Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War

by Patricia L. Faust

Other authorsNorman C. Delaney
Hardcover, 1986




New York : Harper & Row, c1986.


This book offers an illustrated encyclopedia that can be used as a reference work for the Civil War as well as for recreational reading.

User reviews

LibraryThing member waltzmn
How many chips can you cover with one bottle of hot sauce?

There are several competing Civil War references available, and they can be very different. This one probably competes most directly with that by Mark M. Boatner, and the comparison is instructive. This one has many advantages over the Boatner work. For starters, it is genuinely illustrated -- almost every capsule biography contains a photograph of the person being described. Given how obscure many of these people are, that is a genuinely nice touch. Boatner has no photographs at all, although it has more and arguably better maps.

This work also is more willing to actually pass judgments -- to say whether an officer performed well or poorly. Such statements are of course subject to dispute. But when you're looking up a battle you've never heard of, it can be nice to know whether it was a Union or Confederate victory or defeat, and why!

So the HT Encyclopedia clearly has more "spice" to it than Boatner. It's definitely more interesting to read.

On the other hand, it is not as complete. Boatner lists just about all general officers, on either side, who fought in the War. It may be that he doesn't have much except birth date, area of service, and date of promotion, but it's at least a bio. The HT Encyclopedia omits several officers, and several events, found in Boatner.

So it's a matter of choice. If you really want to be able to find out a little about everything in the Civil War, then you want Boatner. But if you want more of a feel for the war, and for the men who fought it, then there is a lot to be said for the HT Encyclopdia. It doesn't cover everything, but where it does, it tends to dig in deeper.
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