North & South Magazine January 2011

5 01 2011

I picked up this current issue of North & South, to which I don’t subscribe and which I don’t typically purchase, for the editorial and one article.  Editor Keith Poulter has finally seen Harry Crocker’s The Politically Correct Guide to the Civil War and noticed the absurdity of the front cover, which I wrote about here nearly two years ago.  He expands on exactly why the blurb “The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave” is factually incorrect (he calls it a “Crocker you-know-what”).  Poulter’s piece is good stuff, though I disagree with him regarding the author’s and publisher’s intent.  I really don’t believe it was ideologically based.  I think it was more likely financially based – considering their target market, it was intended to sell books.  And I think on that basis it was not a bad idea.  I’m sure there were a lot of folks out there who read that and thought “this is for me.”  And if they thought that, they were right: it is for them.

Also in this issue is an article by George C. Rable, Gott Mit Uns, with the following description: In the aftermath of First Bull Run, each side offered religious explanations for the outcome.  I suspect this is an excerpt from Rable’s most recent book, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War.  And a long while back, I implied I would look into an essay of Rable’s in Civil War History in which he “uses First Bull Run as a backdrop for his discussion of the role of religion on the battlefield”, but I never got around to it.  Maybe I’ll read the two together and comment in the future.  Then again, maybe I won’t.

Here’s a really interesting tidbit from this most recent edition: in each issue there is a section called “Do You Know”, and there is one “teaser” question to which readers may submit answers to win a prize, typically a book.  There were no correct answers submitted for the prior issue’s question, “Did the Confederate government ban the export of cotton?”  The correct answer was “No.”  A “yes/no” question had no correct answers submitted?  What the…?





Dana Shoaf on the Confederate Soldier

2 01 2011

Here’s Civil War Times editor Dana Shoaf on the Confederate Soldier:

See here.





Great News – and Coming Up…

1 01 2011

The great news is that I received a communique from the Godfather of battle digitization, Brian Downey, and he plans to be active on his blog again this year (work commitments kept him away for most of 2010).  To show he is in earnest, he has a new post up at Behind Antietam on the Web.  Welcome back, Brian!

Things I’m working on for the next few posts:

  • an interview with a Gettysburg entrepreneur;
  • a preview/review of the January 10 American Experience program on U. S. Grant;
  • a preview of the new issue of America’s Civil War magazine;
  • a couple of items of interest from the new issue of North and South magazine;
  • an expansion on my article on Gettysburg’s Jacob Weikert farm in the current issue of Civil War Times magazine;
  • another way to follow Bull Runnings using an e-Reader (that is what they call those things, right?);
  • and something I’ve been putting off for a long while, a look at an essay that discusses expectations at the time that the great military leader of the Civil War would emerge from a place other than the military establishment.

As usual, other things are sure to come up, including more primary material on First Bull Run and various news items, so stay tuned!





Turnabout

22 12 2010

Last night I completed my answers to questions that will appear in interview format in the upcoming issue of a quarterly Civil War magazine.  I’ve conducted seventeen of these things for Bull Runnings, but this is the first time I’ve been on the receiving end.  It’s tough work, writing about yourself.  Tough enough that I put it off as long as I could.  But I think it came out fairly well, though you can never tell with anything that appears in print media – every editor is different.  For a humorous account involving Mark Twain and an editor with a heavy hand, see volume one of his autobiography, pages 164-180.  (Editors work under strict time and space limitations, and so sometimes the submitted manuscript gets what authors typically refer to as “hacked up” or “butchered”.  But good editors make good writers.  I try not to get too upset with changes, and only protest when the changes result in factual errors.  I encourage anyone in this situation to firmly – but tactfully – express your feelings.  The editor or publisher doesn’t want egg on his/her face any more than do you.)

Thanks to the magazine in question for their interest in the blog and me.  2011 is shaping up to be a busy year for me as a result of the sesquicentennial and the role of First Bull Run in the first year of it.  I suppose in 2012 I’ll retreat to obscurity, but it’ll be fun while it lasts.





Collateral Damage: Call for Subjects

18 12 2010

As I may or may not have mentioned earlier, my Collateral Damage column has been picked up for another year with Civil War Times magazine. I’m really happy that editor Dana Shoaf decided to run with an idea I pitched to him during a Facebook chat and that the folks at the magazine and the readers liked what I came up with enough to sign on for another six pieces.

Now, here’s where you guys come in.  I have a few sites in mind already, but I can always use suggestions – if you’re a regular reader you know that the theme of the column concerns dwellings and their occupants that were impacted by the war, either as a result of their location on or proximity to a battlefield or due to their use during some other event associated with the war.  I prefer that the structure is still standing, but that’s not a prerequisite.  The dwelling or its site may be one that is owned by the NPS or other federal, state or local government agency, or it can be privately owned.  It’s a necessity though that documentation (on the history of the site and the occupants, before, during, and after the event) be available in some central repository, preferably at or near the site.  There’s a short turnaround time for these articles so I need to blitz the sources – make lots of copies – in one visit, paid either by myself or a surrogate.  And speaking of surrogates, I may need help in that area as well.  I can’t pay you, but I can thank you!

So, if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments section.  Thanks!





Civil War Times February 2011

15 12 2010

Inside this issue:

Letters

  • Ethan Rafuse and Ron Baumgarten each wrote in to comment on the Bonekemper McClellan article from the December 2010 issue.  For an expansion on Rafuse’s letter, see here.
  • Kevin Levin is criticized for “excusing” the execution of Colored Troops after the Crater – how bizarre is that?

Blue & Gray

  • Gary Gallagher challenges modern Civil War “PCness” and considers if perhaps the war was actually won in the east.

Field Guide

  • Our nation’s capital’s Civil War monuments

Collateral Damage (by your host)

  • The Jacob Weikert farm behind Little Round Top on the battlefield of Gettysburg.  I’ll have more on this later.

Interview

  • Garry Adelman and the Center for Civil War Photography

Features

  • Judging George Custer – Stephen Budiansky
  • Lee to the Rear - R. K. Krick
  • Hell on Water (slave ships) – Ron Soodalter
  • Lee’s Armored Car (rail mounted guns) – David Schneider
  • Super Spy from Wales (Union agent Pryce Lewis) – Gavin Mortimer

Reviews

  • Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity and Identity in America’s Bloodiest Conflict - Susannah Ural (ed.)
  • The 111th New York Volunteer Infantry: A Civil War History - Martin Husk
  • American Civil War Guerilla Tactics - Sean McLachlan
  • The Lincoln Assassination: Crime & Punishment, Myth & Memory - Holzer, Symonds, Williams (eds.)
  • At the Precipice: Americans North and South During the Secession Crisis - Shearer Davis Bowman
  • Recollections of War Times: By an Old Veteran While Under Stonewall Jackson and Lieutenant General James Longstreet - by William McClendon
  • The Grand Design: Strategy and the U. S. Civil War – by Donald Stoker (see his interview here)




New Journal: Gettysburg College

14 12 2010

The first issue of the Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era, a joint publication of The Civil War Institute and the school’s Civil War Era Studies Department, is available free in pdf format here.  The journal is unique in that it features studies by undergraduates.  Three of the four contributors are currently pursuing their bachelor’s degrees, while the fourth graduated in 2008 and is now working on her master’s.  None attends or attended Gettysburg College, though one was a participant in the Gettysburg Semester in 2009.








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