31 July 2008
I very much enjoy reading your "Old Virginia Blog" every few days for its excellent content and insight. In my view, your response to Peter Carmichael is right on target.
My Civil War blog, "Go Where The Fire Is Hottest", has been "coming-up-to-speed" over the past few months and I'm finding that it is an interesting process.
I had taken the liberty of adding a link to your blog a few weeks ago due to my own enjoyment of it . . . and didn't think to get your permission before I did so.
If my link is a problem, please let me know and I will remove it. Thank you.
David H. Jones
Author of Two Brothers: One North, One South*
David H. Jones was born and raised in West Virginia and has been a lifelong student of the Civil War. His research took him into the swamps of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, to rediscover the lost location where a pivotal event in the book took place. A graduate of Kentucky Military Institute and Babson College, former Navy officer, and entrepreneur, he currently lives and writes in Los Angeles, California.
*I have a copy of David's book in my library now, but have yet to get to it. I hope to do so soon.
"I know that I'm endangering my life and am even liable to lose my father, but I hope that he'll understand this and that God will give him and my family patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus and to Christianity. Maybe one day I'll be able to return to Palestine and to Ramallah with Jesus, in the Kingdom of God."
See full story here.
Now that's real hope.
"Why Historians Should Write Books Ordinary People Want to Read"As I opined in a comment,
Rare is the good historian who is also a good writer. Therein lies the problem. There are exceptions, of course. 3 of my personal favorites are:
Douglas Southall Freeman
James I. Robertson, Jr.
30 July 2008
Civil War author and historian Michael Hardy has weighed in on the current discussion. Sounds reasonable to me. Michael's position, as stated on that particular post, pretty much mirrors my own. Michael has done some additional research into this subject and I look forward to what he may be able to contribute in the future.
29 July 2008
• 150,000 Confederate soldiers rededicated or were baptized during the war.
• Eighty percent of college students in the South after the war found their religious faith while in the Confederate Army.
• Thirteen former Confederate chaplains consecrated as bishops by 1892.
• Twelve former Confederate chaplains became presidents of major colleges.
• By 1890 church membership and the value of church property were double that of 1860. New growth included 10,000 new Baptist churches in Texas.
• Former Union Army chaplains also helped with the rebuilding of the South.
• Bishop Atticus Haygood emphasized the rise of “The New South.” But the Southern Churches conserved traditions. No major Protestant denomination except for the Protestant Episcopal Church reunited in the 19th century.
*And a bit of news: The National Civil War Chaplains Museum has received its 501(c)3 status. Your donations are most welcome. Some additional exciting announcements and news will be coming soon.
28 July 2008
25 July 2008
24 July 2008
"There is a type of historical character that in our day is the symbol of unmitigated evil or less commonly, the paragon of the American success story, but rarely as someone between the poles. The historiography of the 'Gilded Age' tends to show the industrial capitalists of the 19th Century as either 'industrial statesmen,' or (more often), as 'robber barons.' The truth is more complex and far more interesting than the stereotypical cant favored by Marxists, conspiracy theorists, or super-patriots." ~ Bill Potter, Circa History Guild
23 July 2008
Gee, where have I heard that before?
22 July 2008
They once played for Ulysses S. Grant just a few steps from my office and are still in great demand—different members of course. At the conclusion of their performance before the President, Grant bowed, raised his hat and said: "The immortal
They still play every Monday evening during the summer months in
Read about their history here.
21 July 2008
Many of these same individuals make fun of reenactors, SCV members, amateur and local historians, those proud of their Southern heritage, and anyone else who has anything other than a purely academic interest in the Civil War--or who--God forbid--happens to disagree with their interpretation of events. They impugn and insult them at every opportunity. They stereotype, condescend, assume motives, misquote, misunderstand, misinterpret, they contradict their own statements and, yes, they lie. They demonize the South in one sentence and deny they're doing it in the next, while all the time claiming "scholarly objectivity." They write of the South's burden regarding the slavery issue while ignoring the North's and then become defensive if anyone calls them on it, claiming it's irrelevant. And they write (poorly) boring books and commentary that not even Mensa members could make sense of, thinking that using 20 words, when 10 would suffice, makes them sound smarter.
They've convinced themselves that their "scholarship" and pronouncements are original and that no one else has ever considered their angle. They enviously criticize popular styles of historical narrative (i.e. David McCullough) that far outsells anything they could ever produce. They become especially condescending and emotional when anyone (even credentialed historians) challenges their politically correct orthodoxy. That's when the ad hominen attacks begin - the last refuge of those who can't answer an argument.
And then they wonder why they have so little influence among the general public and those who study the conflict casually, as a hobby, or as "entertainment" - to use their word. They believe that their "profession" is on the same level as a brain surgeon's and only they have the "sophistication," training, and intelligence to research, read, study and come to conclusions and interpret for the great unwashed masses. "How dare anyone challenge us!" How laughable. (Many of these same elitists do not, themselves, possess advanced degrees in history, but they do subscribe to the orthodoxy. That's what's important.)
Their self absorption and arrogance is so unappealing, but they do so enjoy talking to themselves.
And thus concludes this week's rant.
"Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again."
"He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse."
The performance itself is one I would highly recommend to all those interested in Civil War history, especially if you are interested in the story of John Singleton Mosby as the story centers around his life before, during, and after the war.
Mixing music—and a little comedy—with narratives taken from actual letters and diaries, the actors did an excellent job in both entertaining and educating the audience about Mosby’s Confederacy, including the perspectives of African-Americans. If you are familiar with Stonewall Country at the Lime Kiln Theater in
My wife and I plan to return with our grandchildren at some point in the future.
18 July 2008
17 July 2008
"Dr. Walter E. Williams holds a B.A. in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from UCLA. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College and Doctor Honoris Causa en Ciencias Sociales from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, in Guatemala, where he is also Professor Honorario. Dr. Williams is the author of over 150 publications which have appeared in scholarly journals such as Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review, Georgia Law Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Social Science Quarterly, and Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy and popular publications such as Newsweek, Ideas on Liberty, National Review, Reader's Digest, Cato Journal, and Policy Review . . . Dr. Williams has received numerous fellowships and awards including: Foundation for Economic Education Adam Smith Award, Hoover Institution National Fellow, Ford Foundation Fellow, Valley Forge Freedoms Foundation George Washington Medal of Honor, Veterans of Foreign Wars U.S. News Media Award, Adam Smith Award, California State University Distinguished Alumnus Award, George Mason University Faculty Member of the Year, and Alpha Kappa Psi Award . . . Dr. Williams has participated in numerous debates, conferences and lectures in the United States and abroad. He has frequently given expert testimony before Congressional committees on public policy issues ranging from labor policy to taxation and spending."
Not quite your average, Confederate flag-waving, good ole' boy, huh?
However, Dr. Williams did write this recently on Townhall.com--one of the most popular, mainstream conservative sites on the internet:
"One of the unappreciated casualties of the War of 1861, erroneously called a Civil War, was its contribution to the erosion of constitutional guarantees of state sovereignty. It settled the issue of secession, making it possible for the federal government to increasingly run roughshod over Ninth and 10th Amendment guarantees. A civil war, by the way, is a struggle where two or more parties try to take over the central government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis no more wanted to take over Washington, D.C., than George Washington wanted to take over London. Both wars are more properly described as wars of independence."
(You can read the complete article here. The piece is also on Professor Williams's page at GMU here.)
Certainly not a politically correct view. Is Dr. Williams ignorant? Hardly. Uneducated? Hardly. Uninformed? Hardly. Unsophisticated? Hardly. (Well, maybe John Kerry would think he is.) Is he an apologist for the Confederacy and the Civil War's aftermath of prejudice and racism in the South, as well as the North? Hardly. Does he just write this type of commentary to placate those who hold power over him? Hardly. I believe that addresses all the excuses.
Dr. Williams is simply a man (born in Philadelphia by the way) who thinks for himself and couldn't care less what liberal academics think of his opinions. He's even earned their begrudging respect with his intellect and accomplishments. He refuses to follow their script and mold his views to fit their politically correct template. I've heard him debate various issues on different occasions (once in person) and he has quite a command of American history and economic theory. I've exchanged emails with him. Dr. Williams is a libertarian and I don't agree with all his views, but he is quite formidable and I know of no liberal intellectuals who could match him in a debate.
15 July 2008
I was not familiar with Bradley's work or credentials until I recently picked up a complimentary copy of a book that was sent to me by the Civil War Preservation Trust last year when I renewed my membership. The book was authored by Bradley and is titled, It Happened in the Civil War. It is a collection of stories written in a popular style. The book was published for the CWPT, bears their name, and notes that it is a "Battlefield Preservation Edition." I assume this edition was used for fund raising and membership drives at one time.
I write all of this in defense of Bradley. It seems that any time someone writes anything that fails to portray the South and Southerners in the worst possible light--and the North and Northerners in the best possible light--there is a coordinated effort to discredit and impugn them, even referring to such individuals as "dangerous" and/or not worth reading. I know this from personal experience and could cite dozens of other examples. Failing to regurgitate the establishment's official story line (even when there exists reams of evidence to the contrary) and follow the approved template will bring down the scorn of the academic elites. It's really getting kind of boring and oh so predictable.
Typically, these "critiques" are little more than politically motivated ad hominem attacks and the vast majority don't warrant a response. But I wanted to bring this particular one regarding Bradley up due to it being a recent issue and for the reasons stated above. Academically, Bradley certainly has the credentials to hold his own with other CW historians and the fact that the CWPT would put their stamp of approval on one of his books gives further proof of his "worthiness" as a professional historian. I also understand that Keith Poulter, editor of NS, will be including Dr. Bradley in some future discussion and articles. I look forward to his contributions.
Perhaps some of these criticisms were motivated by a bit of jealousy?
*In addition, Bradley has been a fellow with the National Endowment for the Humanities and was also a National Science Foundation Fellow. Bradley is the recipient of the Jefferson Davis Medal in Southern History and is a member of the Southern Historical Association, the American Society of Church History, the American Association of University Professors, the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, and the Society for Military History.
"In his 1970 book Historians' Fallacies, David Hackett Fischer identified Schlesinger-style history as a historical error called 'presentism.' You couldn't look for the origins of the present in the past without doing damage to the past, and you'd do it based on your politics. 'Presentism,' Fischer wrote, 'appears in the new-liberal narratives of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., where American history is the steady progress of pragmatic liberalism from Jefferson to Jackson to Franklin Roosevelt. Finally, the Kennedys become Top Family.' The apparent political bias of presentism irked Fischer. At the time, a variety of New Left historians had adopted the idea of a 'usable past' as a way of pointing to a more progressive future with more civil rights and less cold war.'
From the History News Network
14 July 2008
The board of directors for WHM met last week and was most enthusiastic about my idea and the rough draft that Michael put together for us. I hope to have the final edited version sent to Michael by week's end and then off to the printer the following week. I'll see if Michael will post a link to the pdf on his blog. (Michael . . . ?)
Our plan is to initially print 500-1000 of these booklets and give them away to tourists and visitors to the Plumb House and the WHM with sponsors paying the cost of printing. While on the subject of cost, are there any fellow Civil War authors out there interested in a business card size ad? The price will probably be around $50-$100. This is a great way to support local historic preservation and to reach folks that are specifically interested in the Civil War. These will be keepsake/souvenir booklets and hopefully be passed on to other readers.
(BTW, if you need graphics or layout work, I highly recommend Michael. He's done other projects for me and his product is always eye-catching and professional.)
12 July 2008
We’re hip, we’re cool and oh so arty;
We’re Democrats, the smarter party.
We’re sophisticated unlike you;
We understand merci beaucoup.
We’re urbane while you’re provincial;
We’re worldly-wise, so existential.
We’re cultured, complex, so refined;
We’ve left you ignorant serfs behind.
We’re witty authors of clever puns,
While you clods cling to God and guns.
Were you not so closed and clannish,
We’d have you peons speaking Spanish.
We say all this with knowing smirks;
We’re Democrats, you red-state jerks.
From The American Thinker
09 July 2008
Mr. Ken Elston, who is the Assistant Professor and Artistic Director at Gray Ghost, (as well as a professor at George Mason University), wrote that: “We are currently asking friends of the company and of the idea of supporting history through preservation and education to conduct short pre-show talks. We have talks concerning Mosby, faith and the war, and I am interested in having at least one focused on slavery and the old south.”
My “pre-show talk” will be short—15 to 20 minutes—and the focus will be on
08 July 2008
Still taking applications . . .
I am currently seeking someone to work with on a very unique history related documentary. The qualifications I am seeking are:
- Must possess the equipment to film and produce HD quality work suitable for broadcast.
- Must have a passion for history and truth.
- Must be willing to work as a “partner” and share in costs as well as profits.
Amateurs as well as professionals are invited to contact me but please, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY. (College and homeschooled students are also encouraged to apply.)
Send email to address in left sidebar or on my profile page.
07 July 2008
I am now back into the swing of things in a big way. I am currently working on:
- finishing the “organizing” of my office
- a brochure for a local museum
- finishing up a book while working on another one
- planning a new film documentary
- working on a couple of magazine/newspaper pieces
- doing some marketing things to promote my books and the Stonewall film
02 July 2008
(2 July 1776 is when the Continental Congress actually voted for independence.)