wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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The Last Full Measure

Wow. I've read a fair amount of Civil War books in my time, but very few of them have had the impact of Richard Moe's The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers. This book deserves to be the basic text on the war for all high school history classes covering the topic of the War Between the States, at least in Minnesota; while focusing on the men who came from all corners of the new state to fight for the Union, it also touches on virtually all of the war's causes, significant events, and social upheavals. As if that weren't enough right there, it also does a fine job of depicting the first three frustrating years of the Army of the Potomac. The book makes liberal use of the diaries and letters of the First Minnesota's soldiers; it settles you down by their campfires and brings you along on the long marches to one lost battle after another until finally the regiment finds its Golgotha in a valley south of an otherwise unremarkable Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg. To say more about the book and the achievements of this regiment would spoil it; suffice it to say that there is a reason the regiment's Colonel Colvill is immortalized with a statue beneath the state capitol's dome, and a reason the regimental flag of the 28th Virginia will never go home to Richmond.
Tags: books, culture w/o politics, history

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