Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: My Year in Books

As we move into the New Year, I've been looking back on the Civil War books I had a chance to pick up in 2013. My reading list this year included a good mix of political, social and military history. It also featured some of the newest titles from 2012 and 2013, older titles significant to Civil War historiography, and a few primary sources.

Bruce Levine was a repeat author on the list this year. I started the year off with his 2006 book, Confederate Emancipation, and later in the year I picked up his newest work, The Fall of the House of Dixie. In March, I enjoyed Walter Stahr's political biography, Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man. Meanwhile, in the way of primary sources, I finally got around to a few essential works that have been on my list for a long time - Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War, All for the Union: The Civil War Diaries and Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhode, and Theodore Lyman's With Grant & Meade: From the Wilderness to Appomattox.

2013 was also a year of campaign histories for me. In addition to rereading a significant portion of my favorite series, Gordon Rhea's books on the Overland Campaign, I went west to read Peter Cozzens' This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga. As the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg approached, I made my way through Allen Guelzo's new work, The Last Invasion. But my favorite campaign study, and my favorite read this year overall, was Scott Hartwig's 2012 publication To Antietam Creek. Here's hoping that Mr. Hartwig's retirement will help to speed along volume two.

A lot of intriguing titles came out in 2013 that I could not get to, especially as I devoted the last three months of the year to a crash course in the history of the Early Republic and Thomas Jefferson. Among the 2013 releases that made it to my "to-read" list: Richmond Must Fall by Hampton Newsome, Scott Patchan's The Last Battle of Winchester, and (a bit out of Civil War territory) The Internal Enemy: Slavery and the War in Virginia, 1773-1832 by Alan Taylor.

What were your favorite reads of 2013?

No comments:

Post a Comment