Joe Knetsch. Florida's Seminole Wars, 1817-1858. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2003. 160 pp. $24.99 (paper), ISBN 978-0-7385-2424-5.
Lewis N. Wynne, Robert Taylor. Florida in the Civil War. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2002. 160 pp. $24.99 (paper), ISBN 978-0-7385-1491-8.
Reviewed by John F. Weinzierl (History Department, Lyon College)
Published on H-Florida (September, 2004)
Both of these books addressing aspects of Florida history are published by Arcadia Publishing which has established itself as the leading publisher of regional and local history in the United States. Knetsch's Florida's Seminole Wars 1817-1858 is part of Arcadia Publishing's "The Making of America Series" and gives the topic adequate coverage. The book consists of six chapters organized chronologically which address the background, each of the three Seminole Wars, the interlude between each war. Although there is a two-page bibliography included, there is not one source citation (footnote or endnote) in the book. Knetsch capably relates the tale of these wars in an interesting manner; however, this book is not for the serious scholar. Instead, this volume is better suited for the history buff, high school student or simply the popular audience in general. Knetsch does compile an impressive collection of visual images and this is the work's greatest strength. The many images, diagrams, maps, documents, photos, etc. are directly related Florida history, and it must have taken some doing to collect all of them. However, again there are no credits listed, so it is impossible to ascertain the source of such images.
Wynne and Taylor's book is part of Arcadia Publishing's "The Civil War History Series" and focuses on a more specialized topic than perhaps Knetsch's book. The book's organization focuses on ten chapters that deal with some interesting topics. Chapter five "Inside the Confederate Storehouse," for example, deals with logistical supply in the Confederacy and Florida's role in it. Other chapters, "Enduring the Blockade," "Florida's War on the Home Front," "A Not-So-United Florida: Unionists," and "Battles in Civil War Florida" all address important topics that relate directly to Florida's contribution and involvement in this war. Much of the material was very interesting and well written; however, once again as with the Knetsch book, there are no citations provided so it is impossible to judge the book on merits of historical research. This book also has a fine array of visual images, but no credits are listed. The bottom line with both of these books is that they are attractively presented and produced, and the authors did an admirable job; however both are for popular audiences exclusively and fall short of what is expected in the way of citing sources in the academic community.
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the network, at: https://networks.h-net.org/h-florida.
John F. Weinzierl. Review of Knetsch, Joe, Florida's Seminole Wars, 1817-1858 and
Wynne, Lewis N.; Taylor, Robert, Florida in the Civil War.
H-Florida, H-Net Reviews.
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