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Monday, October 24, 2011

Civil War Book Review: General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West

General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the WestGeneral Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West by Albert Castel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a thorough study of an important (although not very good) Confederate general in the Trans-Mississippi. General Price was a major figure in leading Missouri into rebellion and continued the fight after the rebel armies were pushed into Arkansas. After the South was defeated, he was one of the rebel leaders who fled to Mexico to start a new life.

This book covers his entire Civil War career, including the period when he was transferred east of the Mississippi. Books on Civil War Missouri and Arkansas skip this part of his career and books on the war east of the Mississippi tend to give him short shrift, so these chapters are of interest.

Of main interest to me were the chapters on Missouri, especially his 1864 invasion that serves as a backdrop to my novel, A Fine Likeness. These are very detailed and give a lot of insight into Price's strengths and many weaknesses. Always brave, always determined, he was not always competent and led his army to disaster on more than one occasion.

The maps are well done as well. All too often, military histories fall down on the maps. Luckily the author and publisher did a good job on simple yet detailed maps of the region in general and specific battles.

If you're interested in the war west of the Mississippi, you should definitely read this book.

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