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340CIVIL WAR HISTORY Jimerson's selection ofsources clearly illustrates the wide-spread ambivalence with which many viewed the momentous events that were occurring. His handling ofthe changing attitudes in the North toward blacks, particularly black soldiers, is both interesting and suggestive. In like manner, Jimerson 's sources demonstrate dramatically Southern alarm about the loosening of the control of slavery as the war progressed. In dealing with both social and sectional divisions in the South (and to a lesser extent in the North), the author's sources speak eloquently and convincingly. Ina departure from the format used in most of the book, Jimerson, when analyzing the perceptions each side had ofthe enemy, selects six participants to illustrate attitudes in both North and South. These six examples are well chosen, and this device proves to be quite effective. The book goes beyond merely providing an account of the views of various participants, however. Jimerson demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the current scholarship in the areas covered by his study, and the reader thus has excellent summaries of prevailing historical interpretations buttressed by relevant examples of primary sources. While not particularly blazing any new trails, the book is nonetheless extremely effective in reinforcing existing scholarship. Jimerson has thus succeeded in reducing several larger concepts of the period to their human common denominator. The documentation of both primary and secondary sources is impressive, and it is, incidentally, a pleasure to have footnotes instead of endnotes. Well focused, highly readable, and grounded authoritatively in current scholarship, Jimerson's monograph will prove to be a useful, indeed invaluable , addition to Civil War historiography. William A. Baughin University of Cincinnati The Saga ofthe Confederate Ram Arkansas. By Tom Z. Parrish. (Hillsboro , Texas: Hill College Press, 1987. Pp. xvii, 237, $15.00.) In the midst ofAmerica's Civil War, some events stand apart, isolated unto themselves, events that require a special telling. Included in a long list are the battles ofthe Monitor and the Merrimac, the Andrews's raid in Tennessee , Earl Van Dorn's sack of Holly Springs, Jeb Stuart's ride around the Army ofthe Potomac, and Pickett's charge. Each has drawn its own storyteller , writers trying to capture the mystery ofa moment, often with little or no reference to the larger events moving so fast about them. The Saga ofthe Confederate Ram Arkansas is such a story except that author Tom Z. Parrish attempts to place the event in the larger context of Civil War naval and river fighting. With the skill ofone possessed ofnaval experience, Parrish retells the story ofthe descent ofthe ironclad Arkansas from the shadows ofthe Yazoo River valley into the sunlight ofthe Missis- BOOK REVIEWS341 sippi Riverjust south ofthe "S"turn ofthe river. It is here, where the Union riverfleet threatens Vicksburg, that a lone ship thrusts its way into the lairof the enemy and into history. In the bloody hours that follow, there is cruel romance in this challenge offered the fleet that had taken New Orleans, something noble but foreboding in the attempt of an old pieced-together ironclad to clear the river of Yankee intruders caught sitting aboard their ships, idled by their banked fires, "their false sense ofsecurity shattered"by the old vessel's sudden appearance. Tom Parrish is first and foremost a storyteller, at his best when recreating combat, less so when he analyzes historical meaning or the War in the west. A bitjournalistic in style, he speaks in a language all his own, describing artistically the carnage of war, pronouncing his own judgments upon men and events, recording in rich detail the actions of men in battle and the decision-making of the officers plotting the tactics of war. With him the reader rides "the first, last, and only Confederate ironclad on the Mississippi " into battle. Battered by fire from Yankee vessels attempting to rid the river of this strange menace, its decks "riddled like a sieve," its boilers overworked, its steam pressure dangerously low, its pilots killed, its crew members often cut in half by Yankee fire, the makeshift Confederate crew fought on and on, dealing telling blows against the best the Northern riverboats could offer. Blood literally flowed from the decks of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 340-342
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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