In the book “Fields of Honor,” Edwin C. Bearss present an interesting reflection of the Iconic Civil War; focusing precisely on the title’s wording: fields of honor, strife, glory and gore, the conventional military stuff and the civil war antique that is enlivened by minuti, the author’s special style, opinions and interpretation. Culled from legendary tour recordings, assembled and published by the Blue and Gray Education Society and enriched with the personal archives of Edwin Bearss kept at the Marine Corps University, this books serves as a tribute to the author, combat marine and a raconteur extraordinaire.
A few scholars have captured the excitement, tragedy, and drama of the civil war in the same manner that Bearss does. The celebrated " Civil War’s Homer" deliver a succinct dissection of the events of the war between states, earning himself a mammoth, devoted following with the amazing battlefield tours and expressive monologue about the scoundrels, heroes and little-known flashes of a conflict which still captivates America. In reading and making a reflection of the book, one finds that the hallowed battles: Shiloh, Gettysburg, Antietam and Chickamauga and more than a dozen others, come to live as never before, enriched with human interest as well as intriguing detail sourced from a study’s lifetime.
Exemplified with comprehensive archival images and maps, this volume “Fields of Honor” honors the 140th centenary of the Civil War’s culmination with an exceptional account of its most perilous battles, interpreting Bearss' incomparable submission into print. As he directs readers from Fort Sumter’s first shots to the bloody fields of Gettysburg, to the decorous capitulation at Appomattox, Bearss’ enchantingly plainspoken though expert narrative reveal why he sides with various historians who are in the front rank of contemporary chroniclers of the American Civil War (Bearss 7).
Even though as a monograph, the volume presents an interesting account of the Civil War, it has some limitations, some of which could be avoided. For instance, the unique submission, inflections, and intonations of the author do not get the deserved justice by the written word. A significant share of the author’s panache is not derived just from his statements; the manner he expresses himself alongside the give-and-take encounter he as with audience play a part. In writing, panache loses its liveliness. In fact, if there was an audio version of the volume, narrated by the author himself, readers would be more interested since it would be closely tied to the authentic tour; where the actual power of Bearss lies. The other limitation to Bearss’ account is the lack of depth. Bearss, in the long run, scratches the surface of every battle since each chapter is centered on a relatively short-lived battlefield tour. Bearss succeeds in introducing each battle in detail and delivering a basic outline with insightful information, however, he leaves his readers wanting more.
In conclusion, there are various accounts of the American Civil War; in fact literature by various historians in vast and practically limitless as it is various literary forms; however, no one does give an interesting insight into the civil war like Edwin Bearss does in the “Fields of Honor.” Even though the narrative could be limited by the lack of depth or the diminished panache, Bearss captures the tragedy, drama and excitement surrounding the Civil War; focusing precisely on the tenacities that propelled the Civil War.
Bearss, Edwin C. Fields of Honor. Washington, D.C: National Geographic, 2006. Internet resource.
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