History has played an important role in my life, but the books started with a family connection. The Civil War Diary of Philip K Roesch was written by may Great-great Grandfather. I was looking for the original German version of the book and came across a second typed copy that had some material missing from the family copy. This allowed me to recreate a version that was more accurate than either previous version. I added some historical content, and the game began.
Of course, this continues my series of books written by relatives. In this case, my fourth cousin, four times removed. Ok, its a stretch, but I was looking for ancestors who also fought in the Civil War (there are quite a few), and Taylor's book was too interesting to avoid. It is a challenging book. Taylor, a Confederate General and son of Zachary Taylor, has a unique perspective on the war that is worth the listen. He is not blinded by some of the errors of his fellow Confederates, and that is helpful.
He is however a man of his age, and difficult to read today. His views are sometimes quite beyond repellant. The bulk of the book is quite interesting. The chapters on Reconstruction are largely complaints about Johnson and Grant not listening to his recommendations. Yes, he had to some extent both their ears. The classical allusions that spice the earlier parts fall like lead balloons. The good news is they are shorter chapters.
My father wrote this book to commemorate the unit he served in in World War II. It wasn't your everyday unit, nor your normal soldiers. They provided entertainment services to the rest of the troops. Never far from the front, they put on musical shows, played movies, performed comedy skits. In his typical breezy style, he writes about the fun and the not so fun.
This series of books is intended to set the background for some work I hope to complete in the future. It covers a number of authors active in Wisconsin during the first quarter of the twentieth century, when Progressivism flourished. Robert La Follette, Charles McCarthy, John Commons, Richard Ely and others will all make appearances. At least that is my plan. The first four books are somewhat complete.