An engrossing, comprehensive examination of key Civil War river battles.



A military history book focuses on the Civil War campaigns on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers.

In his characteristically detailed style, Zimmerman (Guide to Civil War Nashville, 2nd Ed., 2019, etc.) provides a thorough battle history of Union Navy gunboats and Confederate gunners and cavalry in eastern Missouri, middle-to-western Tennessee, and western Kentucky. The unique geography of this region made the military campaigns there different from anywhere else during the Civil War. In one of the only places where the Union extensively deployed its “brown-water navy,” military tacticians on both sides had “no gameplan to consult” as the “rules were created as the battles were fought.” Virtually no other site in the war pitted Union gunboats against Confederate cavalry and field artillery. Adding to the lore of the Tennessee and Cumberland campaigns was that they featured some of the most famous figures of the Confederacy, including Kentucky’s John Hunt Morgan and Tennessee’s Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. In addition to their distinctiveness, the author argues that the conflicts along the Tennessee and Cumberland were critical to the ultimate success of the Union forces in the war. While most of the information in these pages has been covered by historians for a century, Zimmerman’s contribution is his ability to synthesize vast quantities of arcane military data into an accessible package. The book abounds with maps, fort schematics, charts, and photographs. It also features many well-placed insets with vignettes on particular weapons, people, and places. Civil War scholars may be perturbed by the lack of footnotes and references, though the volume does contain a bibliography that cites a number of academic books. General audiences and Civil War enthusiasts alike will be drawn to the work’s aesthetic appeal and ample use of visual aids. The volume concludes with a travel guide to the region’s battle sites that is particularly insightful, given the author’s active participation in numerous state and local Civil War preservation societies.

An engrossing, comprehensive examination of key Civil War river battles.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9858692-5-0-9

Page Count: 184

Publisher: ZIMCO Publications

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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