Savas Beatie, 2016, 174 pp., $14.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
One of the highlights of the Civil War Sesquicentennial was the growth in the study of the Western Theater. When I first started learning about the war and reading as much as I could, I found that the studies of the Western Theater were lacking, but now they seem to be growing more every year. The Emerging Civil War Series has given us another work which brings focus to one of the pivotal moments in the Western Theater in A Long and Bloody Task. Focusing on time from the Atlanta Campaign, Stephen Davis takes the reader through moments which have been etched in history as the beginning of the end.
Stephen Davis has been studying the Civil War since the fourth grade. He holds a Masters Degree in American History from the University of North Carolina and earned his Ph.D. at Emory University. He is the author of Atlanta Will Fall: Sherman, John Johnston and the Heavy Yankee Battalions and What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta. He served as a Book Review Editor for Blue and Gray magazine and has authored many articles. Steve is also a popular speaker at Civil War Round Tables and served as a historian and content partner for the Civil War Trust Atlanta Campaign Battle App.
Throughout the text, Davis gives us excellent narratives on the battles which took place at the onset of Sherman’s campaign. From Resaca to Kennesaw Mountain, each of the chapters greatly details the actions of both sides in this conflict. As is usual with The Emerging Civil War Series, each page is accompanied by photographs from the author, highly detailed maps, or historical pictures to aid the reader. Along with the information about the battles, we get some interesting information about the commanders who led these men. One of the people in the American Civil War whom I feel is always handled with little information is Joseph Johnston. In A Long and Bloody Task, I got a great deal of information about the man and the troubles he undertook in the Western Theater against Sherman. One of the appendices even focuses on the career of Joseph Johnston during this campaign and the complications around it. The driving tour at the back of the book is excellent as they always are with this series of works giving those who have never visited these sites a well traveled itinerary. Overall, for anyone not well versed in these battles, this book is full of rich information which gives a greater understanding of the Western Theater from May to July of 1864.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Western Theater who wishes to know more. I also highly recommend this book to Civil War beginners who have it in their sights to visit the many battlefields, especially the Western Theater. The information in this book is well researched and well written as the narrative flows greatly and in an understandable way for the reader. Stephen Davis has shown again that his grasp on the details of the Atlanta Campaign are truly masterful and should be applauded.