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Perry Cuskey

New Books on Shiloh

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The 150th anniversary is seeing the release of several new books on Shiloh, or relating to Shiloh in some way. Below are links to a couple of new ones on the park and one new on on the campaign for Corinth, over on Amazon. Just as an FYI, these are not affiliate links, and you obviously don't have to buy the books through Amazon. This is more of a heads-up about some new titles....

Shiloh National Military Park, from the Images of America Series. Co-authored by former Shiloh park rangers Brian McCutchen and Tim Smith, with a forward by park superintendent Woody Harrell. Amazon release date, February 27th, 2012.

http://www.amazon.co...30873490&sr=1-1

Appears to be a history of the early days of the park, largely told through old photographs. A preview is available. There may be, and in fact probably is, some overlap with Tim Smith's other book about the park, but I think this one is more heavy on the early-day park photography. I'd want to have it for that reason alone.

A History and Guide to the Monuments of Shiloh National Park. Written by Dr. Stacy Reaves, professor of history and geography at Tulsa Community College in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Amazon release date, February 12th, 2012.

http://www.amazon.co...0871852&sr=1-19

I'm pretty sure that Dr. Reaves is related by marriage to former Shiloh park historian George Reaves, as she indicates that she is married to a George Reaves the IV. The book looks to be exactly what the title says it is - a history of monumentation efforts at the park. A preview is available. The book appears to have some previously unpublished photographs, including the one of Peabody's mortuary monument on the front cover. So you know that gets my attention. :)

Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation. By former park ranger Tim Smith. Amazon release date, May 9th, 2012.

http://www.amazon.co...30876598&sr=1-1

No preview is available yet, but based on the information on Amazon, the book will cover the ongoing struggle for Corinth from the aftermath of Shiloh through the vicious and often overlooked battle in October. It looks like Tim will also outline Corinth's larger context within the war as whole, and especially the war in the west. This should be an excellent book.

Shiloh, 1862. By Winston Groom. Amazon release date, March 20th, 2012.

http://www.amazon.co...30877500&sr=1-1

A preview is available. John has already given us an excellent overview of this book elsewhere. I honestly don't know how much of this book is fact and how much is "literary license," but either way it sounds as if it should hit home on the emotional level where Shiloh is concerned.

There also appear to be several new novels about Shiloh hitting the shelves (and e-shelves). These don't really count as 'resources' of course, and I'm not really into historical fiction all that much myself, but a well-written novel can often connect with people in a way that a straight telling of the facts cannot. In any case, here's one coming out in May by Jeff Shaara....

A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh. Amazon release date, May 29th, 2012.

http://www.amazon.co...30877837&sr=1-3

A preview is not yet available.

You can find a large number of other books on Shiloh, including quite a few previously out-of-print books that have been re-issued in print and/or on the Kindle e-reader.

Perry

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Hmmm. Looked at the promo information on the Jeff Shaara novel. Looks like two of the main characters are from (1) Forrest's cavalry and (2) the 16th Wisconsin. Jim... I had a g-g-grandfather and some uncles in Forrest's cavalry. Looks like this novel may be getting personal. Hmmm. Now, I'll have to buy it.

John

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I will expect a book report that includes all of the most important parts containing the 16th (Just look in the index and see how much the 16th is listed. If it's a reasonable amount, I will consider it.).

Jim

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Jim, I think yoiu're going to find this book interesting. I can't give you a book report because the book won't be released until May 29. And... since it's a novel, I don't think it has an index. However, Amazon will let you read quite a bit of it online. I ran a couple of searches and think you're going to find it interesting. At least 65 pages are told from the point of view of an apparently fictitious soldier in the 16th Wisconsin. There could be more, but I can't verify it. (If nothing else, you need to read it to see if the author gets the story right.)

John

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Guys, just as an FYI, I'm about to post a note in the Campfire Forum about Jeff Shaara and Tim Smith making a June 2nd appearance over at VirtualBookSigning.net, which Bjorn helps oversee.

Perry

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Please read it, Sharon. I want to know what you think of it. Belle, I want to know what you think, too. And Jim, too--especially since so much of it is written from the point of view of the 16th Wisconsin.

I just finished it. Here’s my take. I found it fascinating but somewhat of a shock to my system. Like most Shiloh history nuts, I’ve been on a lifelong quest for the truth about Shiloh. Normally, I read two types of documents on Shiloh—eyewitness accounts and books that review and interpret those eyewitness accounts. Even with these supposedly factual documents, there are lots of gaps in the story and disagreements in interpretation. We find plenty of points to discuss and debate.

In Blaze of Glory, almost all of the characters are real people. They’re the same people who show up in the eyewitness accounts—the official records, letters, diaries and memoirs. This story takes those characters, mixes in some basic historical facts and adds a strong dose of the author’s imagination. Its goal is to fill out the details and breathe life into the story. As I read it, I had to fight off the urge to go to trusted sources on my bookshelf to check details. I had to keep reminding myself, "That's not the point here because this is fiction, this is fiction, this is..." When I could keep the story in that context as one person’s opinion of what could possibly have happened, I thoroughly enjoyed it. That was a continuing challenge for me, and I suspect it will be for most of us here on the discussion group since we are serious students of history.

As they say in the news media, a little disclosure may be in order here. I met Jeff Shaara a few days before I read his book and had a chance to learn how he went about researching and writing the story. As a writer, I found his process fascinating. I'm sure that knowledge colors my opinion of the book.

That said, I do have some criticisms and questions, particularly about dates, times, some of the involvement of the 16th Wisconsin, and the author's treatment of Gen. Beauregard and Col. Jordan. But, I'll keep them to myself until more of you have had a chance to read it.

John

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Well I have read 115 pages of "A Blaze of Glory" and am not impressed so far. Was not the least bit impressed with the authors comments about Sherman in chapter 5 - 1st time I ever heard he skedaddled at 1st Bull Run & that it tormented him ever after. UGH!!

PS - I started reading Hard Dying Men too & it is a much better book. Do not know why I am wasting my time with the novel but I guess I will finish it & see if the author picks on Peabody some more.

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Well Jim you can follow the exploits of the 16th Wisconsin. There are flashes of interesting dialogue in the text that are overshadowed by dull, boring, irreverent, insensitive remarks that detract from the story line. :mellow:

John: I am more offended by the crass, uncouth, inappropriate remarks and denigration of Sherman's character than I am of remarks about Jordan and Beauregard - although it appears the author does not like Beauregard any better than he does Sherman. One should be able to write historical fiction without putting words in characters mouth they never spoke and assigning attributes to them that are less than accurate or respectful.

Col Joseph Webster (pg 335) was Grant's Chief of Staff, not his Chief of Artillery.

Guess I have said my piece - but I would not recommend this book to anyone.

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Thanks for your comments, Sharon. I guess people like us need to stay away from historical fiction. While I found the book interesting, I also found that it messed with my brain. It kept trying to insert its fictionalized accounts into my mental database of factual accounts. I hope to have it all sorted back out soon.

His treatment of Sherman didn't bother me, but then, I grew up in an area where denigrating Sherman's character was a way of life. I actually came away from this book feeling better about the man. This presentation of Sherman is probably a set-up for the next two books in the trilogy--Vicksburg and the March to the Sea. If you didn't like this one, you don't need to get within a mile of the third one.

Beauregard is a different story. I grew up listening to people denigrate his character, too, but I felt like Jeff Shaara was overly harsh on him and Jordan. (That opinion may grow partly from the fact that I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Grant would have repelled any further attack. Beauregard may have made his decision for the wrong reasons, but it was the right decision. It saved lives.)

Would I recommend this book? Not to anyone in this group... except Jim. (This is selfish, Jim, but I want to know what you think of his handling of the 16th Wisconsin.)

John

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Just picked the book up from the library and have just read the cover. Shaara's name for the 16th WI member, Fritz "Dutchie" Bauer, is all Wisconsin. In the small WI town I grew up in, the man at the end of the block, named Fritz, owned the service station. I went to school with a two Bauers (one was real pretty). Almost everyone, including the girls, had nicknames. As you can see, I'm easily impressed by covers. The WI Historical Society's online roster http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/roster/search.asp list 29 Bauers, but none named Fritz and none in the 16th Regiment http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/roster/searchresults.asp?lastName=bawn&firstName=

Jim

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This could take a while. 90 degrees out makes the pool inviting. It's hard to read a book when wet. I made 27 pages today. Books tend to capture me more on a rainy day or a 10 degrees below zero and the snow is coming in on a 40 mph wind day.

Jim

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I'm at page 193. Capt. Saxe just bought it. I'd be interested to see the authors research. It sure is a different account than I've ever read. I've been trying to ignore what may be little errors, such as when he writes that a few days before the battle, Lew Wallace is reported as moving west to Purdy, possibly with the intention of striking the railroad and maybe even heading further west and taking Jackson. I don't know for sure where Jackson was in 1862, but it sure ain't west of Purdy today. The author also writes in short sentences, separating them with commas, making for real long sentences, making it hard to get into a flow while reading, unless I read the commas as periods. I am starting to regret giving up pool time to read this. Good thing I decide to take Sunday off and go to the Brewers/Pirates game.

Jim

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Jim;

Lew Wallace was reported as heading west towards Purdy on April 1st or 2nd, by rebel General Frank Cheatham whose division was on outpost duty at Purdy and vicinity. His duty was to watch Lew Wallace and protect the railroad. He spotted movement and sent a telegram to Beauregard in Corinth. This telegram was the spark that caused the rebel army to move to Shiloh and the battle began. So the author is correct. As for Jackson TN, it is right where they left it. It is not lost. Its northwest of Purdy where the railroad from Columbus KY splits, one line runs to New Orleans, the other to Mobile.

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Grandpa, Part three, Chapter Seventeen is titled Wood's Farm, Southwest of Shiloh Church April 6, 1862. The book has Gen. Johnston sleeping in an ambulance on the farm. Just before dawn, he witnesses another argument amongst his generals as to whether they should call off the attack. It is here, according to the author, that Johnston realizes that Beauregard has lost his nerve. For this reason, Johnston leaves Beauregard to the rear, in charge, "Perhaps it is best if General Beauregard commands the paperwork."

Jim

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OK, I've just finished Blaze of Glory. I have never regretted reading a book. I am making an exception for this book.

John, in my opinion, any resemblance to the 16th WI in the story and reality is purely coincidental.

Jim

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OK... I give up. I hereby swear off recommending books. Next on my list is Tim Smith's new book on Corinth. I'm enjoying it, but I don't want to know what anyone else thinks about it.

John

P.S. Jim, at least you got it from the library, so you didn't waste $20 on it.

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