Air Force Brigadier General William Riley Brooksher was a Civil War reader who became a remarkable Civil War author. He was one of those very rare birds who understood the civil part of civil war and his handling of those issues has been as close to my own taste as I could ever likely see in print. He wrote well, had the military history part of it in hand while painting politics with short strokes of bright, rich colors.
He may have exasperated those looking for a Wilson's Creek battle book in his Bloody Hill ... but it delighted me with a pleasurable read I like to recall whenever trudging through the dark valley of the recapitulators. It appeared 19 years into his retirement from the service after a 30 plus year military career.
Brooksher's relating of the Harney affair in Bloody Hill - possibly a distraction and annoyance to many readers - etched a bright miniature of the next four years of war for those with eyes to discern patterns. The Harney affair is the war for the Union as waged by the Union condensed into a matter of a few weeks of intrigue, turf wars, backstabbing, and tragedy. If you have the book, rethink the war in the east through a Harney filter. And thank Brooksher for not sanitizing the North's war by excising the consistently awful politics to create a clean military narrative.
So where has Brooksher been for the last six years? We need him.
(Harney, top right, from a genealogy website.)