|Hero at Front Royal: The Life of General John R. Kenly
By Daniel Carroll Toomey
(November 2010 Civil War News - Web Exclusive)
Photographs, maps, notes, bibliography, appendices, index, 104 pp., 2009, Toomey Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, softcover.
Daniel Toomey effectively narrates the salient aspects of Gen. John Kenly’s military career. Toomey masterfully blends copious research about Kenly’s life with the major events of his time period. Both the Mexican War and the Civil War are featured in this work.
Despite the title, Kenly’s actions in the Mexican War are covered in greater detail than his actions during the Civil War. Regardless of this, there is plenty of detail describing the Civil War.
Stylistically, Toomey’s streamlined writing and simple style dramatically increase the book’s readability. The only severe drawback is that in its exhaustive effort to chronicle Kenly’s military career, some sections of the book are bogged down with extraneous detail. For example, the details describing marches that did not lead to significant events slow the narrative considerably.
The pictures, maps and appendices greatly enrich the reader’s connection to Kenly and his times. Toomey relies on primary and secondary sources and presents the bibliography by chapter and endnotes, so any reader can readily identify his sources.
This excellent small tome recognizes one of Maryland’s most heroic, yet surprisingly unsung, citizens. Anyone interested in one of Maryland’s finest will enjoyit.
Reviewer: Evan McLaughlin
Evan McLaughlin, valedictorian of his Muhlenberg College class, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a social studies teacher at Mountain View Middle School in Mendham, N.J.