Civil War Veterans

Harris Across bloody Chasm

Jordan Marching HomeAt our Civil War Discussion Group / History Book Club meeting last night, we discussed a number of questions that Ed Bearss answered and some we didn’t get to. One of the questions focused on Civil War veterans. Following the Civil War many men returned to their families and lives and not much was done for them unless they were physically wounded. Recently, several books have been published discussing the Civil War veterans and keeping the memory of the war alive. “Across the Bloody Chasm: The Culture of Commemoration Among Civil War Veterans,” by M. Keith Harris looks at how Union and Confederate soldiers remembered the war. Brian Jordan’s new book, “Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War” looks at what awaited the soldiers on their return home. “The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic,” by Barbara Gannon, studies the African American and White soldiers in the GAR after the war to create the first interracial organization. Caroline Janney has written two books on the remembrance of the Civil War.

Train Robbers

Patterson Train Robbery Era 001Last night the Scottsdale Corral of Westerners listened to a tale of train robbers and family connections. Donna Harrell, a descendant of the Younger clan (James-Younger gang), talked about John F. Kennedy, a mid-western train robber around the end of the nineteenth century. Kennedy, associated with Jesse James Jr. and courted a Younger daughter, was probably not your typical train robber. He didn’t steal from the passengers, only what was in the express box. He also never rode his horse along the train to grab on, but instead stopped the train near a town or station by waving a red lantern. Kennedy eventually met his fate at the hands of lawman’s bullet. To learn more about train robbers and badmen, check out our outlaw section.

Cowboys Young and Old

James Young Cowbody 001

Cowboy Ryan

Cowboy Ryan

Cowboys come in all ages and sizes. Cowboy Ryan was lucky to visit the High Noon show this weekend. He dressed up in his finest duds and saw all the sights. Ryan loves to read and one of his favorite books was written and illustrated by a real cowboy, Will James – the book fits Ryan to a tee “Young Cowboy.” We have other books on cowboys and the West for both the young and old reader.

Events to attend the week of January 26 at Guidon Books

On Wednesday, January 28, the Scottsdale Corral of Westerners will hear Donna Harrell give a presentation on a prolific train robber, John F. Kennedy.
6:30 Social time; 7:00pm Presentation. Pizza, salad & drinks will be provided, but please RSVP or 48 945-8811 Public is invited

Scottsdale Civil War Discussion Group / Book Club will meet on Thursday, January 29 at 6:30 pm at Guidon Books. Topic for discussion will be to review and expound on some of the questions answered by Ed Bearss at the SCWRT. Public is invited

Ed Bearss Civil War Recommendations

On Tuesday night at the Scottsdale Civil War Round Table meeting, the audience listened to preeminent Civil War historian Ed Bearss. Ed answered questions concerning his career and the Civil War. When asked about significant books that he read over the length of his career, Ed mentioned 3 in particular – the first was Douglas Southall Freeman’s 4 volume treatise, “R. E. Lee.“ He said in that work, Freeman who supported “The Lost Cause Myth,” was harsh concerning General James Longstreet. Freeman rethought some of his ideas and treated Longstreet better in his “Lee’s Lieutenants.” Bearss mentioned that he read Freeman while recuperating from his wounds during World War II – he also said that Chesty Puller (Semper Fi) read “Lee’s Lieutenants” during the war. The last book that Ed mentioned that was important to read is James McPherson’s “Battle Cry of Freedom.” That is one of the best single volume histories of the Civil War. It was a pleasure and an honor to spend time with Ed, a true American icon.

New and Recent Civil War Books – Generals & Leaders to Ladies of the Night

Davis Crucible of CommandNew and Recent Civil War Books – Generals & Leaders to Ladies of the Night
The American Civil War still holds a fascination for scholars and the general public – Scottsdale has one of the largest Civil War Round Tables in the country with over 300 members.
New books are continually being published – sometimes on new topics, new information, or bringing a fresh perspective to a familiar topic. Guidon Books recently received the following new titles:

Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee – The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged by William C. Davis, hard cover. A study of both men by noted CW scholar

Letters from Prison: Jefferson Davis to His Wife, 1865-1866 edited by Felicity Allen, soft cover

An Evening With Venus: Prostitution during the American Civil War by John Gaines, soft cover

The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War and His Decision That Changed American History by Jonathan Horn, hard cover

The Blue, the Gray, and the Green: Toward an Environmental History of the Civil War edited by Brian Allen Drake, soft cover. A collection of essays on how the environment impacted the CW

These and other great books are available – let us know if there is something you want, but don’t find it on our website

Ed Bearss in Scottsdale Jan. 20

Ed Bearss at Guidon BooksFor those people knowledgeable about the Civil War, Ed Bearss is a household name. He is the former National Park Historian, helped raise the Cairo at Vicksburg and author of numerous books on the Civil War, including two recently on the Petersburg campaign. He will be speaking at the Scottsdale Civil War Round Table meeting on Tuesday Jan. 20, at the Scottsdale Civic Library auditorium. Come early (5:45pm) to watch the video about Ed. Guidon Books will have a limited number of his books available for purchase which Ed can sign.

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Last night my husband Gordon and I were fortunate in attending a preview of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. It is located kitty-corner from our store at Second Street and Marshall Way in downtown Scottsdale. Marshall Trimble emceed the event and introduced several speakers and dignitaries, including Mayor Jim Lane, Jim Bruner and Executive Director of the Museum, Michael Fox. The museum building is stunning, great care was taken to design both the inside and the outside of the facility. But the paintings, art work and western gear are unbelievable. My parents used to take me to all the great Western Art Museums, including the ones at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Woolaroc, Joslyn, Gilcrease and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. I also took my own children to some of these museums to view America’s rich heritage. You don’t have to travel far anymore. Scottsdale’s Museum of the West has many of the old masters such as Thomas Moran, Frank Tenney Johnson, Karl Bodmer and others too numerous to mention. But the museum also has contemporary Western artists such as Charles Fritz, Bev Doolittle and Howard Terpning. Residents can now be proud to visit a stunning museum and to take their guests. By the way, when you are finished visiting the Museum, stop by our store to purchase that book about Joe Beeler, Remington or Russell or cowboy saddles and gear

2015 Year of the Book

Year of the Book – while that might not be exactly true, Mark Zuckerberg is starting a worldwide book club. I am not sure that many of the titles will be at Guidon Books, but it is a good year to starting reading some of the new books on the Civil War, Arizona history or Custer. We will keep you informed of the new titles. It is also a nice chance to read up on the classics. My youngest son, Benjamin, has rediscovered how readable Bruce Catton’s history of the Civil War is, written more than 50 years ago. Send me an email to with your favorite new and “old” books and I will post the titles. Have a great new year. Shelly