Mark H. Dunkelman
Louisiana State University Press, 2015, 254 pp., $45.00
Image courtesy of amazon.com
When it comes to the overall demographic of the Union Army, there are many stories of immigrants which come to mind. The most prominent group of immigrants in the Civil War which get attention are the Irish, but the story of Patrick Henry Jones is largely ignored in the annals of the war. Now, thanks to Mark H. Dunkelman, there is a full fledged biography on the man who has such an interesting history, is makes me wonder why it took so long to get a book written about him.
Mark H. Dunkelman is an accomplished author of the American Civil War. Some of his works include Brothers One and All: Espirit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment, War’s Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers; and Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas wih the 154th New York. Dunkelman is most famously known for his work on Amos Humiston, Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier, in his work Gettysburg’s Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston. This work is part of Conflicting Worlds, a series of books printed by the Louisiana State University Press which prides itself on printing some of the most excellent works on the American Civil War.
When speaking to others about famous Irishmen during the war, Patrick Henry Jones is not the first name to come up in conversations which I’ve had with people, but it will now. What I found most fascinating about this man’s life before the Civil War was his attachment to the Democratic Party, but his disgust with them over the secessionist movement led him to serve in the Union army. Dunkelman’s writing about his time in the Civil War really speaks to people as a man who entered as a private and rose the ranks throughout his time. Dunkelman also gives us a human narrative which is greatly appreciated in a biography on man such as Jones. Overall, the incredible stories about Jones throughout his narrative give way for many more discussions about him then there have been. But the stories and life experiences about this man grow even more after the war when he became a politician. While the end of his life had some sad moments, I felt that this biography was quite excellent and Dunkelman should be praised for bringing us the story of a man whom we hardly knew.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the people of the American Civil War. While you may have never heard of Patrick Henry Jones, I found this work to be enthralling and a welcome addition to the biographies of the war. The narrative is amazing, which is something I’ve known of Mr. Dunkelman’s work, and he treats his subject as a human instead of a god. So many times we pay attention to the larger people but these works are a reminder that it was not only Grant and Sherman who fought the war for the Union. Another fine work by Mr. Dunkelman, Patrick Henry Jones is one of those biographies that I will be talking about for years to come.