Stephen M. Hood
Savas Beatie, 2015, 286 pp. + 26 pp. introduction, $32.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
One of the most fascinating people to come out of the Civil War is General John Bell Hood. His own recollections of combat in his book Advance and Retreat had left many people with questions that seemed as though they would never be answered. Here, in The Lost Papers of Confederate General John Bell Hood, some of those questions may be answered. For the first time ever, the letters and correspondence of General Hood which never made it into print are here for the public to see. Not only are they printed for the good of Civil War academia, but they are supplied with well written footnotes by Stephen M. Hood who is no stranger to the study.
Stephen M. Hood is an award winning author and graduate of the Kentucky Military Institute, Marshall University. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps Reserve and is a descendent of John Bell Hood. He is also a member of the Board of Directors on the Blue Gray Education Society of Chatham, Virginia and a past president of the Board of Directors of Confederate Memorial Hall Museum Foundation in New Orleans. His previous work, John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General, was the recipient of the 2014 Albert Castel Book Award for the Best Book on the Civil War in the Western Theater. It was also the recipient of the 2014 Walt Whitman Civil War Award for best general category Civil War title.
There is no other author more qualified, I believe, to release the lost papers of John Bell Hood. Mr. Hood has performed a labor of love by bringing these to the attention of the public and with the exhaustive research and work he put into his own footnotes, I could tell that this would be a book that will last through the ages. The organization of the letters is second to none allowing the reader to look at the section which they are interested in instead of trying to find them through an index. If you want to read about his exploits in the Atlanta campaign, there is a complete chapter devoted to those documents. If you want to look at the Gettysburg and Chickamauga campaign where Hood was wounded, there is a chapter devoted to his medical records. Everything you could want in a groundbreaking primary source is in this book and not only are they organized in a wonderful manner, but they are supplied with pictures and facsimiles of the letters so the readers can see the writing of the general himself. In the end, you learn a great deal about Hood the commander and man which you had never knew before.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the character of John Bell Hood. He is one of the most interesting people to have survived and written about the war. His descendent, Stephen Hood, shows us in this book that there is always something that has not yet reached the eyes of eager Civil War scholars and students. This book should be on the shelf of every Civil War reader and I applaud Stephen Hood for bringing these documents to the attention of the public.