Thursday, December 31, 2009

History Magazine's "Life During the Civil War"

On the news stands right now is History Magazine's "Life During the Civil War" by David A. Norris. This is a perfect bound book the size of a softcover RPG supplement. I recommend it for This Favored Land players. It's also useful for games set in the Wild West period and mid-19th century Kerberos Club campaigns.

This book — it really does look more like an RPG supplement than a magazine — covers a lot of ground that I wanted to cover in This Favored Land, but which I couldn't for space reasons.

It begins with a two page dictionary of Civil War terms, most of which did not appear in TFL. Other topics are of particular interest to roleplayers: 19th century hotels; music (a blatant omission in TFL); humor and social commentary; army laundresses; army pets; fund raising; war artists; newspapers; telegraph; mail.

About half the book is information that wasn't touched on in TFL. The rest is in TFL but with more detail. The discussion on currency, for instance, breaks down army pay by rank. Railroad travel has a short explanation of "women's cars" and the food (or lack thereof) provided on rail cars. There's a wonderful single page full of common medicines and what they were used for.

The book has been on the stands for a couple of weeks. At 95 pages (with only 2 pages of ads) for $9.95, it's a bargain.

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