By Albert A. Nofi
Books about the Civil War are as numerous as the war's casualties. This one is different. A Civil War Treasury goes beyond the battles and the memoirs to offer a unique, intimate and informative portrayal of this nation's greatest catastrophe, the War Between the States. A Civil War Treasury does not pretend to be a sweeping historical account of the conflict, but looks at the monumental struggle in terms of bits and pieces of reality. Within its pages are anecdotes of army life and encampments, explanations of logistics and tactics, descriptions of soldiers and citizens and their deeds of honor and infamy. There are profiles of people, regiments and ships; songs and poems; and not a few serious treatments of particular aspects of the war, such as musketry and artillery. The object of A Civil War Treasury is to provide a deeper understanding of the human side of the war and its more technical aspects--topics which are frequently neglected in more traditional treatments. The selections are arranged in a roughly chronological order and there is a brief introduction to each chapter which outlines the principal political and military developments of the year in question. In addition, several major themes link the pieces together, such as Incidents of War, The Men, The Women, Lincoln, The Units, War and Society, The Ways of War, The Ships, Army Life and War and the Muses. For example, an article on inventive, but unappetizing, camp recipes appears under Army Life, while a discussion of the importance of railroads falls under The Ways of War. Few other books give a more fascinating insight into the many facets of the greatest crisis in the history of the Republic.
- New York