Of books about the Civil War, like books about Shakespeare, there appears to be no end nor any end to reprints and new editions of volumes about America’s bloodiest conflict. An indispensable tome for the library of any Civil War buff is The Civil War Dictionary, an encyclopedia of the Civil War compiled by Mark M. Boatner, III, which is now available as a part of the Vintage Civil War Library [$18.00 paper]. A dispute that seems as endless as the books about the subject itself is the question of why the South lost the Civil War. This question is examined in a book by the same title authored by Richard E. Beringer, Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still, Jr. Winner of the Jefferson Davis Award and the Bell I. Wiley Prize, Why the South Lost the Civil War was deemed “the most comprehensive, sophisticated, and well-informed [book on this subject] I have ever read” by none other than the dean of Southern historians, C. Vann Woodward. A reprint was recently published by Georgia [$19.95 paper]. As an addition to its Bison Book Series, Nebraska has republished Jennings Cropper Wise’s two-volume work, The Long Arm of Lee, volume one going from Bull Run to Fredericksburg and volume two from Chancellorsville to Appomattox. Originally published in 1915 when Wise was commandant of the Virginia Military Institute, The Long Arm of Lee is considered the authoritative study of Confederate artillery in the Civil War [volume one $14.95, volume two $15.95, and $30.90 set]. Three of the Union’s foremost generals were examined by the late T. Harry Williams in his study of McClellan, Sherman, and Grant, a study focusing on how the temperaments and moral courage of these three Union generals affected their military leadership. A new edition is available as an Elephant Paperback [$7.95]. Besides its study of why the South lost what some call the War between the States, Georgia has also reprinted John David Smith’s An Old Creed for the New South: Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865—1918 in which Smith demonstrates that the old antislavery and proslavery arguments remained very much alive after Appomattox [$17.95 paper]. Between 1937 and 1942 the Virginia Writer’s Project of the WPA collected 150 folk legends of the Old Dominion and compiled them into a book. A new edition of Virginia Folk Legends edited by Thomas E. Barden is available from Virginia [$30.00 cloth, $14.95 paper]. Johns Hopkins is offering a paper edition of Stephen J. Whitfield’s A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black Chicago youth who was murdered in Mississippi in August 1955 [$11.95]. A new edition of James Howard Bridge’s The Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company: A Romance of Millions, a book originally published in 1903, with an introduction by John N. Ingham, is an addition to the Pittsburgh Series in Social and Labor History [$34.95 cloth, $16.95 paper]. Houghton Mifflin has reprinted George R. Stewart’s classic account of the tragedy of the Donner party—that unfortunate group of settlers bound for California in 1846 who were trapped in the Sierras by blinding snow and bitter storms—entitled Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party [$10.95 paper]. Noonday Press is offering a reprint of Harry L. Watson’s Liberty and Power: The Politics of jacksonian America [$9.95 paper]. Harvard has published a 50th anniversary edition of Oscar Handlin’s Boston’s Immigrants 1790—1880 with a new preface by the author [$12.95 paper]. Two recent Vintage Books examined the American landscape, the first being Tony Hiss’s The Experience of Place: A New Way of Looking at and Dealing with Our Radically Changing Cities and Countryside [$11.00], and the second being Zeev Chafets’ Devil’s Night and Other True Tales of Detroit [$10.00]. Vintage Books/The Library of America has added Henry David Thoreau’s classic Walden to its selection of American writers, with an introduction by Edward Hoagland [$9.50 paper]. AEI Press, publisher for the American Enterprise Institute, has published a second edition of Edward C. Banfield’s Here the People Rule: Selected Essays which Judge Robert H. Bork called “a classic of conservative political thought” [$24.95 cloth].
In 1915 Douglas Southall Freeman was commissioned by Scribner’s to write a one-volume biography of General Robert E. Lee. Twenty years later in 1935 Freeman published his four-volume R.E. Lee and it was immediately acclaimed the definitive account of the life of the Confederacy’s most famous general. It also received the Pulitzer Prize. Condensed into one volume by Richard Harwell in 1961, Lee still stands as the definitive biography of the Confederate leader. Now, three decades later, Scribner’s has reissued Lee with a new introduction by James M. McPherson, author of the best selling A Battle Cry for Freedom [$35.00 cloth]. In 1922 Theodore Dreiser published A Book About Myself in which he explored his personal life during the time he spent as a reporter for newspapers in Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York in the 1890’s. A new edition of this work edited by T.D. Nostwich under the title Newspaper Days has been published by Pennsylvania [$49.95 cloth]. Vintage Books has reprinted the second volume of Michael Holroyd’s towering biography of Bernard Shaw, volume two being entitled The Pursuit of Power. The Pursuit of Power traces Shaw’s life and career at their busy peak [$16.00]. Vintage has also reprinted Hermoine Lee’s Willa Gather: Double Lives, which The New York Times Book Review considered “a valuable critical study . . .so absorbing that it provokes a rereading of [all of Gather’s] work.” [$15.00]. Originally published in 1966, Justin Kaplan’s Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and was lauded by critic Howard Mumford Jones as “the richest, most subtle, and best sustained analysis of Mark Twain anywhere to be found.” A new edition of Kaplan’s biography has been published by Touchstone Books [$15.00]. Poet Donald Hall’s series of New England essays, Here at Eagle Pond, is now available in a paper edition from Ticknor & Fields [$9.95]. Bison Books has reprinted Linda Simon’s The Biography of Alice B. Toklas, the literary impresario of Gertrude Stein [$12.95]. Harvard has a paper edition of Mary Gluck’s Georg Lukacs and His Generation 1900—1918, a portrait of Lukacs before he embraced communism in 1918 at the age of 39 [$14.95].
William Carlos Williams is considered by many to be the most characteristically American of all our 20th-century poets. To make this most American poet available to more Americans, New Directions has assembled a two-volume edition of The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan with volume one covering the years 1909—1939 and volume two 1939—1962 [$19.95 each, paper]. Touchstone Books has issued a revised edition of The Haiku Anthology edited by Cor Van Den Heuvel in which more than 700 of the best English language Haiku and related works are compiled [$12.00]. Valentine Books has a paper edition of American Indian Poetry: An Anthology of Songs and Chants edited by George W. Cronyn with a new foreword by Kenneth Lincoln [$10.00].
Richard E. Chandler and Kessel Schwartz’ A New History of Spanish Literature was originally published by Louisiana in 1961 and has been a standard text for the past three decades. Now a completely revised and updated edition of this much-used resource for students has been published, and it includes extensive discussion of Spanish literature of the past 30 years [$45.00 cloth, $18.95 paper]. Noted critic Harold Bloom gave the 1987—88 Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard, and they were later reprinted as a book under the title Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present with Bloom surveying the literature of the West from the Old Testament to Samuel Beckett. Harvard is now offering a paper edition of Ruin the Sacred Truths [$9.95]. A more recent Bloom book—and a national best seller—was The Book of J in which Bloom examined David Rosenberg’s interpretative translation of the first books of the Bible which were written by an author whom scholars called “J” who lived in the 10th century before Christ. The New York Times said The Book of J was “brilliant. . .[a] book of surpassing originality and critical penetration . . .extraordinary.” A paper edition has been issued by Vintage Books [$12.00]. Penguin has published a paper edition of The Reader’s Quotation Book: A Literary Companion edited by Steven Gilbar with an introduction by Doris Grumbach [$6.95]. Tony Thorne’s The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang offers more than 5,000 racy and raffish colloquial expressions from America, Great Britain, Australia, the Caribbean, and other English-speaking places. Pantheon has come out with a paper edition of this dictionary [$15.00]. Cambridge has a new edition of Albert Gelpi’s The Tenth Muse: The Psyche of the American Poet [$54.50 cloth, $17.95 paper]. Johns Hopkins has reprinted M.M. Bakhtin and P.N. Medvedev’s The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics [$13.95 paper].
Vintage Books has a number of reprints to offer, including two by Geoffrey Wolff, the first being The Final Club, a novel about Princeton [$11.00], and the second being Providence, a tale of civic, moral, and spiritual corruption set in the capital of Rhode Island [$10.00]. Other Vintage reprints include Albert Camus’ The Rebel [$11.00], Milorad Pavic’s Landscape Painted with Tea [$12.00], Vladimir Nabokov’s Glory [$10.00], A.M. Homes’ The Safety of Objects [$9.00], Willa Gather’s One of Ours [$12.00], Bernd Heinrich’s Ravens in Winter [$12.00], and A.S. Byatt’s national best seller Possession: A Romance [$12.00].
Africa in History: Themes and Outlines was originally published in 1966 and reprinted in 1968, 1974, and 1984. Now a new revised and expanded edition of Africa in History has been published in paper by Collier Books [$14.95]. Harvard is offering a paper edition of Felix Gilbert’s The Pope, His Banker, and Venice: A Vivid Account of Men, Money, and States in the High Renaissance [$10.95]. Johns Hopkins has a paper edition of Gianni Vattimo’s The End of Modernity, a study of literary theory [$13.95]. Two other recent Johns Hopkins reprints are Jiri Valenta’s Soviet Intervention in Czechoslovakia 1968: Anatomy of a Decision [$35.00 cloth, $13.95 paper] and George Duby’s Medieval Marriage: Two Models from Twelfth-Century France [$9.95 paper]. Random House has a revised and updated edition of The Collapse of Communism as reported by the correspondents of The New York Times and edited by Bernard Gwertzman and Michael T. Kaufman [$13.00 paper]. Vintage Books has published a new edition of John Noble Wilford’s Mars Beckons: The Mysteries, the Challenges, the Expectations of Our Next Great Adventure in Space [$12.00].