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BOOK REVIEWS Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. Edited by Patricia L. Faust. (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1986. Pp. xxiv, 850. $39.95.) A quality encyclopedia is an invaluable tool for anyonewith more than a passing interest in a subject as gargantuan as the American Civil War, but especially is it so for those who write about and must teach the subject. Fortunately, Civil War buffs and professional historians alikewill find in this splendidvolume most ofthepersonalities and all thesignificant battles , as well as the distinctive nomenclature which that prolific era has generated. For example, whatwas an "envelopment"? Theword itself conveys a sense of its meaning, but what precise military objective did its author seek? We learn that the term was not clearly defined until later in the century, but Civil War tacticians understood it to mean any offensive movement other than a frontal assault. Not a terribly precise definition to be sure but one which illustrates well the imposing difficulty the unit commander must have faced as he sought to apply the principle inscribed in his field manual to the actual and confused battlefield situation . The battles are particularly well done. The authors have managed to compress into relatively few words the preliminaries, the principals, the actual fighting, and the results as measured in casualty figures and consequences which followed. Obscure names are brought to light, e.g., Anne Etheridge, a Union Army nurse; but a few notables are missing, e.g., S. S. ("Sunset") Cox, an important Democratic congressman from Ohio. There is, in this reviewer 's opinion, a too-lengthy listing and description of the several Union and Confederate army corps. The listing is evidence no doubt of the editor's understandable concern that military affairs receive their due weight, but in point of fact it only adds to an impression that they are overstated. All in all, however, the choice of entries, the generally high quality of the writing, and the many fine illustrations make this a truly noteworthy addition to the genre; if nothing else it will stand as a magnificent memorial to its editor, the late Patricia L. Faust. Kenneth B. Shover The University of Texas at El Paso ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
p. 269
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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