Understanding the Civil War

Thanks to Brooks Simpson for posting his remarks from the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians.  [Check out Rick Shenkman’s report from the meeting.]  Brooks briefly explores how we conceptualize the scope of Civil War military history and its connection to broader issues of strategy, politics, race along with questions of how wartime reconstruction shaped reunion.  See the three-part series here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. It also represents a nice example of how academic historians can use blogging to reach a broader audience

2 comments… add one
  • Phil LeDuc Mar 31, 2008

    Kevin –

    I’m in agreement with you on Brooks Simpson’s remarks re Civil War historiography. Not everyone agrees though. With regard to your subsequent post about your ranking as a Military History blog (congrats, by the way)and the related comments, I made a quick trip to Michael A’s blog (not by any means one that I usually visit) just to see if there was a reaction. There wasn’t, but instead I found a posting that I found incredible. In a sort of fit of historiographical Ludditeism, M.A., in his best Uriah Heep manner, pondered why meetings and conferences of academic historians were needed. All they seem to want to do, in his opinion, is question, alter, and diminish historical matters and memories that are best left alone. And what makes academic historians special? Anyone who could write a good term paper in school has what it takes to be a published historian.
    All in all, it was one of the most remarkable (in a non-positive way) pieces of work I’ve ever read.

  • Kevin Levin Apr 1, 2008

    Phil, — Fortunately, I tend to stay away from that site unless I need a good chuckle. There is a guy here in C-Ville who checks in multiple times each day, which I find somewhat absurd. I have not seen that particular post but I am sure it’s just another example of an incoherent rant on a a subject that he knows nothing about. You should ask when he last attended one of these conference.

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