An Important Book in America’s Early Encounter with the Arab World
“A pungent satire on American affairs.” —Samuel Eliot Morison
In 1787, while American sailors languished in a Barbary prison, delegates debated the Constitution in Philadelphia. Despite America’s desire to respond to the crisis, without a central government, the new republic had no means to create a naval force. Enter an anonymously published book, The Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania: or, Letters Written by a Native of Algiers on the Affairs of the United States in America, which began circulating among the delegates. Consisting of a series of letters ostensibly written by an Algerian agent “Mehmet” back to his leader, the spy predicted that the former colonies would never be able to resolve their differences and be “ruined by disunion.” The book created a sensation and it helped tip the balance for those in favor of adopting the new Constitution. Following the Constitution’s final ratification in 1789, the United States created a navy and began asserting its power overseas. With its commentary about men and women, business and pleasure, and historical and religious comparisons between nations, The Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania provides both a contemporary snapshot of early American life and the political ideas of the period. Never before reprinted, and recently rated one of the five best works in the history of America’s encounter with the Arab world, this new edition is edited by historian Timothy Marr, who reconsiders the importance of this early work in the political and literary history of the United States.
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A Rediscovered History That Will Become Essential Reading for Civil War Studies
The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–65, is a comprehensive overview and analysis of the U.S. Army’s field artillery service in the Civil War’s principal battles, written by John C. Tidball, a distinguished artilleryman of the era. The overview, which appeared in the Journal of the Military Service Institution from 1891 to 1893, and nearly impossible to find today, examines the Army of the Potomac, including the battles of Fair Oaks, Gaines’s Mill, Mechanicsville, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; the Army of the Tennessee, including the battles of Stones River and Chickamauga, and the Army of the Ohio’s battle of Shiloh. Tidball, a decorated Civil War veteran and superintendent of artillery instruction for the army, expertly presents the war through an artilleryman’s eyes in explaining the organization, equipping, and manning of the artillery service. His analysis highlights how the improper use of artillery, tying batteries down to relatively small infantry commands that diluted their firepower, seriously undermined the army’s effectiveness until reforms produced independent artillery commands that could properly mass artillery fire in battle.
The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, edited by historian Lawrence M. Kaplan and presented here in one volume for the first time, includes additional material from an unpublished paper Tidball wrote in 1905 which contains further insights into the artillery service, as well as a general overview of the Petersburg campaign. A major new discovery in Civil War scholarship, The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion contains essential information that will change earlier historical interpretations of key battles and will be essential reading for all those interested in the war or contemplating writing about it.
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