So, it looks like I am reviewing John F. Schmutz’s new book on the Crater for H-Net. I should apologize for the cheap shot I took the other week when I suggested that he probably took up the project after watching Cold Mountain. It turns out he has some relatives who fought in the battle. Schmutz has written a thick book, and apparently he did a pretty good job of surveying the primary and secondary sources. It’s also nice to see some of my own published work on the Crater in recent bibliographies, including his. Still, I am a bit concerned after reading the preface. The author describes the political scene in the 1860s with the phrase, “political correctness run amok.” Hell, I don’t even know what the phrase means most of the time when it is used to describe current politics, let alone the political culture 140 years ago. Anyway, I will let you know what I think once I’ve crawled out of this thing.
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"In this stunning and well-researched book, Kevin Levin catches the new waves of the study of memory, black soldiers, and the darker underside of the Civil War as well as anyone has... Levin is both superb scholar and public historian, showing us a piece of the real war that does now get into the books, as well as into site interpretation."
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