Barrage of Books Targets Christmas Shoppers
Histories and biographies, collections of letters, reprints of participants' memoirs, and the engaging odds and ends of the immense Civil War bibliography have special appeal to any gift buyer whose list includes a student of the great conflict.
Usually before Christmas, publishers pump out a good supply of such material as stocking stuffers - though often the dimensions and heft of some of these books require a Godzilla-size stocking.
That is the case with Time-Life Books' "An Illustrated History of the Civil War: Images of an American Tragedy" - 454 pages, $39.95 - which may require two men and a boy to lug it home. But logistics aside, it is an attractive piece of work.
Time-Life's Civil War series of books has been pictorially engaging over the years, but this one is striking even by comparison. The choice of photographs (700, including period sketches, maps and other printed material) is splendid. Reproduction is first-rate, starting with the double-page photograph on the title page - two ranks of Union infantrymen, as recognizable as your son or next-door neighbor, that arrest the eye. All but the most addicted student of the Civil War will find pictures in this illustrated history that he has never seen before.
The book has 23 accompanying essays, written by William J. Miller and Brian Pohanka. These range from John Brown's raid to the Lincoln assassination, as well as such topics as military accouterments, field surgeons, the war at sea, espionage, the press and refugees. …