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This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park (Voices of the Civil War) Paperback – September 30, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Voices of the Civil War
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press (September 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572335831
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572335837
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Around the turn of the last century, feelings of patriotism, nationalism, and sectional reconciliation swept the United States and led to a nationwide memorialization of American military history in general and the Civil War in particular. The 1894 establishment of the Shiloh National Military Park, for example, grew out of an effort by veterans themselves to preserve and protect the site of one of the Civil War’s most important engagements.

Returning to the Pittsburg Landing battlefield, Shiloh veterans organized themselves to push the Federal government into establishing a park to honor both the living participants in the battle and those who died there. In a larger sense, these veterans also contributed to the contemporaneous reconciliation of the North and the South by focusing on the honor, courage, and bravery of Civil War soldiers instead of continuing divisive debates on slavery and race.

This Great Battlefield of Shiloh tells the story of their efforts from the end of the battle to the park’s incorporation within the National Park Service in 1933. The War Department appointed a park commission made up of veterans of the battle. This commission surveyed and mapped the field, purchased land, opened roads, marked troop positions, and established the historical interpretation of the early April 1862 battle. Many aged veterans literally gave the remainder of their lives in the effort to plan, build, and maintain Shiloh National Military Park for all veterans. By studying the establishment and administration of parks such as the one at Shiloh, the modern scholar can learn much about the mindsets of both veterans and their civilian contemporaries regarding the Civil War. This book represents an important addition to the growing body of work on the history of national remembrance.

From the Publisher

"An act of love but also of careful scholarship, This Great Battlefield of Shiloh tells the story of the construction of a National Military Park there and of the people who made it. Everyone interested in the battle will want to read what happened there after the fighting stopped, and anyone interested in the process of reunion after the Civil War will learn that a field of such carnage became a site of reconciliation and nationalism. Timothy Smith works at the Shiloh park, knows its history, and appreciates the larger significance of its story." —Gaines M. Foster, Louisiana State University --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It is great fun to read about this effort and the writing is crisp and easy to follow.
James W. Durney
Smith did a superb job of writing what could have been a difficult subject and held my attention throughout.
Mike Miner
It shows the Shiloh battlefield continuing to live as the parchment upon which the battle was written.
John Yeohough

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being married to a Civil War enthusiast can have a down side; my wife calls it "visiting dirt" whenever we stop at battlefields. For the enthusiast, a battlefield can be one of the best places on earth as you see more than words can convey; gain understanding of the what, why and how of the action. You can connect with the men; hear the guns while seeing their view of the battle. Talk to someone who has walked Pickett's Charge, climbed Missionary Ridge or stood looking toward The Sunken Road and you will feel their connection to that event. Each National Military Park is unique and the experience of one is not the same as another. Shiloh, in majestic isolation, is the park closest to what the veterans wanted to tell us about their service. This book is the story not of the battle but of saving the battlefield and determining how that story would be told.

In December 1894 Congress passed an act to "establish a national military park at the battlefield of Shiloh", with a budget of $75,000. This was in response to pressure from veterans who wanted their battle commemorated. From 1862 to 1894, only a military cemetery was in the area. Except for the cemetery, the battlefield had returned to farmland. Whenever a body was found, the cemetery would come out to remove the remains for burial.

This book, details how a small group of men converted several thousand acres of land, thousands of personal accounts and the Official Records into the park we have today. It is great fun to read about this effort and the writing is crisp and easy to follow. The author tells a good story, keeping our attention while generating interest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The battle at Shiloh, Tennessee, on 6 and 7 April 1862, was the first major battle of the Civil War. Confederate forces under Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard were successful on the first day of the battle, forcing Ulysses S. Grant's larger forces back to the Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing. The following day, the Union, having gotten reinforcements from Lew Wallace and Don Carlos Buell, reversed the Confederate gains. The famously bitter and bloody battle at Shiloh was an effort by the Union to take possession of the vital railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi, which was shortly thereafter taken almost bloodlessly. _This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park_ (University of Tennessee Press) by Timothy B. Smith is not the story of the battle, but about the park that grew up to commemorate it. From a battlefield of legendary carnage, Shiloh (along with other similar military parks) became a focus for nationalism and reconciliation. Smith himself is on the staff of Shiloh National Military Park, and his book might be particularly interesting for those many who visit the park, but it also tells of the national attitudes since the Civil War that allowed the park to come into existence and grow into its current form.

Any visitor to the park will find it a very isolated place, and now tranquil; the isolation helped keep the area of the park from development. In 1866, Congress authorized its military cemetery, but for thirty years, the cemetery was the only memorial to the battle, and it was the site of many reunions of veterans from both sides, especially on the anniversaries of the battle.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Blake L. Strickler on February 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is simply amazing. For all of you out there who have ever been to a battlefield and asked yourself, 'How did this stuff get here?' This book is for you. I have been to Shiloh many times over the years and have always felt that something was missing from my battlefield experience. That is until read this fine book. Timothy Smith does not mull over the battle or the tactics of the Generals as much as he reviews how the battlefield was forever shaped and marked fifty years later by the men who brought this battlefield into exsistence.

Simply put this book answers all the 'who, what, where, when, why and even the how' of the establishment of Shiloh National Park. If your curious about Shiloh after the battle than this is your book! Thanks Tim.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
General Ulysses Grant once noted that "the Battle of Shiloh has been perhaps less understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently misunderstood, than any other engagement". With Grant commanding the Army of the Tennessee, the Battle of Shiloh began on April 6, 1862 with a daring attack by the Confederate's Army of the Mississippi commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston. Johnston lost his life during the battle. On April 7, 1862, following reinforcement of Grant by the Army of the Cumberland, the Confederate forces were driven back.

The Battle of Shiloh occurred in a remote area of Southwest Tennessee near Savannah, Tennessee and about 22 miles north of Corinth, Mississippi. Congress provided for the establishment of a National Military Park at Shiloh in 1893. (The National Cemetery was established just after the Civil War.) I visited the park four years ago. It remains pristine and isolated and undeveloped. The park is arranged with quiet dignity. I was moved by my visit.

In his book "This Great Battlefield of Shiloh" Dr. Timothy Smith discusses the establisment and history of the Shiloh National Battlefield. Dr Smith holds a PhD in history from Mississippi State and is a park ranger at Shiloh. He is deeply familiar with the Battle, with the history of the Park, and with recent scholarly approaches discussing the relationship between memory and history in studying the Civil War.

Dr. Smith begins his book with a brief overview of the Battle. He then discusses how an organization composed of veterans and political leaders worked successfully for the establishment of the Park.
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