Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Civil War along Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Civil War along Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau

Article excerpt

The Civil War Along Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau. By Aaron Astor. (Charleston, S.C.: History Press, 2015. Pp. 192. Paper, $21.99, ISBN 978-1-62619-404-5.) Aaron Astor's The Civil War Along Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau is an accessible, informative, and lavishly illustrated addition to the popular literature that has been produced since the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Despite its title, the book is in fact a short history of the region from its geological formation to the twentieth century. The plateau's social, cultural, economic, political, and natural histories are all surveyed. While some readers may be disappointed that only half of the book's chapters are devoted to the war years, Astor succeeds in his stated goal of placing the Cumberland Plateau's Civil War experience "in a deeper geospatial context" (p. 12).

More than anything Astor's book demonstrates how geography shaped the character of war. The ways armies operated, kinship groups formed, economic ties developed, and political allegiances coalesced were all influenced by the plateau's physical composition. …

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