My dad recently lent me his copy of John J. Pullen’s The Twentieth Maine, which, given my obsessions with all things Civil War, it’s rather astonishing that I hadn’t read it already. I’ve read histories of the war as a whole, dealing with the broad sweeping movements of whole armies, and I’ve read individual histories, both biographies and memoirs, which narrow down the focus to the point where you can’t see the army at all, but this is the first regimental history I’ve read, and I think I like that level of focus. It’s broad enough, especially if you’re already familiar with events in general, that you never lose the sense of where you are in the war, or in history, but narrow enough that you don’t lose your path, and you can still feel a connection to the individuals you meet along the way. Of course, that feeling of a sufficiently broad yet manageable scope could just be down to Mr. Pullen’s skill as an author and a historian, and have nothing to do with the size of the unit we were following. I’ll have to dig up some other regimental histories and see what I think of them.