistment in the army, his budding love affair with the headstrong daughter of a friend, and his call to the front ultimately leading him to battle at Pittsburg Landing.

The story leads the major characters to the gruesome battle that took place in Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing. With over 23,000 casualties at this battle readers should expect for there to be bloodshed, loss, and lives changed forever.

Overall this was a fast reading story and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The fact that I kept turning the pages means there is something there despite the fact that as Civil War fiction I think there is better out there. I didn't finish the book wanting to know more about the actual battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing). Rather, I felt I had just read a war related book that could have been set at any battle and possibly at any time. And some times that's OK.

Pittsburg Landing won Honorable Mention at the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival in the fiction category.

Please feel free to keep up with Mr. Clark by going to his website.

Thanks to Susan Schwartzman Public Relations for sending a complimentary review copy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Upcoming Post-Yorktown's Civil War Siege

Thanks to The History Press for sending a review copy of Yorktown's Civil War Siege: Drums along the Warwick (Civil War Sesquicentennial) written by John V. Quarstein and J. Michael Moore.

Author John Quarstein served as director of the Virginia War Museum for more than thirty years. J. Michael Moore is the curator for the Lee Hall Mansion and Endview Plantation both of which are located in Newport News, VA. On a personal note my wife and I were able to visit both Lee Hall and Endview several years ago and were the only visitors at both locations on a cold March day. We were lucky enough to be given a personal tour of Endview Plantation by Mr. Moore. It was an enjoyable tour and you could tell the passion he has for his work.

Publisher information:
General George McClellan marched his 121,500-strong Army of the Potomac from Fort Monroe toward Richmond. Blocking his path were Major General John B. Magruder's Warwick-Yorktown Line fortifications and the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. Despite outnumbering Magruder almost four to one, McClellan was tricked by Magruder's bluff of strength and halted his advance. Yorktown, the scene of Washington's 1781 victory over Cornwallis, was once again besieged. It was the Civil War's first siege and lasted for twenty-nine terrible days. Just as McClellan was ready to bombard Yorktown, the Confederates slipped away--because of his delays, McClellan lost the opportunity to quickly capture Richmond and end the war. Historians John V. Quarstein and J. Michael Moore chronicle the Siege of Yorktown and explore its role in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and the final battles surrounding Richmond.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Press Release--Mending Broken Soldiers

I received some information from Dr. Guy Hasegawa concerning his soon to be released book Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs and it looks like a winner for anybody interested in the medical advancements that came about from the Civil War. The book is being published by the Southern Illinois University Press and I look forward to reviewing it shortly.

Please click here to visit the publisher information page and find out more about this book.

I have previously reviewed a book titled Years of Change and Suffering
edited by Dr. Hasegawa and Jim Schmidt. I invite you to read the review here.