The Civil War is slipping from America’s mind. We sink deeper and deeper into the midst of a civil war just off the Persian Gulf every day and we cannot understand how a country can be fighting itself. Even with all the divides splitting America today, we, aside from a handful in Montana, could never imagine fighting to divide our nation. We have civility pressed too close to our throats to grasp the concept anymore.

Not to mention, it has been hard to get America interested in the Civil War. Aside from Ken Burns and his PBS juggernaut, both Sharras, and Glory, popular success has not found those who deal in the War Between The States.

Harold Birch’s newest book, The 101st Pennsylvania In The Civil War, attempts to liven up the discussion surrounding the War Of Northern Aggression. This is the second book in which he takes a look at the living and dying from his home state of Pennsylvania.

This well researched but turgidly boring book focuses on the 101st, their fighting down South, their capture and the eventual escape of some. Birch has the mind of researcher and scholar, but not the pen of an author. The lack of lively writing stifles what could have easily been an interesting and engrossing story.

What can be said of Birch’s book? It is impeccably researched with footnotes to make a thesis advisor weep with joy. Not a blood-soaked stone was left unturned in the research for this book. Diary entries, personal letters, conscription papers, newspaper articles, speeches, and other forms of historical detritus are the foundation for this story. Not a single historical society which had anything to do with 101st Pennsylvania was left dusty by the time Birch was finished. And it has pictures.

It is often said that if we do not learn from history, we will be damned to repeat it. Often, if we do learn from it, we end up damn near bored to death. Damned if you don’t. Damned if you do.

This book can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Be Sociable, Share!