31 July 2014

Battle of Waynesboro Book Cover - First Look

This is the first mark up of the Battle of Waynesboro book cover (front). The manuscript edit is going back to the publisher tomorrow. The book should be available in September or October this year. Then I'm finished writing books for the foreseeable future, though I've got a couple ideas floating in my head. I also have a film project in mind as well. We'll see about that. I will, however, be writing some magazine and website articles, I'm also going to dive into some family/ancestry research and spend a lot of time relic hunting and researching and preserving finds. But you never know when some discovery or revelation will motivate one to write another book. I just hope it's no time soon.

The Information Age & BLogging

The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.  ~ John Lawton
True, but the Information Age has also revealed that "informed" opinion is often not worth respecting.

30 July 2014

Singing A Sense Of Place

Something many native Southerners instinctively understand and others struggle with.

Native sod.

Confederate Flags In Lee Chapel Prior To 1930?

I scanned this image from one of my favorite Lee (mini) biographies: General Robert E. Lee After Appomattox. It is a must read in order to understand Lee's legacy in regards to W&L. Mine is an original copy published in 1930. I'm not sure about the exact date of the photo, as there are no attributions. However, my copy was a re-issue of the 1922 edition. While it is possible this image was added with the 1930 edition, it is also possible it was in the 1922 edition. Perhaps the flags were placed there the same time the UDC (1930) placed the flags upstairs in Lee Chapel.Then again, given the time required to write and print and publish a book in 1930, they may well have been placed in the family crypt prior to the year the book was published - even going back to the original 1922 publication date . They were obviously placed after 1918 as Mary Custis Lee's crypt is pictured in the image. I'm sure there is still a copy of the 1922 edition somewhere, which would answer the question.

29 July 2014

Washington & Lee University's New Dress Code?

Update #2: Kevin Levin has edited the post referred to below and removed his apology. It originally read: "My apologies to the SCV and the Virginia Flaggers." I'm sure Levin thinks no one noticed. Wrong. Maybe he should apologize for his apology? This is "incredibly entertaining."

Update: Within minutes of this post going up, Kevin Levin posted an apology at Civil War Memory. That is commendable. An apology is the appropriate course of action and is, in my humble opinion, a more honorable course of action than simply deleting the post. Perhaps all this exposure to General Lee is having some positive affects.

Allegedly from W & L:
According to our Office of Public Safety, our officers reported four occasions when they interacted with individuals who were participating in the July 26 rally sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in downtown Lexington. . . . In each instance, the officers requested individuals not to carry Confederate flags or to wear attire with Confederate emblems on the campus. The individuals all complied with these requests.
Four occasions, not just one. Maybe there is more to this story than others are wishfully proclaiming?

26 July 2014

There Are Some Bright Spots In Academia

Yesterday, a new website for college students ranks Patrick Henry College as the number #19 college in the USA. A few days earlier we learned that two more PHC alums were invited to join the Law Review at Harvard Law School. This brings the total to five of the current members of the Harvard Law Review who are PHC alumni.
We prepare students not only to be admitted to the top graduate schools, they excel when they get there. (And it doesn't hurt a bit that the vast majority of our students came to us with the strategic advantage of having been homeschooled.)
~ Michael Farris, Founder HSLDA and Patrick Henry College

25 July 2014

Understanding The Perspectives Of Modern Historians

A broad brush, no doubt, but the overall point is not debatable, though I would welcome the attempt. This overall point can be found in a recent article titled, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer A Leftist written by Professor Danusha V. Goska:
We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed.
Is that not a laser sharp, to the point analysis of many (if not most) academic historians?

And . . .

Prof. X went on to say that he was wary of accepting a position on this lowly commuter campus, with its working-class student body. . . . Leftists freely label poor whites as "redneck," "white trash," "trailer trash," and "hillbilly." . . . President Bill Clinton's advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find."
Ah yes, can't have trailer-trash, non-academics and those who have ancestral connections to American history participating in the study and adding their perspective. Such is the attitude of the bigoted intellectual supremacists who look down on the rest of the great unwashed as little more than human debris which must be mocked, made fun of, disrespected and, if necessary, jailed - even for having a different perspective. Just shut-up and get in line you working-class hillbilly. But pass the Grey Poupon first.

But they do want you to buy their publications and attend their bore-you-out-of-your-freakin'-mind seminars and conferences where the greatest intellectual challenge will be to stay awake while all the "presenters" read from the same script. Oh, and they'll want you to sit in the back of the room. But don't protest, you'll be glad you did. It's easier to sleep back there.

And . . .

Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a "dead Jew on a stick" or a "zombie" and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented "flying spaghetti monster." You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law. You will discover a nihilist void, the kind of vacuum of meaning that nature abhors and that, all too often, history fills with the worst totalitarian nightmares, the rough beast that slouches toward Bethlehem.
Leftist historians in a nut (no pun intended) shell. Is there not a detectable, in-your-face sneering at America's (and Western civilization's) Judeo-Christian foundings prominent in many academic history blogs and writings i.e., "leftist internet environments"? You know there is. Just more bigotry and agenda-driven "scholarship."

And . . .

My students do know -- because they have been taught this -- that America is run by all-powerful racists who will never let them win. My students know -- because they have been drilled in this -- that the only way they can get ahead is to locate and cultivate those few white liberals who will pity them and scatter crumbs on their supplicant, bowed heads and into their outstretched palms. My students have learned to focus on the worst thing that ever happened to them, assume that it happened because America is unjust, and to recite that story, dirge-like, to whomever is in charge, from the welfare board to college professors, and to await receipt of largesse.

All this is why American traditions--and anything that symbolizes them--must be torn down and scrubbed from the landscape, our schools and from the national conversation. Patriotism is nothing but jingoism and if you honor your American heritage, you're guilty of

You can read the complete article here at the American Thinker.

And in a somewhat related topic:
"There is no other institution in our society that guarantees fairness and due process more than colleges and universities ..." When I read this line to my classes, they erupted in laughter. ~ Professor Mike Adams
And when reading academic history blogs about claims of fairness and objectivity, I often have the same reaction.

14 July 2014

Arcadia Acquires The History Press

Just got this announcement in an email though I knew it was in the works . . .

More here.

11 July 2014

Another Defeat For Civil War Memory

Posted by Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory. Of course, we know Mr. Levin's suggestion was rejected. Oh well, you can't win them all.

In regards to this whole matter, I'd like to say something about the "proper interpretation" of the flags that have been the subject of this manufactured controversey. I visit Lee Chapel several times a year. I often take friends or family with me and have been doing so, as an adult, for over 30 years. 

In all my times visiting the Shrine of the South and stopping at the Recumbent Lee and listening to the docent explain the history of the Chapel, along with the Valentine statue and the flags,  never once did a docent fail to explain the context and historical significance of the flags. Never once was there any glorification of the Confederacy or the flags or, for that matter Lee. Never once did a docent exhibit any speech or attitude other that than of factual representation of the history of that place. Respect for the Chapel was always evident, but that is proper given the caretaker status of those in charge of such a historically significant location and building.

Those suggesting that the flags need to be in the museum so that they can be "properly interpreted" have absolutely no idea what they're talking about and, most likely, have never even visited Lee Chapel. The flags were already being interpreted and were displayed in a historical context. If you want to present the argument that the flags were added "later" and don't belong, - so was the Recumbent Lee, as well as General Lee himself - first in an area now occupied by the museum, later in the family crypt. Those making the argument for the relocation of the flags for the purpose of "proper interpretation" are simply displaying their ignorance and serving up a distraction (intentionally or not) from what this whole issue is really about - illogical emotion, modern politics and political correctness.

As I stated previously, the protests over Confederate imagery will not stop with the flag removal. Those who have expressed sympathies with the removal of these items properly set and interpreted in context have backed themselves into a corner. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to extract themselves when the next set of demands are made - and there have already been hints that those demands are eventually coming.

08 July 2014

Did Washington & Lee Cave To Political Correctness?

Some will say yes, others will say this is a reasonable  response:
. . . we will remove these reproductions from their current location and will enter into an agreement with the American Civil War Museum, in Richmond, to receive on loan one or more of the original flags, now restored, for display on a rotating basis in the Lee Chapel Museum . . .
I find the response disappointing, but not surprising; although I must scratch my head over a handful of students forcing a university to remove the flags from what is arguably a historical context and proper setting. Prediction: The issue will not end here. I think I already know what the next target will likely be. Like the compromise over the Confederate flag above the South Carolina state house, this will not be enough in the minds of many. 

But along those lines, don't those who find the flags offensive find the *Recumbent Lee even more so, given Lee's obvious connection to the "offending" flags? After all, the Recumbent Lee shows Lee in a Confederate uniform. I see a glaring inconsistency here, which is why I don't think this is over.  

Update: While I disagree with the decision to remove the flags, I commend W & L President Ruscio for this part of his announcement:
In five years as president of Washington College (and in three as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy), Robert E. Lee displayed his estimable skill as an innovative and inspiring educator. I personally take pride in his significant accomplishments here and will not apologize for the crucial role he played in shaping this institution. Affection for and criticism of historical figures living in complicated times are not mutually exclusive positions, however, as the scholar Joseph Ellis concluded after his study of Thomas Jefferson. Ellis found it difficult to "steer an honorable course between evisceration and idolatry" when it came to Jefferson. As I have listened to and read comments about Lee these past few months, I have felt the same way. Lee was an imperfect individual living in imperfect times. Lee deserves, and his record can withstand, an honest appraisal by those who understand the complexities of history. His considerable contributions to this institution are part of that record.

Given today's political climate, along with the fact that some of the more vocal critics of Lee and others from our Nation's past DO NOT, "understand the complexities of history", that statement took some courage. 

Update #2:  Some Boston bloggers are deflecting some of the criticisms about this issue by trumpeting the fact that W & L will be displaying the original flags in the museum below Lee Chapel.  So? That could have been done without removing the other flags. Nice try. Note how these folks believe THEY are the ones to determine what is the "proper" way to exhibit these flags. Rather elitist, wouldn't you say?

*I don't believe the next target will be the Recumbent Lee, but for fear of giving someone some ideas, I'd rather not mention it - just in case I'm wrong.

05 July 2014

More From Wackydemia

University offers female students extra credit for not shaving their armpits.
Arizona State University. Your tax dollars at work. What can one add? Well, we can add this:
“The experience helped me better understand how pervasive gendered socialization is in our culture. Furthermore, by doing this kind of activist project I was no longer an armchair activist theorizing in the classroom.” she said.
Correct: "no longer an armchair activist." These students are now armpit activists. Excellent use of resources. I'm sure this "experience" will serve them well in the real world. Nothing like a university education to prepare one for the important things in life.

04 July 2014

Happy Independence Day

Lest we forget . . .

And Francis Scott Key helps us remember . . .

03 July 2014

Pew Research Indicates Liberals Are Less Likely To Be Proud Americans & Place Less Emphasis On "Honor & Duty"

And would that, by extension, apply to most members of academia? Now, before going off on me, notice that I've done two things:
  1. I've cited a respected polling and research organization.
  2. I've followed with a question about possible connections based on other polls, along with empirical evidence.

More here.

01 July 2014

History Teachers "Shocked & Dismayed"

Now that the 2013 – 2014 school year is in their rearview mirrors, thousands of AP US History teachers are focusing for the first time on the College Board’s new “redesigned” APUSH Framework. Many teachers are shocked and dismayed by what they are discovering. A number of teachers have written us letters expressing their concerns about the new Framework. . . . “Balance” has disappeared. Students will learn a great deal about American oppressors and exploiters but little about the dreamers, innovators, and heroes who built our country.
So what's to be so shocked about? This simply reflects much of academia's perspective, as I've been cataloging for several years now--and they've been denying. As Richard Weaver once wrote, "ideas have consequences." The "enemies of American Exceptionalism" offered their ideas, academia embraced them and now there are consequences. Story here. More "anecdotal" evidence I suppose?