In March 1862, Union General Ulysses Grant, having penetrated deep into the Confederate state of Tennessee through his campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson, paused his army at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River to consolidate his forces and provide training for his nearly raw troops. The Confederacy, alarmed at his progress, drew forces together under General Albert Sidney Johnston to restore the military balance in Tennessee. On 06 April, 1862, Johnston's army surprised Grant's forces at Pittsburg Landing, triggering the savage and bloody two-day Battle of Shiloh.
"Shiloh 1862" has the standard Osprey Campaign format, with an introduction; a review of the opposing commanders, their forces, and plans; and a concise narrative of the battle. There is an excellent selection of period photographs and illustrations, and some nice maps and graphics that break down the sequence of the fighting. Author James Arnold's account brings out the tenacity of the soldiers on both sides who, despite a lack of training and experience, put up one hell of fight in what turned out to be a bloody brawl. Arnold's analysis shows the battle could have gone either way; victory went to the side that refused to admit defeat.
"Shiloh 1862" is highly recommended to the general reader with an interest in the battle. The book may interest students of the Civil War as an example of how a number of generals who would become prominent leaders still had to learn their business through painful experience.