Webb Garrison’s Civil War Dictionary: An Illustrated Guide to the Everyday Language of Soldiers and Civilians
Webb Garrison Sr. with Cheryl Garrison
Cumberland House (2008)
Reviewed by Vicki Landes for Reader Views (10/08)
Civil War historian Webb Garrison is considered one of the country’s leading authorities on the subject. As the best-selling author of at least 50 books, it’s not hard to see why. Despite his death in 2000, his work continues to be published and circulated. “Webb Garrison’s Civil War Dictionary: An Illustrated Guide to the Everyday Language of Soldiers and Civilians” is one such example, published in 2008 with the assistance of Cheryl Garrison.
It has been almost 150 years since America’s tumultuous War Between the States. Since that time, this country, its culture, traditions, and dialect have changed considerably. Drastic changes are easily pinpointed and remembered but subtle ones can get lost in the shadows of time. Ages pass and those once-important phrases and customs held dear by society are forgotten as they are slowly replaced. With these losses, we cannot truly see into the everyday lives of these people. Further, by overlooking the vernacular of the period and its translation a wealth of additional information is missed – small nuances that gives flavor and added dimension to the culture and mindset of that society. Webb Garrison, with Cheryl Garrison, bridge this language gap and provide a window to the past with their vivid definitions of words and phrases as well as helpful illustrations to bring these expressions to life.
“Webb Garrison’s Civil War Dictionary: An Illustrated Guide to the Everyday Language of Soldiers and Civilians” is an exceptional collection of information, comprehensive in nature and appropriate at all levels of study. Although a ‘dictionary’ it avoids the dry, monotonous feel normally attributed to books of its kind. Instead, “Webb Garrison’s Civil War Dictionary” has personality and an inherent life to its pages, making it suitable for serious study or simply a casual read.
A delightful addition to any Civil War book collection, “Webb Garrison’s Civil War Dictionary” is a definite must-have. Students, teachers, history enthusiasts, and seasoned Civil War experts alike will find this book to be an incomparable reference source.