A few weeks ago I was informed by a reliable source that the Journal of American History will no longer review Civil War campaign studies. I blogged about it here, here and here. Last week I decided to contact the editor for a response and Ed Linenthal was kind enough to share the guidelines that are currently in place at the journal.
I want to assure you that the /JAH/ continues to review important works in military history, including battle and campaign studies. We have had recent discussion about criteria for selecting which of the many books in this category are most appropriate for a /JAH/ review. Each year we receive thousands of books at our office and can only select 600 to send out for review. These reviews need to cover all of the many sub-fields in the study of American history. Given the great number of studies about the Civil War and World War II, we always have to make hard choices about which books in this field to review.
We try to pick books that offer new interpretations of battles/campaigns, or introduce important new information. Our goal is to make sure we review those books which speak to broader trends in American history and are of interest to the largest number of American historians. Let me add that my interest reflects both my professional obligation to the /JAH/ readership as editor, and also my own scholarly interests in military history. In March 2007 we published a fine state-of-the-field essay in military history, with short commentary from military historians from several countries. And in 1993, the second edition of my book /Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields/ was published by the University of Illinois Press.
I am sure given the competition for review space that we will not be able to review every battle/campaign studies book, but we will do our best to review what we believe are the most significant ones. To that end, I saw on your blog (thanks for sending me the reference) that you felt that in the last issue (June 2007) we ran a review of the Samuel P. Heintzelman biography instead of “any number of campaign-battle studies that are analytically sound.” I would appreciate your letting me know which of these recent campaign-studies you think we should make sure to consider for review.
I have a few titles in mind, but feel free to add your own suggestions.