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BOOK REVIEWS9I use of first-person accounts, the author firmly supports his contention that the Marines were unfairly blamed for the failure of the naval brigade's attack. Except in this area, however, the bibliography and notes do not sustain the jacket claims of "exhaustive" primary source research. The absence of citations to the unpublished papers ofGustavusV. Fox, Louis Goldsborough, and Samuel P. Lee, and to the National Archives' series of squadron and departmental letters, is surprising in a work that addresses the Union Navy's strategic thinking. Hurricane of Fire is a sound general history and a foundation for more detailed scholarship. William H. Roberts Columbus, Ohio Six Years of Hell: Harpers Ferry during the Civil War. By Chester G. Hearn. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996. Pp. xiv, 319. $29.95.) Six Years ofHell examines Civil War events in and about Harpers Ferry, from the John Brown raid in 1 859 through the war's conclusion in 1 865. "By all accounts," Hearn contends, "it had been six years of hell" (292). Certainly this thesis is borne out by the narrative; indeed one could argue that no town in America suffered more over such a prolonged period. One searches in vain, however, for something that would elevate the book beyond a mere chronicle of hard times at Harpers Ferry—some interpretive insight that would transcend the local level and endow the study with broader significance. Mostly this is a military account, notwithstanding dustjacket claims that "the civilian experience" receives equal coverage. There are references to vagrancy, looting, prostitution, and refugeeing; but these occur sporadically and receive little development. The organization is chronological, and the fact that Harpers Ferry changed hands frequently throughout the war produces a narrative that is inherently fragmented or episodic. A kaleidoscopic array of military figures shuffles in and out as events shift from occupation to raid to skirmish to evacuation to reoccupation, with only the locale providing continuity. Much of the military story is, apart from the fact that it occurred near Harpers Ferry, obscure and inconsequential, for events there were seldom of "headline" importance. (The exceptions were the Brown raid and Stonewall Jackson's envelopment and capture of the town and its garrison during the Sharpsburg campaign, both of which receive ample coverage.) Too often the reader, or at least this reader, is left to wonder why we need to know this or that detail, apart from the fact that it happened where it did. One example is the author's penchant for listing the units and commanders of military forces deployed in the area, even to the level of regiments and companies; another is the extended quotation of dialogue and dispatches where a brief summation would better serve. Sharper analytical focus toward some larger interpretive purpose would strengthen the book. 92CIVIL WAR HISTORY In addition to what in my judgment are conceptual and analytical problems, the work suffers from inadequate copyediting. Some examples: "may" is repeatedly used for "might" (e.g., 138, 156, 177, 199, 222, 252, 287); one reads of "an full beard" ( 148) and "a empty wagon yard" (277); 'Irwin' is used for "Irvin" (79 and passim) and "effect" for "affect" (81); the last sentence on page 168 even stands unfinished. Certain other sentences are complete but still confusing . While Six Years ofHell will prove useful to those with a particular interest in Harpers Ferry, Hearn is a better writer and L.S.U's. is a better press than this book would suggest. A. Cash Koeniger Virginia Military Institute Randolph B. Campbell. Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998. Pp. x, 251. $35.00.) Vast and varied as is the literature of Reconstruction; virtually no scholarly monograph has ever before been written on what Randolph B. Campbell refers to as "grass-roots reconstruction." Although control of such key offices as sheriff , county judge, and election commissioner was vital to the selection of delegates to state constitutional conventions, the enforcement—or lack of enforcement—ofthe laws, the registration ofvoters, and numerous other means of supporting or defying national reconstruction policy, the men who held these positions—by election or appointment—have been...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 91-92
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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