A Collection?

Is it just me or is Dimitri Rotov obsessed with James McPherson?  I find it incomprehensible as to why he pays so much attention to one historian.  I count five posts over the past two weeks, including this little gem which appeared today, that mention McPherson one way or another.  This most recent post is totally off the deep end.  Perhaps a collection for some kind of psychological counseling is appropriate.  :)

Enough already. 

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3 comments… add one

  • Will Keene Mar 6, 2007

    He also seems mysteriously obssessed with Rick Beard, whoever he is.

  • Brooks Simpson Mar 7, 2007

    I think the continual poking at Jim harms Dimitri and doesn’t bother Jim at all (I don’t even know if Jim is aware of Dimitri). Of course, this is why most professional historians avoid the internet discussion groups, etc., altogether, and why blogs are an alternative of choice. Once you are a target of someone’s obsession, it can get curious.

    The fact is that Jim’s major crime (in Dimitri’s eyes) is in repeating the same take on McClellan followed by Catton/T. Harry Williams/Kenneth Williams/Stephen Sears. Dimitri has his own view on this, and he’d be better off emphasizing his themes than attacking Jim, Gary, or others. I also think there’s a major misreading of the dynamics of the profession in some of what he says, and that’s not limited to Jim. It is interesting that Mark Grimsley and I have solid relationships with Jim and Gary, and yet we are positioned as challengers.

    Having offered this insight, let me suggest that we glean what is useful or provocative from Dimitri’s blog (for it contains useful information and an interesting perspective) and set aside the less readily understood.

  • Kevin Levin Mar 7, 2007

    Brooks, — First, I agree entirely that there is much of value at D’s blog. I’ve enjoyed his thoughts about the historiography of McClellan/Lincoln/Antietam, etc. The problem is that he takes this incredibly narrow historiographical interest and uses it as a basis to judge someone like McPherson’s entire career. I have no doubt that McPherson is not necessarily doing original work when he is writing about McClellan or discussing the influence of Catton and the rest of the boys. No doubt they have influenced the field.

    I get a little nuts when Dimitri positions himself as someone who is “on the inside.” This last post is absolutely bizarre as it assumes intention and a certain relationship between student and teacher. Of course McPherson has never heard of Dimitri nor should he. It’s not as if Dimitri has anything interesting to say about M’s scholarship. There is simply no indication that he’s read any of it.

    Perhaps “psychological counseling” was a bit too strong; perhaps a 12-step program.

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