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December 21, 1986|David Lindsay

HISTORICAL TIMES ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE CIVIL WAR, edited by Patricia L. Faust (Harper & Row: $39.95; 850 pp; illustrated). The editors of Historical Times, Inc., under the direction of the late Patricia L. Faust, have done a splendid service for all persons interested in Civil War history, be they professionals, students or casual buffs. Four years in the making, this large eye-catching volume reflects the efforts of five editors, 62 authors and countless assistants. In addition to more than 2,000 text entries, nearly 1,000 photographs and other illustrations--plus 67 helpful maps--are included.

In treating such a large subject, the editors made choices of what to include and what to omit. Early on, it was decided to emphasize biographical sketches. As a result, while all Confederate officers were included, a few Union brigadiers who were never in the field were left out. This made room for such lesser persons as Bridget Divers, a sutler-nurse with a Michigan outfit, and 12-year-old Johnny Clem, "the drummer boy of Chickamauga."

For inclusiveness, this work is hard to beat. Not only are the military chiefs here--Lee, Jackson, Johnson, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan--but lesser folk like Andrew Foote, John Hartranft, Dick Dowling, William Boggs, Thomas Bocock and Milledge Bonham are here, too. Also featured are political leaders, editors, news reporters, photographers, women of note, musical composers, artists, writers, and their works. As are incidents like "the gold hoax" of 1864, and definitions and identifications of abatis, minie bullet, cheveau-de-frise, Parrot gun, Starr revolver, trunnions, and scores of other items. Sprinkled through the volume are numerous well-chosen photographs illustrating the text.

Altogether, students of the Civil War will have endless occasions to consult this excellent work.

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