Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Book Review: "Lincoln's Man in Liverpool"

Lincoln's Man in Liverpool: Consul Dudley and the Legal Battle to Stop Confederate Warships (Northern Illinois University Press, 2007) is a short but detailed examination of Thomas Haines Dudley's long diplomatic and legal struggle to halt the construction of Confederate ships in English ports. Author Coy F. Cross II puts State Department archives to good use, providing a running narrative of Dudley's correspondence with his superiors in London and Washington and his colleagues at other consulates in Europe and around the world.

Cross' enthusiasm and affection for Dudley is evident throughout; unfortunately it doesn't translate into a very interesting book. For the hardcore Civil War navy buff or fan of legal and diplomatic arcana, I recommend it; for the casual reader or for the person whose main focus lies elsewhere, it's probably a bit much.