Christ Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
Savas Beatie, 2013, 174 pp. + 18 pp. introduction, $12.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
There has been a great amount of historical research being placed into the Emerging Civil War Series and this installment about Spotsylvania Court House is no different. Much like the other volumes in this series, the wealth of information along with driving tours and a multitude of pictures of the field is incredible to behold. There have been many books written about places like Antietam and Gettysburg, but I can only think of a few which center themselves around the action at the Spotsylvania Court House. Thanks to this volume, the knowledge of this terrible battle can be known to students of the Civil War who do not know much about this battle.
Those who have seen my previous reviews will already know about both Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White. Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is an author of many other Civil War studies and is a professor in the school of journalism and Mass Communication at Saint Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. Mackowski is also a historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Park where he gives tours of the four major battlefields of the area including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. He also gives tours of the building where Stonewall Jackson died. Kristopher D. White is a historian for the Penn-Trafford Recreation Board and is also a continuing education instructor for the Community College of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served as a military historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park as is a former Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Military History from Norwich University.
As stated in the introduction, there is a great combination between both the narrative of the battle and touring stops and routes. In books such as these, they offer the opportunity for new comers to the Civil War to experience the battlefield unlike any other. The narrative of battle is incredible and action packed while being supplied with drawings, portraits and maps which can aide any reader, even if they had never read a book on the Civil War. While there were a great many commanders mentioned in this book, I was never confused about who was being talked about. There have been many times when a dry and unmoving narrative can unleash names after names of commanders and the reader may have trouble with something like that. In this book, there is never any question as to who is being mentioned through the text. The book is also sectionalized be their chapters as a way to break up the battle in order to understand it more simply than other accounts have done. Overall, this book not only should be read by those interested in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, but should be taken as a field guide along with them upon visiting the park. No tour of Spotsylvania Court House battlefield should go without this fine book.
I highly recommend this book, along with the Emerging Civil War Series, to anyone interested in the Civil War. Throughout the flowing narrative and tour stops, a greater understanding of what happened at this battle is gained. Both Mackowski and White should be praised again for their work on analyzing battles not as researched as others. It is imperative that I should mention this again: No tour of Spotsylvania Court House battlefield should go without this fine book.