Book Review: The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War


by Chris Mackowski and Dan Welch, editors

El Dorado Canyon, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2021. Pp. xx, 224. Illus., maps. $29.95. ISBN: 1611215722

New Perspectives on Vicksburg and Tullahoma

The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma, celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Savas Beatie series “Emerging Civil War” with this collection of papers by nearly a score of scholars based on some of their podcasts in the ECW series and talks given at the Stevenson Ridge Civil War Symposia, together with some newly written essays based on related themes. These will engage scholars and buffs, amusing them, offering new viewpoints and fresh perceptions developed over of working at battlefields, guiding tours, presenting talks, and writing for a wide audience.

Vicksburg, of course, was one of the most important and well known campaigns of the Civil War, with numerous books and articles having appeared over the years.

The various papers cover military, social, political and economic facets of the campaign, as well as such matters as memory studies, personal narratives, travel suggestions, and photography. Not only do we get some fresh insights into the events and their importance, but we also see how these scholars and others share their interests and methods of evaluating and enjoying this topic.

To consider just a few of the papers, an excellent foreword by Matt Atkinson tells a story concerning the heroes, villains, cowards, slaves and freedmen who wanted to survive and make a difference. It's followed by Dwight Hughes’ insights into how Rear Admiral David Porter and General U. S. Grant made a wonderful team, combining naval and military operations to achieve success. Angela Riotto offers a deftly argued exploration of how Grierson’s Raid previewed the Union’s hard war strategy. Chris Koloakowski and Chris Mackowski look at the Tullahoma operation, which unfolded at the same time as Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and how it helped shape the rest of the war. And this reviewer found Dave Powell’s essay “Not Written in Letters of Blood, Redux”, both informative and refreshing in allowing enthusiasts to comprehend why Tullahoma was a significant example of military movement in the Civil War.

The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma is an important contribution to Civil War scholarship, offering an engrossing portrait of these important campaigns, and this reviewer recommends it highly.


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Our Reviewer: David Marshall has been a high school American history teacher in the Miami-Dade School district for more than three decades. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, David is president of the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club. In addition to numerous reviews in Civil War News and other publications, he has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables on Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the common soldier. His previous reviews here include A Contest of Civilizations: Exposing the Crisis of American Exceptionalism in the Civil War Era, Unlike Anything That Ever Floated, Meade at Gettysburg, A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, Grant's Left Hook, The Winter that Won the War: The Winter Encampment at Valley Forge, 1777-1778, Gettysburg Rebels, The Siege of Vicksburg: Climax of the Campaign to Open the Mississippi River, From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War, Day by Day, 1861-1865, Unsung Hero of Gettysburg: The Story of Union General David McMurtrie Gregg, The Man Who Punched Jefferson Davis: The Political Life of Henry S. Foote, Custer: From the Civil War’s Boy General to the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg, and Passing Through the Fire: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the Civil War.




Note: The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: David Marshall   

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