In my latest effort to read something I haven’t read before (I have a bad habit of spending too much time amongst Old Favorites), my hand fell upon Confederates Downeast:  Confederate Operations In And Around Maine by Mason Phillip Smith.   I stumbled across the book, which details a number of small coastal raids and cross-border guerrilla actions, about a year ago and have been meaning to delve into it since then.  (Regular port-swillers might think that ol’ Robbo had hit something of a trifecta here.  “The Civil War, Maine and uselessly obscure trivia? That’s right up our boy’s alley!”)

However, having read the introduction and the first chapter, I find myself facing a dilemma.  Although I find the topic interesting, I also find that the writing is, for lack of a better word, terrible.  It’s jerky, disorganized and without any over-arching narrative sense.  Furthermore, the facts seem to be served up without any thought to balance or proportion.

So, what should I do?  Hold my nose and plow through the remaining 190-odd pages?  Or chuck it and move on to something better crafted?

I suppose I’ll at least try one more chapter before deciding, but really, I hate this.  On the one hand, I feel almost duty-bound to finish the book simply for the sake of being exposed to the knowledge contained therein.  On the other, I can’t help feeling that I’m wasting my time.

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