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2OOCIVIL WAR HISTORY Phil Gottschalk's recounting of the Battle of Allatoona add to previous accounts , while Terry L. Jones's history of the 19th Michigan Infantry and the reports of Confederate general William B. Bate, ably edited by Zack C. Waters , offer perspectives from below the top echelons of command. One's interest in these essays depends in large part on how interested one is in the Atlanta campaign. Of widest interest are the contributions by Woodworth and Davis, for together they offer fresh looks at the problem of command in the Army ofTennessee. Although Woodworth and Davis disagree on Hood's relative merits, they share a critical perspective on the abilities of Joseph Johnston. It is too bad that the editors failed to include a similar discussion on the overall performance of Union commanders, especially in light of Castel's analysis of the relative merits of Sherman and George Thomas in Decision in the West. The editors also might have considered having contributors share their findings with each other in several cases instead of publishing essays seemingly composed in total ignorance of each other. How, for example, would Davis have reacted to Woodworth's arguments? Would some of the authors—especially Gottschalk—have revised their reporting of casualty figures in light of Davis's piece? Sometimes the whole is less than the sum of its parts, as is occasionally the case here. Brooks D. Simpson Arizona State University Civil War Prisons and Escapes: A Day-by-Day Chronicle. By Robert E. Denney. (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1993. Pp. 399. $24.95.) This book's title quite accurately describes its content. Writing for a popular audience, its author tells in chronicle format the story of the Civil War's prisons . Because much of the book's content consists of quotations from sources on which Denney makes comments, his work is a kind of documentary history . While it deals with the prison's administrators and physical arrangements , it follows the current trend toward the social history of ordinary people by putting particular stress on the daily lives of the prisoners. There is some information on escapes, though less than might be expected by the inclusion of that ever-appealing word in the title. Denney's primary sources are mainly published, including The War ofthe Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (series 2) and prisoners' diaries and memoirs. His general interpretation of them follows that of William B. Hesseltine's classic Civil War Prisons: A Study in War Psychology, especially in its focus on the central role ofcontroversies over prisoner exchange. He is, however, far more aware than Hesseltine ofConfederate mistreatment ofblack prisoners; on the other hand, he is much less critical of the probable purposes which influenced the tone and content of the prisoners' postwar publications. Nonetheless, he draws especially heavily on such relatively reliable accounts as those of John Ransom BOOK REVIEWS26 1 and A.O. Abbott from which he is able to invigorate his narrative with much human interest. Among the book's weaknesses is the scant attention paid to western prisons , including the most important, Camp Ford at Tyler, Texas. Even in dealing with the East the tendency is to focus on such well-known prisons as Andersonville and Elmira. Thus the entry for November 25, 1864, makes no mention of the major uprising at the prison in Salisbury, North Carolina. The conclusion shows signs of haste with contradictory information on pages 368 and 369 concerning the taking to Washington of Andersonville commander Henry Wirz and the attribution to that captain of the erroneous title ofmajor. Moreover, the book ends abruptly with Wirz's hanging, omitting reference to such prison-related matters as the outcome of the trial of Salisbury commander Maj. John Gee. Overall, Denney's book is a useful introduction to its subject. As might be expected of the author of a previous Civil War chronicle, Denney puts his subject into the context of the war's battles whose outcomes, of course, did much to provide inmates for the prisons. The author's background as a professional soldier does much to inform the often cynical critical observations...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 260-261
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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