Sunday, February 27, 2011

Curiosities of the Civil War by Webb Garrison

Rating: 4 stars

Did you know that some wives, including General Grant's wife, actually followed their husbands from one battlefield to the next during the Civil War?  Even after losing a limb, did you know that some soldiers returned to battle?  Have you ever thought about the thousands of horses that lost their lives during the Civil War?  Reading Curiosities of the Civil War will open your eyes to numerous aspects of war that are not mentioned in traditional history books and documentaries. With this 150th anniversary edition, Thomas Nelson Publishers has re-introduced readers to the extensive research and amazing findings of Webb Garrison, the late historian and former associate dean of Emory University.  The attractive cover serves as a tribute to our nation's history and the durable hardback binding will stand the test of time, like the stories within its pages. 

Curiosities of the Civil War is arranged in nine parts, beginning with "Memorable Players in the Nation's Greatest Drama" and ending with "The Money Trail." Every chapter within each part follows a general theme and is comprised of paragraph snippets of interesting findings about individuals who served in the war.  Many of these findings are based on secondary resources, like diaries and newspaper articles from the time period.  One of my favorite chapters is entitled "No One Called Lincoln Handsome." Newspaper columnists and acquaintances noted his unusually large hands and feet and his lanky frame, and it is now believed that he may have had Marfan Syndrome.  Today, when visitors view the famous Lincoln Memorial, they will not see the hands of Lincoln, but the hands of its sculptor, Daniel Chester French, who apparently decided not to accurately depict Lincoln's over sized and bony fingers.

As a person who enjoys learning about the past, I found Curiosities of the Civil War to be quite interesting. This is not a book that needs to be read in a few sittings. In fact, it is an excellent book for the coffee table that can be read in snippets and offer conversation starters.  If you happen to teach history, it is a wonderful supplement, and a daily passage can be shared at the beginning of Civil War history lessons to capture students' interest.  A question can be posed from the account to stimulate their thinking and natural curiosity.  Curiosities of the Civil War offers a multitude of  interesting historical details for the young and old alike.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Sneeze through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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