New books

Some notes.

While batting around emails with Drew Wagenhoffer on Jomini editions, I happened to notice the same translation is being endlessly repackaged with a floor price of about $15 and up.
Then, looking up Halleck's Art of War (based on Jomini), I see pricing of reprints starts at $76, steps up to $103 and rises from there. What recession?

Meanwhile, Halleck's translation of Jomini's Napoleon remains out of print and deserves a reprise (priced right).

The big news however, seems to me to be something like a collapse in Civil War publishing. In 12 years of compiling Civil War Book News, I have never seen a weaker month of releases than February 2009
- and that includes the bump provided by Lincoln Bicentennial releases. March has been better but so far publishers seem to have decided to downplay the ACW list.

Clash of Extremes
There is a new, scholarly study (Clash of Extremes) about what might be called the economic origins of the ACW from Marc Egnal. It seems, from reading the release information, that the author develops a picture of a changing national economy that lowers the cost of political extremism.
Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Egnal shows that between 1820 and 1850, patterns of trade and production drew the North and South together and allowed sectional leaders to broker a series of compromises. After midcentury, however, all that changed as the rise of the Great Lakes economy reoriented Northern trade along east-west lines.

Meanwhile, in the South, soil exhaustion, concerns about the country’s westward expansion, and growing ties between the Upper South and the free states led many cotton planters to contemplate secession.
Note that it seems some of these themes might play on either side of the historiographic fence, blundering generation or inevitability-of-war. Will have to read to find out.

Jack Hinson
On a visceral level, another new book of interest is Jack Hinson's One-Man War. Hinson was a prosperous Kentucky planter who became a bushwacker after finding his sons heads placed on stakes by Union forces.

The author makes Hinson a former friend of Grant who ambushes and kills over 100 men; he credits Hinson also with the destruction of an entire Union supply train as well. Reading the description, one gets the psycho-killer vibe that pervades ACW non-fiction treatments of irregular warfare.

The number of titles issued may be down but material of interest is still coming out.