DavidJ. Eicher has set himself an impossible task. Yet, to his credit, he carries
it off reasonably well. His goal is to select and give brief synopses of 1,1 oo of the
best books written about the Civil War, which, by his estimation, is about 2 per-
cent of the whole. He organizes his selections under five broad headings: Battles
and Campaigns (13 percent of the entries); Confederate Biographies, Memoirs,
and Letters (20 percent); Union Biographies, Memoirs, and Letters (25 per-
cent); General Works (33 percent); and Unit Histories (8 percent). The two bio-
graphical sections are subdivided into politicians, soldiers, sailors, and others.
The section on General Works has twenty subdivisions, including such topics as
blacks, equipment, fiction, prisons, and women.
While the volume includes many older works, including the writings of partici-
pants in the war, Eicher strives to include the most significant recent books in
each category. About 20 percent of the titles were published between 1881 and
1910, 33 percent between 1911 and 1951 (the period Eicher found the least
exciting), another 20 percent between 1951 and 197o, and fully 27 percent
between 1981 and mid-1995. About 12 percent of the titles come from the 1990os.
The most valuable feature of this user-friendly guide is the brief analytical
synopsis, averaging 264 words, for each entry, but it offers other attractions, too.
An appendix of selected Civil War bibliographies adds to the book's appeal, as
does its large (11 x 8 inches) format. A detailed table of contents and two thor-
ough indices-one by authors and editors, the other by titles-make it easy to
use. So, for Texas biographies, one can readily locate books by or about Sam
Houston, John H. Reagan, and William W. Heartsill (although not Louis T.
Wigfall). Turning to the Texas section of General Works, one finds summaries
of books by B. P. Gallaway, James Marten, David Paul Smith, and Marcus J.
Wright. In Unit Histories, the Texas section highlights Anne J. Bailey and
One can only hope that Eicher will accept the challenge of periodically
updating his work. With its fairly modest price, this book belongs on the refer-
ence shelf of every student of the war.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville DANIEL E. SUTHERLAND
A Man and His Boat: The Civil War Career and Correspondence of Jonathan H. Carter,
CSN. Edited by Katherine Brash Jeter. (Lafayette: Center for Louisiana
Studies, 1996. Pp. xxx+2o6. Preface, introduction, illustrations, appendix,
index. ISBN 1-887366-07-5. $25.00, cloth.)
In October 1862, Lt. Jonathan H. Carter of the Confederate Navy was
ordered to contract for the building of one or more ironclad warships at
Shreveport, Louisiana, for use on the Red River. By this point in the Civil War,
CSA Navy Secretary Stephen R. Mallory had scrapped his plan to build a navy
capable of lifting the Union blockade and carrying the fight to the cities of the
eastern seaboard. With the limited facilities available, especially after the loss of
Norfolk, Memphis, and New Orleans, the secretary had decided to concentrate
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed July 26, 2014.