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…?