As the last weeks of summer draw near, the days have begun to get shorter, my pool water is turning colder, and the leaves have just started to trickle down from their limbs. Fall stands just around the corner and its time to start thinking about those ‘winter reads’ for snowy nights when a good book is just what the weatherman ordered. Here are two excellent and highly original titles that are guaranteed to keep you from suffering from ‘cabin fever.’
Our first title is quite possibly, THE most original concept for a Civil War-era history book that I have seen in years. With the exception of Robert Krick’s recent offering “Civil War Weather In Virginia,” which focuses on the affects of mother nature on the War Between the States, James Schmidt ‘s latest release “Lincoln’s Labels,” takes the title for ‘Most Under Appreciated Topic.’ A well-respected historian and blogger, Schmidt is the author of more than fifty articles on American history in publications such as ‘North & South,’ ‘The Civil War News,’ ‘World War II,’ ‘Learning through History,’ and ‘Chemical Heritage.’ Balancing on the shelves between the military-history and consumer-economics sections of your bookstore, “Lincoln’s Labels” takes a detailed look at the origins of some of the most recognizable brands in our stores today and how they came about during the nation’s great divide.
As with any American-based war, the home front has always been called upon to answer the call in support of the military’s efforts. War often initiates some of the biggest expansions of both inventions and industry. Not surprising, the Civil War was responsible for some of the most significant contributions by corporate giants such as du Pont, Brooks Brothers, Procter & Gamble and Borden’s. “Lincoln’s Labels” also examines the conflict’s affects in turn, on American businesses, and how they were forced to modify the way they operated in order to survive. It is a story of wartime politics, big business, and how ingenuity and perseverance are key to success. The addition of many wonderful illustrations makes this book a complete study that provides an unfamiliar background to some very familiar products. For more on this unique title, please visit the official Lincoln’s Labels website.
The second title that I would like to introduce you to today comes from a very familiar authoring duo (now a trio), who have also come up with a quality study on a far too neglected subject in the annals of military history: the retreat. With hundreds, more likely thousands of books already published on the glorious victories that took place on American battlefields, this book deals with the post-battle experiences of the downtrodden and defeated. Following the success of their critically acclaimed (and this reviewer’s favorite read of 2007) “Plenty of Blame to Go Around: JEB Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg,” cavalry gurus Eric J. Wittenberg, and J. David Petruzzi, have teamed up with retired US Army Armored Cavalry Officer Michael Nugent to produce another winner focusing on the Gettysburg Campaign. “One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863” spotlights the ten-day retreat that Robert E. Lee’s battered and bruised Army of Northern Virginia conducted following their humbling defeat in Pennsylvania.
While the rest of the world continues to remain wrapped-up in the three-day engagement that took place in Adams County from July 1-3, this historian trio presents the little-known events that took place from July 4-14, 1863. During that period there were over two-dozen skirmishes and fighting at locations such as: Granite Hill, Monterey Pass, Hagerstown, Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro, and Falling Waters. With a compelling narrative that has become the collective style of Wittenberg and Petruzzi (and now Nugent), the reader is transported back in time to hop in the saddle with General JEB Stuart who was able to redeem his tardiness at Gettysburg by successfully defending the retreating column of Confederate casualties that stretched for over seventeen miles. An examination of Union General George Meade’s actions is also presented giving the book a nice balance between the North and South. As with their previous release this book is a treasure trove of rarely seen documents, letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and was published using primary and secondary sources. For more on this unique title, please visit the official One Continuous Fight website.