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BOOK REVIEWS73 hatchet-faced James H. Lane, political mountebank turned cold-blooded killer. The last chapter takes the reader full circle, back to John Brown and his October 16-18, 1859, raid on Harpers Ferry. Events there, told in the words of the participants , depict a stunned citizenry, a small, dedicated band of abolitionists who are determined to free slaves or give their lives trying, and the utter hopelessness of Brown's plan. The epilogue returns to Kansas, introducing a new character, William Quantrill, about whom Goodrich has written inBloody Dawn, a previous book. Well-chosen, appropriately placed pictures and lithographs, mostly from the Kansas State Historical Society collection, liberally adorn the pages. Two nicely prepared maps keyed to the text help readers unfamiliar with the MissouriKansas border place events in a geographical context Though half-a-dozen manuscript sources appear in the bibliography, War to the Knife was written largely from published material. Those who prefer a more complete historical analysis ofthe struggle for Kansas should read James C. Matin's two books on the subject; James Monaghan's Civil War on the Western Border; 1854-1865 (1955); James A. Rawley's Race and Politics: "Bleeding Kansas" and the Coming of the Civil War (1969); or Michael Fellman's Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the Civil War (1989). But those looking for a lively, though uncritical account unburdened by analysis or completeness will find in War to the Knife a "you are there" approach in which participants provide in their own words a glance at not only pioneer life on the plains but also the general lawlessness that prevailed in Kansas after 1 854. Marion B. Lucas Western Kentucky University Lee's Miserables: Life in the Army ofNorthern Virginiafrom the Wilderness to Appomattox. By J. Tracy Power. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Pp. xxii, 463. $34.95.) Recent years have seen the publication of numerous volumes of "new military history" that examine the Civil War's common soldiers. J. Tracy Power's Lee's Miserables, which traces the Army of Northern Virginia through its final year of existence from May 1864 to April 1865, falls into that genre. The period covered by Power's book—including the Overland and 1 864 Valley Campaigns, the siege of Petersburg, and Appomattox—witnessed some of the most sanguine and important fighting of the Civil War, but until the 1980s it attracted little attention, compared to the more famous engagements of 1862 and 1863. Lee's Miserables is chronological in format and features extensive quotations from a large array of wartime letters, diaries, newspaper articles, and official papers such as the invaluable but little-known army inspection reports. The author intends the book to be a "braided narrative," interweaving narrative with 74CIVIL WAR HISTORY analysis. Power's chronicle of campaigns and battles is competent and wellwritten but offers little that is new. The book's last chapter offers more explicit analysis than preceding ones and places Lee's Miserables within the context of other Civil War scholarship. Power does an excellentjob in revealing the reactions of Lee's men to important events, including the 1864 presidential election, the Hampton Roads Conference , and proposals to recruit slaves into the Confederate Army. He likewise provides an insightful look at morale in the Army of Northern Virginia. During the Overland Campaign, Power reveals, the majority of Lee's soldiers maintained good spirits despite the enormous carnage and physical and mental strain of nearly nonstop fighting. Even when the Southerners fell back to the defenses of Richmond and Petersburg, many felt that holding off Grant's army would convince Northerners that the cities were impregnable and the Union could not win the war. The Confederate soldiers' abiding faith in Robert E. Lee and their belief that the Army of Northern Virginia constituted the main hope for Southern independence is clearly evident throughout the book. Attrition from battle losses and desertion had severely weakened Lee's forces by the summer of 1 864, but Power traces the army's final collapse to the winter of 1864-65, when acute hunger in the trenches and terrible conditions on the homefront resulted in a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 73-74
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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