I had written a little earlier this week about Timothy Reese's new book, High-Water Mark: The 1862 Maryland Campaign in Strategic Perspective.
In his previous book, Sealed With Their Lives, The Battle for Crampton's Gap, Burkittsville, Maryland, September 14, 1862, Reese developed in detail the importance of Crampton's Gap to the Maryland Campaign - a project of about 424 pages.
Where Sealed With Their Lives dealt with the place of Crampton's Gap in the Maryland campaign, High-Water Mark considers the centrality of that campaign to the war itself. And it does so without collapsing into the banality of a painful, McPherson-like recapitulation of currently approved thinking.
There is a summary here of the findings of Sealed, but most chapters in the new work peel away the onion rings of the Maryland campaign to reach the core of events - a Confederate point of irretrievable loss. I will examine some of the most interesting research and analysis in separate posts beginning on Tuesday with Reese's look at British intervention in the Civil War.
On a personal note, I should say that I know this author through email correspondence only. I had developed an admiration for Sealed With Their Lives when it came out and consider it among my top three favorite Civil War books. Reese is an author Civil War writers can model should they ever wish to leave the storybook business.