David A. Powell
Savas Beatie, 2017, 192 pp., $14.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
The Emerging Civil War Series has brought introductory books to many in the public who have shown interest in certain parts of the American Civil War. Battle Above the Clouds continues that tradition by giving the reader an introduction to the Siege of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain for which the book is named. Written by David A. Powell, this material is in fine hands upon the completion of his Magnum Opus, The Chickamauga Campaign. I, as a reader, have always felt that this battle was not well covered in the past, but with a renewed interest in this campaign, this book is a great starting point for any reader who might be interested not only in the Siege of Chattanooga, but the Civil War in the West.
David A. Powell is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelors in History. He has written many articles and has been focused on the Battle of Chickamauga for which he is nationally recognized. His other works include The Maps of Chickamauga, Failure in the Saddle, and the previously mentioned, The Chickamauga Campaign. All three volumes have been released and were widely acclaimed. His is also the Vice President of Airsped Inc., a specialized delivery firm.
Once again, as mentioned in the introduction, this book handles a lot of information which can be seen as an introduction to these conflicts. This book surrounds the first half of the campaign to lift the siege of Chattanooga but within its spine, there is so much more. Portions of the book which I found to be interesting was the arrival of Ulysses S. Grant as commander and there were even portions of the book which were dedicated to the appendices as it is with previous Emerging Civil War books. This work, however, limits those appendices to only three which aids the book in the narrative flow. The coverage of the Battle of Lookout Mountain was well handled, as in my own experience, it is not covered enough in the scholarship of the Civil War. All of these things help the book to become a great aid for anyone interested in the engagements here. As always, there are driving tours which shows how versatile these books are, that they can be brought along with the reader in order to help them understand what happened in these locations. Once again, very well done.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read the Emerging Civil War Series. These books not only aid in the understanding of the battle, but help those who want to get into the Civil War. On top of that, Mr. Powell handles this book with the same narrative grace which he offered to his Chickamauga series which has just finished. With photographs and or maps on every page, this book should be a fine offering to those who wish to gain a further understanding. Highly recommended.