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

book reviews253 StiU, Blue has provided us with a balanced treatment of a politician who understood the injustices of his time more than most and who was wiUing (more than most) to risk popularity to eradicate them. Lex Renda University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle ofthe Life ofaNation. By Robert E. Denney. (New York: Sterling PubUshing Company, Inc., 1992. Pp. 606. $24-95) This imposing volume is a useful record of the war years, a daily history beginning in January 1861 and ending in May 1865. Robert E. Denney, aretired veteran of two wars, has provided a quick reference tool comparable in scope to the two most popular Civil War almanacs: E. B. Long, The Civil WarDay by Day (1972), and John S. Bowman, The Civil War Almanac (1982). Denney's chronological range is more similar to that of Long, who begins his work with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November i860 and essentially concludes in May 1865. Long then provides a few dates through August 1866, when the rebellion officially ended in Texas. Denney limits his volume to the war years, although his epilogue provides additional scattered dates through April 1866. Bowman's almanac concentrates on the war years, but also gives selected dates from 1619 until 1877 to highUght the causes and aftermath of die bloodshed. Bowman supplements his work with biographical sketches ofover one hundred Civil War personalities, an addition lacking in Denney's work. AU three volumes , while concentrating on miUtary events, try to provide coverage ofimportant poUtical and diplomatic issues. There are several other parallels between die Long and Denney volumes. Denney has an adequate prologue, in which he gives an overview ofthe size of the competing armies, the population in i860, causes of the war, wartime medical practices, strategy, tactics, logistics, and communications. Most readers , however, will lean toward the comprehensive appendices in Long that deal with many of diese and other topics in more detail. Denney includes ten photographs, which are missing entirely in Long, but bis six maps are all wartime topographical versions that have Uttle practical value. Long includes seven theater maps. Although Denney's work is closer to Long's in scope and format, it is not as comprehensive in its coverage of events. Long is noted for including practically every skirmish and engagement that took place over die four years of war, while Denney focuses on only the most significant military events. For example, a reader looking for a Ust ofactions in the Indian Territory will be disappointed to find no entry under that tide in Denney's index (and only a handful for Texas and Arkansas). AdditionaUy, Long is more descriptive and restricts his discussion to straightforward historical data, while Denney augments his with eyewitness accounts. 254CIVIL WAR HISTORY It is this testimony that is the mostobvious innovation in Denney's work. The introduction of excerpts from letters and diaries makes this more than just a book one picks up for a quick answer to a perplexing question; it becomes a book to be read from cover to cover. While the inclusion of first-person accounts provides interesting reading, it is this uniqueness that detracts from its usefulness to the researcher. Denney relies heavily on a few particular sources, and while this is a nice touch that provides his text with a UveUer narrative than the one offered by Long, he might have improved on this technique by drawing his passages from a wider variety of sources. His description of the Atlanta campaign is a case in point. In May 1864, as WiUiam T. Sherman began his movement south, Denney uses almost daily selections from the writings of two soldiers, Pvt. John S. Jackman of the ist Kentucky and CpI. Lucius W. Barber of the 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. For the fighting in the East, Denney reUes heavUy on Pvt. D. L. Day, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. With the multitude of fine firsthand accounts available, it is unfortunate that Denney limits his to a handful. Nor do Denney's selections always coincide with the events mentioned for a particular day. For March 27, 1863, Denney highUghts only David Farragut's...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 253-254
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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.