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BOOK REVIEWS One Nation Indivisible: The Union in American Thought, 1776-1861. By Paul C. Nagel. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964. Pp. vii, 328. $7.00.) The substance of this book would have made a useful essay on the importance and permutations of the theme of Union in the antebellum United States. But the substance is very difficult to discern from the hundreds of quotations, the repetitions of theme, and the pretentious and opaque prose that fill these pages. Nor is it clear how the fashionable talk about myth and symbol applies to the problem at hand. There are doubtless valuable insights in all this. Certainly the various ways in which antebellum Americans conceived of Union is an important and neglected subject. The author seems to argue that the general movement was from a skeptical estimate of Union as Experiment to a deification of Union as overarching Absolute, to which all other values must yield. Yet all the various ways of perceiving Union seem to have been present in all periods, and the general drift from one point-of-view to another may be exaggerated. Several additional painstaking readings might disclose more of what the author is trying to say, but the probable yield does not seem sufficient to impose this painful duty on the reviewer. Charles Sellers University of California, Berkeley Naval Surgeon: Blockading the South 1862-1866. The Diary of Dr. Samuel Pellman Boyer. Edited by Elinor Barnes and James A. Barnes. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1963. Pp. xxv, 390. $10.00.) Despite the abundance of Civil War diaries, little is currently in print concerning life on board the Union blockaders except for scattered, hardto -find material. The Barneses have performed a useful service to scholarship by editing this exceptionally fine journal, which will rate alongside the classic, shorter narrative, "A Diary of the Blockade," in the United States Naval Institute Proceedings ( 1918) . In June, 1862, a recent Pennsylvania medical school graduate, Dr. Samuel Pellman Boyer, purchased a uniform, packed his sea chest and, as a naval surgeon, sailed from New York in the gunboat Mohawk for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Boyer's day-to-day record continues through nearly three years of blockade duty along the coasts of Florida and the 322 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
p. 322
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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