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True Crime in the Civil War: Cases of Murder, Treason, Counterfeiting, Massacre, Plunder, and Misuse of Power [Paperback]

Tobin T. Buhk

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Book Description

April 2 2012 True Crime
* Examines criminal cases during the conflict
* Cases include currency counterfeiting, tyrannical actions of Gen. Benjamin Butler, the murder of Maj. Amos McLemore, raids by "Bloody Bill" Quantrill's Bushwackers, the Fort Pillow Massacre, the horrific prison conditions at Andersonville, the fate of Lincoln assassination conspirators, and more

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (April 2 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081171019X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811710190
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #536,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A rare novelty in the profusion of writing about the Civil War, a volume that takes a different approach."--Susan Branch"Joplin Independent" (04/10/2012)

About the Author

Tobin T. Buhk is a freelance writer who lives in Jenison, Michigan, and is coauthor with Stephen D. Cohle of Skeletons in the Closet: Tales from the County Morgue (978-1-59102-603-7) and Cause of Death: Forensic Files of a Medical Examiner (978-1-59102-447-7).

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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just When You Thought the Civil War Couldn't Get Any Bloodier! July 15 2012
By Michael OConnor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Civil wars are traditionally some of the most savage conflicts fought on or off the battlefield. Tobin Buhk's TRUE CRIME IN THE CIVIL WAR offers up sixteen tales of murder most foul, deadly duels, massacres, arson, riots, banditry, and various other acts of "audacious, brutal, bodacious or bizarre" behavior during the Civil War years.

Many of the events and personalities that roam through the pages of Buhk's book will be familiar to Civil War buffs such as Benjamin 'the Beast' Butler, William Quantrill & the sacking of Lawrence, General Van Dorn's murder, Nathan Bedford Forrest & the Fort Pillow Massacre, the attempted burning of Manhattan, Andersonville's Commandant Henry Wirz, the Booth Conspirators, etc. Other stories such as Sam Upham's counterfeiting scheme, the Walker-Marmaduke duel and the slaughter of the Beckham family aren't as well known.

Buhk did a good job researching the various stories. Over the years many of the events in TRUE CRIME IN THE CIVIL WAR have acquired a layer of half-truths, myths and legends. Buhk uses many first-person reminiscences, documentation and a historian's objectivity to present a comprehensive, fair-minded account of each tale. Likewise, he includes a number of photographs, documents and illustrations that bring the often bloody events to life.

After reading TRUE CRIME IN THE CIVIL WAR, the reader will be in absolute agreement with Buhk's assertion that "Crime did not take a holiday during the Civil War." Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read June 9 2014
By Debbiedoo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Author does a great job of researching and giving facts. I use this book in my classroom. The students enjoy it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative July 3 2013
By paradise city - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am enjoying reading this but it is not a very pleasant subject - mans inhumanity to man. Reading the ipad version.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good But Writer wanders July 1 2013
By William F Kelsay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Writer doesn't hold on to the reader. Too much emphasis on factual history without emphasising detail that would keep the interest of the reader piqued.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read, but with some issues Nov. 10 2012
By C. P. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Civil War and true crime - two of my favorite topics. I'm surprised no one ever wrote a book like this before.

The book covers a number of stories that you are probably already familiar with - the Lincoln assassination, Andersonville, and the Lawrence KS massacre. There are also some that I, personally, had heard of but didn't know much about - Earl Van Dorn's murder, the Ft. Pillow massacre, and Benjamin Butler in New Orleans. There were also some great stories about some things I had never heard of - a Yankee counterfeit scheme, a Rebel plot to burn down Manhattan, and the (bogus) story of the female marauder Sue Mundy.

Unfortunately, there were also a couple of stories that were so obscure that I'm really not sure why they were included - a white family murdered in Tennessee by some freed blacks and a NC woman who shoots her former slave. I took some points off for these, as well as some typos and missing fact checks.

What I really didn't like about this one, though, was a real bias toward the South. I personally have no biases myself (I consider myself a Southerner), and really don't mind the average Civil War buff leaning to one side or the other, but I expect more from a book, and was really surprised how blatant some of this was (especially given the author's from Michigan).

For example, all of the well-known stories I mentioned above are given a pro-Rebel spin with the author seeing the trials as rushes to judgement at best and witch trials at worst. Here, for example, is what he says about the trial of Henry Wirtz, the Andersonville commandant:

"About a week after proceedings began, Wirtz's attorney had had enough of the circus trial."

He also wonders if Wirtz was a "murderer or a martyr." He takes a similar tack for some of the South's worst marauders. These include Champ Ferguson and even Bill Quantrill, with Buhk calling the latter a "bushwhacking cavalier."

I think the author was simply trying to drum up some controversy and drama to help sell the book. Unfortunately, that was totally unnecessary, as the true crime he presents is quite interesting in itself.

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