The Howling Storm. By Kenneth Noe. (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2020) Pp. 670. Hardcover, $55.
University of Southern Mississippi, US
Brian Valimont is a PhD student in History at the University of Southern Mississippi. Brian worked for decades as a field archaeologist in the United States, investigating and documenting Native American and historic archaeological sites. He has an MA in Anthropology from the University of Alabama and an MA in History from Salem State University.
In The Howling Storm, Kenneth Noe seeks to assert the important role that climate and weather played as a variable in the outcomes of American Civil War campaigns. Yet, The Howling Storm is not an environmental history that would place climate and weather at the forefront of explanation. This book does not examine the environmental impacts of the Civil War. Rather, it elucidates environmental conditions as a critically important variable in how the various military encounters unfolded, climaxed, terminated and their aftermath. Noe does not seek to upend the interpretations of other historians, nor does he seek to proffer revelatory explanations about the performances of particular military units or commanders. Noe generally accepts prior historian’s interpretations of various Civil War engagements. Instead, he seeks to emphasize and illuminate how climate and weather prove to be as important a variable as political pressure, strategy and tactics, command decisions, and situational circumstances.