Thursday, March 10, 2011

Curiosities of the Civil War by Webb Garrison

Instead of offering another look at the most significant military and political events, Curiosities of the Civil War focuses on relatively unknown and obscure aspects of the war.

It is estimated that 623,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. If the June 1865 surrender of Kirby-Smith’s forces is taken as the last hurrah of the Confederacy, then the war lasted almost fifty months. Fighting took place on each of the war’s approximately 1,396 days from 1861 to 1865; as tabulated by Frederick H. Dyer, 10,455 military “events” took place during the war. Millions of men and thousands of encounters produced a multitude of extraordinary things.

Numerous chapters in Curiosities of the Civil War focus upon events or emphases that have been neglected—maybe because they’re hard to locate. It is all but impossible to find more than an occasional reference to banishment or deportation, and major multi-volume works seldom include an index entry dealing with “hostages.” Subjects such as “atrocities” and “appraisals by contemporaries,” to say nothing of “Lincoln’s appearance,” are not found in standard Civil War encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Even seasoned readers are likely to discover much that is new and fresh here. Whether you’re a lifelong enthusiast or just beginning to get acquainted with the Civil War, you’ll find a trove of conversation-starters here.

My review:I'm not what you'd call a Civil War buff or enthusiast, but do enjoy studying and reading about it. I've been on some of the battlefields, and it is an interesting time in our nation's history to read and study about, so I decided to review this book when I had the opportunity to do so.

This book was previously published back in the 90's as two separate volumes, but has been put into one book of a considerable size, numbering 549 pages which includes an index.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which is why the book has been republished in this form.

It is an enjoyable read. It is set up into nine parts totaling forty-four chapters. Each chapter has short anecdote  and stories, making it a great book to read through slowly and not having to find an ideal stopping place.

There is a lot of information in this book, and I learned a lot. I was actually surprised there was so much trivia and unknown or little known facts out there. I feel the author did a lot of research and put it down in an interesting and easy to read book. It is not a dull, boring book, but very interesting.

I would highly recommend this book to Civil War buffs and enthusiasts, or for anyone wanting to learn more about the Civil War.

About the author:

Webb Garrison, formerly associate dean of Emory University and president of McKendree College, wrote more than 55 books, including Civil War Curiosities and Civil War Trivia and Fact Book. Before his death in 2000, Garrison lived in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

Curiosities of the Civil War is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.


Carmen said...

After reading books by Eugenia Price on the Civil War, this would be a great book to have. Thanks for noting it.