by Dave Smith
Washington: Potomac Books, 2013. Pp. xvi, 304 .
Illus., biblio.. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 1612345808
A Great Book for Any Civil War Buff
Himself a Civil War buff, Smith has collected some 750 factoids on mid-nineteenth century America. These include items about society, culture, politics, slavery, and, of course, the war. They are posed in question and answer format and grouped into eight sections.
“An End to Compromise”
“At War with Ourselves”
“No Easy Path to Victory”
“Years of Hard War”
“War on the Home Front”
“Nearing the End”
Each section is in turn divided into from four to twelve “Quizzes,” each of which consists of about ten or twelve questions, plus a section giving the answers. The questions are generally short and direct, but the answers often include more material than needed for a simple answer, and thus become a way to learn more about the war. For example,the answer to “What was considered the ideal age for a cavalry horse?” goes well beyond the simple “six years” to note official requirements on height, problems in training, and so forth, while “Who coined the term ‘Bleeding Kansas’?” not only identified Horace Greeley, but also includes some details about the role of his newspaper and others in informing the public about events.
Naturally a work of this nature has some errors, but The Civil War Round Table Quiz Book has surprisingly few of these, and the book will amuse and inform both buffs and seasoned scholars of the Civil War, and might serve as an excellent introduction to the war for a young person.