Once in a while a book comes along intended for the specialist but appealing to the generalist as well. Such a book is historian William Frassanito's ''Grant and Lee,'' the first detailed comprehensive examination of photographs of the last year of the Civil War in Virginia, 1864-65.
It is a combination of running commentary on battle action, plus maps and photographs, some never before printed. You are likely to enjoy the book if you are a Civil War buff as I am, or a photography fan intrigued by the development of the art, or even a casual reader.
My favorite photograph includes a clump of ''pine trees'' which, examined with today's equipment, proves to be 14 horsemen riding along the river. Here, and wherever possible, Frassanito includes a modern photograph of the area for comparison.
Throughout, there are entertaining facts about Civil War photography. For example, Matthew Brady didn't photograph the Civil War. He and other gallery owners hired mostly unknown cameramen to take pictures for them.
For something a little different, the photographs in ''Grant and Lee'' offer a candid view of the Civic War.