The latest book on Shiloh should be a grand slam. Groom is a good writer and I really enjoyed one of his previous Civil War nonfiction books, ShroudsThe latest book on Shiloh should be a grand slam. Groom is a good writer and I really enjoyed one of his previous Civil War nonfiction books, Shrouds of Glory: From Atlanta to Nashville--The Last Great Campaign of the Civil War. Further, Groom is working off an impressive bibliography including all the major works up till now about the battle (Cunningham, Sword, Daniel, McDonough).
The result isn't bad, but it is disappointing. I've heard complaints that there is no definitive book about Shiloh and Groom's is not going to be that book either. Scholars will be frustrated by his lack of citations. I was annoyed by his Beschloss-like use of footnote comments. The book's focus is a little too wide sometimes.
Criticism aside, it is a good read - perhaps more accessible than any of the Big 4 books on Shiloh. And that's what it intends to be: highly recommended for a general audience and new Civil War readers. Civil War buffs should probably just take a pass....more
I would have finished this faster if I wasn't taking notes from it for a presentation and needed a break in the middle.
A very deserving Pulitzer-winniI would have finished this faster if I wasn't taking notes from it for a presentation and needed a break in the middle.
A very deserving Pulitzer-winning book on the period leading up to the Civil War, this book covers the issue and events really well. If I could, I'd give this 4 1/2 stars: the footnotes are a little distracting and the writing is a little long winded at times, including more than a few page-long paragraphs. But the information and analysis is just so good I don't hesitate to lean to a higher rather than lower rating.
Despite being written in the 1970s, it has aged very well and demonstrates clearly the importance of the issue of slavery as THE issue that caused the Civil War yet also makes it clear the complexities of that issue....more
I snickered when I first picked this book up: a man named Swift wrote a book about highways.
For a book that appears to be about the USA's Interstate HI snickered when I first picked this book up: a man named Swift wrote a book about highways.
For a book that appears to be about the USA's Interstate Highway system this book throws a bit of a curveball by spending probably half its length talking about the development of the automobile, the early highway associations, and the US Highway system. Except that curveball is exactly the author's point: today we often look at the superhighways with a skewed idea of how they came about and how they are part of America's love affair with cars. Along the way there is a pretty effective deconstruction of the "Eisenhower built the interstates" myth; a more accurate statement would be that he was a strong advocate for their funding which occurred during his presidency. Swift also devotes plenty of time toward other highway men who he feels are the real fathers of the Interstate system. He also views history through a pretty fair lens: acknowledging intentions and ideas while also recognizing mistakes. This is particularly apparent with the parts dealing with controversial issue of urban superhighways, with Baltimore being the focus of that part of the book. A big conclusion I drew from this book is that interstates are not really the cause of problems; merely a symptom.
I was a little disappointed this book did not cover the Interstates in more detail. For example, here in Florida there were at least two major controversies: I-75 crossing the Everglades and connecting I-95 between Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach (locally called "the missing link" it took roughly 2 decades before the section's alignment was approved and built). Neither of these get mentioned. However, I understand that more details on the construction of individual interstates is beyond the scope of this book; the author is looking more toward the big picture.
I'm rating this book a full five stars; the writing isn't amazing, but the content is....more
Extensive but clunky three-way biography of three famous "Age Of Jackson" politicians. I didn't find any particular fault with the information presentExtensive but clunky three-way biography of three famous "Age Of Jackson" politicians. I didn't find any particular fault with the information presented, but I did find plenty of fault with the writing. It was too often dry and suffered from overlong sentences and paragraphs....more
I read this book originally not long after it came out then some years later got the whole series through WW III: South China Sea (the whole series atI read this book originally not long after it came out then some years later got the whole series through WW III: South China Sea (the whole series at the time). This is essentially a review of the series as a whole.
Unfortunately, for a series that went as long as it did the books are not very impressive despite a strong effort for military detail. The first book was easily the best, the next few are okay, but by the time the series and it's titular conflict shifts from Europe to Asia it is really forgettable. The series is also fraught with small mistakes and inconsistencies. The first seven books are at least well connected with an extended military conflict; the 8th book doesn't have any apparent connection with the rest of the series other than the main character (Douglas Freeman, main character of the entire WWIII series and a couple other books by the author)....more