Wills (History/Georgia Southern Univ.) superbly tells the story of one of the Confederacy's authentic military geniuses, the man who consistently ``got there first with the most men'' and bedeviled the Union armies in the West throughout the Civil War. Unlike other great Civil War generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-77) had little education and no formal military training. Instead, he was an enterprising frontiersman from the Tennessee and Mississippi backwoods whose many businesses included slave-trading. Wills shows, however, that Forrest was a born leader, one whom the southern code and way of life, with their emphasis on ``violence and honor,'' prepared for a military life. Wills also explains how Forrest, despite his humble origins, used his slave-trading business to become wealthy and to break into the planter class. When Tennessee voted to secede from the Union, Forrest's love of horses prompted him to organize his own cavalry regiment. Wills devotes the bulk of his account to Forrest's remarkable exploits during the Civil War—his daring escape with his command from the trap at Fort Donelson; his ``Streight bluff,'' which convinced Colonel Abel Streight to surrender nearly 1,500 Federals to only 400 Confederates; and his victory over a superior Federal force at Brice's Cross Roads. Wills also recounts the less savory aspects of Forrest's record, including the massacre of black Federal troops at Fort Pillow, and his postwar founding of the KKK. Although Forrest was unable to prevent Union victory in the West, Wills argues that the general was not simply a cavalry raider, but a commander whose battles had strategic importance. Ultimately, Wills concludes, Forrest was a blend of vice and virtue and a product of his times, ``neither the incarnation of evil his detractors have described...nor the paragon of Southern virtue some of his apologists have maintained.'' A well-written and meticulously researched biography that offers a balanced perspective on its controversial subject. (Sixteen pages of halftones—not seen.)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)