Full Disclosure: I am a Digital History Adviser for The Civil War Monitor magazine.
You may remember that both publisher Ted Savas and author Stephen “Sam” Hood took issue with a couple of posts of mine [and here] that targeted the way the latter’s new study of John Bell Hood was being marketed. At the time Savas suggested we wait for the reviews to appear. They have appeared and one in particular written by historian Carole Emberton for The Civil War Monitor has unleashed a very nasty response from the two.
First, let me be clear that I have no problem with authors responding to reviews. Approached in the right way it might even lead to some meaningful dialogue. Unfortunately, Savas and Hood chose to take a different approach by questioning the integrity of Emberton herself.
From Ted Savas:
But I question whether this professor read this book, because she went out of her way to produce a hatchet job on a book that does not exist. One surely must wonder why she would do such a thing. And if she did read it, and then wrote with a straight face what I quoted above (the review is full of such nonsense), one must ask how she teaches history–or any subject. This book is replete with explanations addressing these very things–on the jacket, on the publisher’s website, in the Introduction, and scattered throughout. Was it too much to grasp?
From Stephen Hood:
To say that I am disappointed that a reviewer would review my book without reading it is an understatement. Like all authors, I invested hundreds, if not thousands of hours (and dollars) into writing my book, yet this woman couldn’t spend a day or two reading it before trashing it. I hope the CW Monitor book review editor gets involved.
Thankfully Matt Hulbert, who is the Civil War Monitor’s Book Review Editor has stepped in:
The Monitor is dedicated to publishing the honest opinions and perspectives, positive *or* negative, of the most qualified scholars in the field of Civil War history. As the Book Review Editor, I have the utmost confidence that Dr. Emberton performed her duties responsibly and simply urge readers to form *their own* opinions of the title in question before utilizing supposition to question her character or credentials.
There is absolutely no reason to challenge Emberton’s integrity in this way. To say that Savas and Hood lack class would be an understatement.