Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 01/May/Book Notices
Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. By Himself. D. Appleton & Co.,New York.
Every intelligent Confederate soldier ought to read this book, and many of them have done so. In spite of the rough, often coarse, and sometimes profane style, it is certainly a very readable book. And as a personal narrative of the commander of one of the principal Federal armies it must always command a certain sort of attention.
But General Sherman's worse enemies could wish him no greater harm, so far as his fame is concerned, than that he should have written just this book. He so completely ignores the services of other officers, and takes to himself credit that belongs to his comrades, that his book has been most severely criticised by Federal officers, and General Boynton in his book ("Sherman's Historical Raid") has completely demolished him. General Grant has been reported as saying—on reading the book—"I really thought until I read Sherman's narrative that I had something to do with crushing the rebellion."
We do not propose to take sides in this family quarrel, and we are afraid that we could not be prevailed upon to interfere even though the fight should wax so hot as to approximate the famous "Kilkenny" battle. If military reputations suffer, as the "Saviors of the Union" now turn their artillery on one another, all we have to say is, "It is none of our funeral."
But we shall claim the privilege of making hereafter a few choice extracts from the Memoirs, by way of showing the manner and spirit in which "the life of the nation" was saved. Meantime we would say that the book is gotten up by the publishers in fine style, and is well worth buying for the reasons indicated above.
Dixon's New America.
The publishers (J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia,) have sent us (through West & Johnston, Richmond,) a copy of this well gotten up book. An intelligent Englishman gives us a sketchy, gossipy, very readable account of his tour in America, in which truth and fiction mingle lovingly together, and another illustration is furnished of the stubborn fact that one cannot thoroughly know a country by a hasty trip through it.
Life of Stonewall Jackson. By Miss Sarah Nicholas Randolph.
The publishers (Lippincott & Co.) have sent us, through Woodhouse & Parham, Richmond, a copy of this new life of the great Confederate chieftain. Having read Miss Randolph's "Domestic Life of Jefferson"—one of the most charming books we ever read—we were prepared for an entertaining biography of Jackson, and our expectations have been more than realized. It is really a delightfully told story of the deeds of our hero, and a vivid portrayal of his private character, a book which we would be glad to see widely circulated.
And having said thus much in commendation of the book, it is no harm for us to add our regrets that Miss Randolph has followed others into several historic inaccuracies, and that she has allowed herself to be deceived into copying and endorsing the ridiculous story of General Revere, concerning Jackson's being an astrologer, &c., which General Early so completely exploded soon after its appearance.
But in spite of these defects the book admirably meets the design of its publication, and is a popular biography of Jackson, which deserves to find a wide circle of appreciative readers.
Medical and Surgical Memoirs: Containing Investigations on the Geographical Distribution, Causes, Nature, Relation and Treatment of Various Diseases, 1855-1876. By Joseph Jones, M. D., Professor of Chemistry and Clinical Medicine, Medical Department of Louisiana; Visiting Physician of Charity Hospital; Honorary Member of the Medical Society of Virginia; Formerly Surgeon in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.
While not competent to judge personally of the merits of this book, our knowledge of the reputation of the distinguished author (the first Secretary of the Southern Historical Society by the way) made us confident that it would prove a work of rare value to the profession.
We have, however, submitted the book to an esteemed medical friend, and he pronounces it one of great ability, and an important contribution to medical literature.
The work will be found also of great historic value, as the Third Volume will embrace more especially the consideration of the diseases and accidents of armies, and such observations on the medical and surgical history of the Confederate army, as the author was able to make himself or to obtain from the Confederate medical officers.
The results of the investigations concerning the nature, relations and treatment of special diseases during the civil war of 1861-1865, will also be found under the appropriate divisions of each monograph, in three volumes, constituting the present series.
It may be obtained by addressing the author, Dr. Jos. Jones, box 1500, New Orleans.
Life of Chief Justice Chase. By J. W. Schuckers. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
As private secretary and intimate friend of Mr. Chase, Mr. Schuckers has brought to his task very full materials which he has woven into a deeply interesting story of the busy life of one of the ablest men this country has ever produced.
Always a leader in the party opposed to the rights of the South, Mr. Chase's record is one which we cannot, of course, endorse. But in his latter days he evinced towards our people a much more kindly spirit, and it is but just to say that his private character always stood fair, and that his correspondence, as presented in this book, evinces a purity of motive and a freedom from the bribery and corruption by which he was surrounded truly refreshing. The book is admirably gotten up, and very readable.
The Civil War in America. By John Wm. Draper, M. D., LL. D. New York: Harper & Brothers.
The publishers have kindly sent us (through West & Johnston, Richmond,) a copy of this work. We are thus enabled to place on our shelves three beautiful volumes, gotten up in the highest style of the book-maker's art, and "intended to be a history of the causes which led to the civil war, and of the events connected with it, considered not in a partisan but in a philosophical and impartial spirit." How far the learned author has succeeded in his avowed purpose is altogether another matter. Indeed it requires only a glance through these volumes to see that instead of writing in "a philosophical and impartial spirit," Dr. Draper is so bitter a "partisan," that it seems simply impossible for him to make accurate statements about even the most trivial matters.
We may take occasion to pay our respects to Dr. Draper more fully here after, and to show how his narration of the causes and events of the war is so colored by partisan prejudice as to render it utterly worthless as history.
From the publishers (Jos. H. Coates & Co., Philadelphia,) we have received the second volume of the translation of the History of the Civil War in America, by Comte de Paris.
From Geo. W. Harris, of Albemarle, The Confederate Soldier, by Rev. J. E. Edwards.
These books, and any others which may be sent us, shall have due notice.