In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

366 CIVIL WAR HISTORY attractively written, entertaining account is not one that an objective historian can safely accept. Mounted Raids of the Civil War tells the stories of twelve of the most "newsworthy" cavalry raids of the war. Keeping a praiseworthy balance between the Blue and the Gray, Mr. Longacre gives equal billing to the exploits of Stuart, Van Dom, "Grumble" Jones —Imboden, Morgan, Wheeler and Forrest on the one hand, and those of Streight, Grierson, Stoneman, Kilpatrick—Dahlgren, Sheridan and Wilson on the other. Each of the twelve raids is carefully placed within its strategic setting, and its incidents are narrated with commendable skill. Notwithstanding his extensive bibliography, the author relies in the main on secondary sources. He aims at a general audience, and with twelve rattling good stories in his armory, he is well on target. His book will entertain and please the many chairbome cavalrymen in the ranks of Civil War aficionados. The total absence of maps, essential in such a work as this, is a serious flaw. This reviewer regrets also that the author has not come to grips with the basic questions raised by his subject. We concede the glamour of these raids, and that they caused temporary inconvenience or disruption, but what was their true military value? With the exception of Van Dorn's Holly Springs raid, did any of them have a strategic effect in any real sense? Were they worth their cost? The author's scholarship is generally sound, but it is far from flawless. There are factual errors that should have been corrected, and many of the judgments are questionable or insipid. Moreover , this reviewer would be remiss if he failed to note the solecisms that are to be found on nearly every page of the book. Not a single infinitive remains unsplit; the writing, often pretentious and overblown , is replete with words misused or misspelled, and with a dreadful exuberance of adverbs and adjectives. The grammar is at times as rocky as an East Tennessee mountain road, and the diction as muddy as a Virginia wheat field in March. These strictures are aimed not only at the author—he has earned them—but also at his publisher, who joins his confreres in allowing deplorably poor writing to become a hallmark of Civil War literature. Don't publishers themselves know any better, or don't they just give a damn? Stephen Z. Starr Cincinnati Historical Society Gettysburg: A Journey in Time. By William A. Frassanito. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975. Pp. 248. $12.95.) This book is a labor of love. While it does not alter in any fundamental way historians' interpretations of the battle of Gettysburg, book reviews367 it does greatly enhance their understanding of the photographs made of the battlefield. The author has studied all available photographs taken on the field from 1863 through 1866, reproducing about half of them in his book. He has attempted to determine the identity of the photographers, the dates of their picture-taking and the specific locales depicted. Each of these objectives presented difficulties but the latter offered the greatest challenge. To meet it, Frassanito has painstakingly searched for distinctive rocks and other surviving features which appeared in the original photographs . He has thereby succeeded in locating the sites of most of the photographs, in plotting them on detailed maps, and in presenting modern photographs of the same scenes. He is able to prove that several oft-reproduced pictures have been previously inaccurately captioned as to locale and subject matter. He demonstrates that those of dead bodies sometimes include the same corpses photographed from different angles and occasionally show living men shamming death. All in all, he gives readers a much better idea of how Gettysburg appeared both to participants and photographers . Of more general interest to historians is Frassanito's exemplification of how to derive maximum meaning from early photographs. He shows how to make a detailed examination of any related set of pictures in their historical and physical context. By doing likewise , historians could learn more about how other places and events looked to contemporaries. The book's physical appearance is generally up to the standard of its content...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 366-367
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.