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Another Review of "Triumph Over Adversity"

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  • Dave Smith
    Not so much that I m intersted in having dueling reviews, but I believe many of you would be interested in this. Dave -- Brooks D. Simpson. Ulysses S. Grant.
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 1, 2001
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      Not so much that I'm intersted in having "dueling reviews," but I
      believe many of you would be interested in this.

      Dave

      --

      Brooks D. Simpson. Ulysses S. Grant. Triumph Over Adversity, 1822-
      1865. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, Pp. xix, 533. $35.00)

      Brooks D. Simpson's splendid new biography of Ulysses S. Grant
      recounts the remarkable story of the thirty-nine-year-old clerk who
      rose swiftly through the ranks of the Northern army during the Civil
      War to command the entire Union military effort, win the war, and
      secure the peace. In this first volume of two, Simpson spends little
      time on Grant's early life. The bulk of the book offers a
      meticulously researched account of his military career in the Civil
      War. Simpson's Grant is a complex, intelligent, and ultimately
      masterful leader of men and of armies. Although Simpson does not shy
      from discussions of miscues and mistakes, in the end his evaluation
      of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is positive, even glowing. Thus, his
      biography stands in marked contrast to Wiffiam S. McFeely's negative
      assessment of Grant's character and his wartime record. Scholars and
      students of the Civil War seeking provocative psycho- logical
      insights into Grant and his era will keep McFeely's superb one-volume
      biography on their bookshelf, while those seeking illumination on the
      military and political aspects of Grant's generalship will consult
      Simpson as their reference.

      The "triumph over adversity" began early for the eldest child of
      Jesse and Hannah Simpson Grant. Born in 1822 and raised on the rough-
      hewn Ohio frontier, the young Hiram Ulysses (his first and middle
      names were later changed to Ulysses Simpson) struggled to live up to
      his ambitious father's high expectations. Hiram was sensitive, moody,
      and well educated for the time and place. He was temperamentally
      unfit for the family tanning business and Jesse's decision to
      send "Lyss" to West Point was a wise one. During his four years at
      the U.S. Military Academy (1839-43) Grant was a middling student, but
      a superb horseman. He clearly enjoyed and benefited from the military
      regimen, belying his later statement, "A military life had no charms
      for me." A few years after graduation from West Point, Lieutenant
      Grant fought in the MexicanAmerican War, where he demonstrated great
      courage and tenacity, winning promotion and kudos. As Simpson points
      out, the man had a talent for fighting, and more than that, an
      instinctive knowledge of the strategy and tactics of warfare gained
      from experience, not textbooks.

      Despite his good record in the war, and a happy marriage to the
      sister of his West Point classmate, Grant did not fare well in the
      peacetime army of the late 1840s and early i85os. Assigned to remote
      outposts, Grant took to drinking, and resigned from the army under a
      cloud of suspicion. The civilian world proved just as difficult. Then
      as now, there are few character flaws more disturbing to Americans
      than a penchant for failure, and Grant faded spectacularly: as a
      soldier, a provider, a farmer, and a businessman. These painful
      incidents are served up by Simpson to make an important point: that
      Grant's failures did not destroy him, but rather made him even more
      determined to succeed. "Grant's generalship was shaped as much by
      character as it was by intellect' (462). Then too, there were the
      successes. He was a loving husband to Julia Dent Grant, and an
      unusually attentive and affectionate father to their four children.
      Grant's precarious financial straits finally drove him into his
      father's business world. When the guns of Ft. Sumter fired, Grant was
      working in Jesse's leather goods store in Galena, Illinois. Not for
      long.

      The chapters that cover Grant's subsequent career in the war show
      Simpson's mastery of both military and political sources as well as
      his talent for fine writing. Simpson avoids the 'great battles and
      leaders" syndrome by linking the story of Grant and the western
      theater with a close and careful contextual analysis of why he
      emerged by 1864 as the leading general of the Northern armies.
      Lincoln exulted: "Grant is the first general I have had!" We learn
      why Lincoln's estimation of Grant was so high as Simpson describes
      Grant's hard-won victories at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and
      Chattanooga. The last two battles were masterpieces of strategy that
      placed Grant among the top generals in history. Simpson argues that
      Grant developed the political skills that complimented and
      strengthened his martial abilities. He was an enthusiastic supporter
      of Lincoln's policies, especially the use of black soldiers, and
      emphatically denied he had any interest in running for office. These
      skills were necessary because as Grant's star rose higher he was
      increasingly subject to attacks on his character and generalship.
      Charges of drinking, incompetence, and a brutal indifference to death
      and suffering dogged him throughout his career, and affected his
      reputation after the war as well. Simpson separates rumors from fact
      and ably defends Grant against those who unfairly denigrated his
      reputation. He also criticizes Grant's mistakes, particularly at
      Shiloh and later at the battle of the Crater in Petersburg. Simpson
      presents what surely must be the definitive last word on Grant's
      drinking: yes, he had a binge or two during the war. Simpson's
      exhaustive evidence dearly shows, however, that Grant rarely imbibed
      and never when it counted. This was due in part to the watchful eye
      of his aide John Rawlins and to Julia's beneficent influence.

      In January i864, Ulysses Simpson Grant accepted command of all the
      Union armies. After three agonizing years, Lincoln had found his
      general. Grant came up with the winning plan that drew Lincoln's warm
      support and buoyed the hopes of the Northern nation for a quick
      victory. It was not to be so. The battles of the Over- land Campaign,
      where Grant and Robert E. Lee's armies fought to bloody stalemate in
      the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor gave rise to the
      epithet of 'butcher' for the general-in-chief whose main strategy
      seemed to be a war of attrition. Simpson refutes this assessment of
      Grant and depicts in unsparing detail the major challenges of the
      last year of the war, including the difficulty of directing the
      troubled Army of the Potomac against the audacious Lee's Army of
      Northern Virginia. Simpson writes: "Batting the election year
      calendar, handcuffed by the political considerations of his superior,
      and facing Robert E. Lee in a titanic confrontation, he managed to
      nun* Lee, overcome the constraints of politics, and put into
      operation a plan that delivered military victories in time to secure
      Abraham Lincoln's reelection" (455). On April 9, 1865, at Appomattox
      Courthouse, Virginia, Grant dictated the terms upon which the war
      ended, and upon which the nation could begin the process of
      reconciliation.

      Every historian who writes about Ulysses S. Grant must try to unravel
      the puzzle of how and why this small, unprepossessing man became the
      hero of the Union. As befits a scholar who has written widely and
      wisely about Grant, the Civil War, and American political culture,
      Simpson has a persuasive and compelling answer. Grant was foremost a
      man of character and upright morality- Like his comrade in arms,
      William T. Sherman, Grant had tasted the bitter dregs of failure and
      adversity. Grant's early struggles and his determination to overcome
      them presaged the military commander who would not stop fighting
      until the war was won. Simpson also credits Grant with a sharp
      intelligence that served him well in both plotting strategy and in
      dealing with the citizen-soldiers of the Civil War. He made many
      mistakes, but unlike other notable generals, learned from them. He
      had a deep and abiding faith in democracy and democratic
      institutions. "Success, Fate, and Great- ness" had carried U. S.
      Grant to 1866, when, after Lincoln's tragic death, he was the most
      powerful man in the country. For an assessment of what he would do
      with that power in the aftermath of the war, and in his two terms as
      president, we await volume two. Surely, Grant the politician will not
      emerge in that volume as favor- ably as he did in this one. For now,
      however, "He had saved the Union. That was enough" (454).

      JOAN WAUGH
      University of California, Los Angeles

      Civil War History
      March 2001
    • josepharose@yahoo.com
      Mr. Smith: Professor Waugh also wrote a remarkably similar review of Grant, by Jean Edward Smith. In the two reviews, there is little or no criticism of the
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 1, 2001
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        Mr. Smith:

        Professor Waugh also wrote a remarkably similar review of "Grant," by
        Jean Edward Smith. In the two reviews, there is little or no
        criticism of the authors' work and hardly any more of Grant as either
        a general or president. It was copied and pasted from the website at:
        http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews/bk_cwtijun01lead.htm

        Joseph Rose


        Grant, by Jean Edward Smith, Simon and Schuster, 781 pages, $35.

        Jean Edward Smith's Grant is a biographical companion piece to James
        McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. Like McPherson's book, Smith's one-
        volume narrative is eminently readable and densely packed with
        knowledge gathered from a lifetime of studying American history.
        Smith's expertise in both legal and military affairs adds a
        fascinating and important dimension to the context of Grant's life
        and times. His book will appeal to the wide public whose appetite for
        biographies of the great generals of the Civil War is insatiable.
        Today, that is especially true for Ulysses S. Grant, the Union
        general who won the war in 1865 and who was twice elected president
        of the United States, in 1868 and again in 1876.

        A lifelong fascination with the great commander led Smith, a
        distinguished historian at Marshall University in Huntington, West
        Virginia, to this current book, which offers a highly favorable
        reappraisal of Grant's political reputation. Taking his cue from
        David Donald's famous observation that the 18th president is the
        most "underrated American in history," Smith tackles the question
        that has bedeviled and fascinated a long line of biographers and
        historians: how and why did the military leader who was strong,
        fearless, and decisive in war fail to show those same qualities as a
        peacetime leader?

        Love him or hate him, few men in American history lived such a
        tumultuous life as Ulysses S. Grant. Smith straightforwardly recounts
        Grant's slow and uneven path to prominence and power, emphasizing his
        roughhewn Ohio boyhood, his West Point years, and his first battle
        experience in the Mexican War of 1846-1848. Captain Grant's
        resignation from the Regular Army in 1854 led to depression and
        failure. When the war broke out in 1861, the 39-year-old Grant was a
        humble clerk earning $50 a month in his father's Galena, Illinois,
        leather-goods store. Grant's swift rise from clerk to commander of
        the Union armies is an incredible tale, and few have told it better
        than Jean Smith has. Smith's Grant resembles the Grant of Bruce
        Catton, John Keegan, and James McPherson. Grant is portrayed as a man
        of character and moral courage, of intelligent action and resolute
        demeanor. These qualities, embedded in his frontier upbringing,
        nurtured in his early army career, and tested in years of failure,
        enabled Grant to triumph over the many obstacles that inevitably came
        his way in the years 1861-1865. Smith brilliantly unfolds the
        military and political saga of the western theater as Grant achieved
        a series of stunning victories in Tennessee at Forts Henry and
        Donelson and at Shiloh; in Mississippi at Vicksburg; and again in
        Tennessee at Chattanooga in November 1863. Shortly thereafter,
        President Abraham Lincoln appointed Grant commander of all the Union
        armies, which resulted in Northern victory by 1865.

        Smith's Grant is not a politically naïve fumbler who allowed his
        cronies to lead him around by the nose. Instead, Smith portrays Grant
        as sensitive to political concerns and passionately committed to the
        goals of the war after 1863: reunion and emancipation. He was also a
        man of ambition who knew how to advance himself by cultivating
        friends in the right places. Grant's most ardent supporter was
        ultimately the president himself. "The partnership between Lincoln
        and Grant," Smith asserts, "would prove to be the key to Union
        success. It provided the North with a common outlook on the conduct
        of the war and a unity of command the South could only envy." Their
        close and trusting bond enabled Grant to write the generous peace
        terms at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, and to carry on Lincoln's
        vision of a reunited nation after the presidential assassination only
        days later. Grant's role as a military and political leader in the
        tense years after Lincoln's death demonstrated his growing ability to
        tread successfully the treacherous waters of early Reconstruction
        political warfare.

        The general's acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination in
        1868 and his subsequent victory brought to the office the right man
        at the right time. No one else in the country had Grant's
        unquestioned status as a symbol of unity and reconciliation. A golden
        opportunity for enlightened leadership seemed to await Grant, who
        enjoyed immense popularity with a majority of voters. Many have
        contended that he went on to squander his gifts and that he richly
        deserved his reputation as one of the worst presidents in history.
        Smith disagrees and presents a compelling case for an upward
        reconsideration of Grant's presidential career. Smith argues that
        President Grant, despite undeniable lapses in judgment, earnestly
        endeavored to implement enlightened and progressive programs and, in
        fact, enjoyed some success. As evidence of Grant's committed
        presidential leadership, Smith cites Grant's Indian Peace Policy and
        his attempts to enforce civil rights laws that would ensure safety
        and equality for Southern blacks.

        That many of Grant's efforts proved to be dismal failures speaks not
        so much to his incompetence, or to the scandals and corruption that
        engulfed his second term, as it does to the incredibly difficult
        challenges of governing the country at that time. Throughout his
        presidency, Grant remained steadfast in his belief that the goals of
        the war should be preserved even as the country's enthusiasm for
        reconstruction of the South in the North's image faded away by the
        1870s. Grant's final task as president harked back to his first, and
        perhaps most important, achievement: to ensure a stable transition,
        this time in the disputed election of 1876. He succeeded, and the
        country reconciled for good. Smith suggests few if any of the
        professional politicians could have done better.

        This review cannot do justice to the depth and breadth of Smith's
        tour de force, but suffice it to say that while many of his
        assertions will be controversial, they are worthy of serious debate
        and discussion. Meanwhile, it is good to know that the tradition of
        writing history that is both entertaining and erudite is alive and
        flourishing at the hand of Jean Edward Smith.

        Joan Waugh
        University of California at Los Angeles
      • thecoys@kingcon.com
        Joseph, Your statement, In the two reviews, there is little or no criticism of the authors work and hardly any more of Grant as either a general or
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 1, 2001
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          Joseph,
          Your statement, "In the two reviews, there is little or no criticism of
          the authors' work and hardly any more of Grant as either a general or
          president", indicate that you have a bias. You should try to get over that
          bias to get a true understanding of history. No matter what book you read on
          Grant you are going to go into it with a negative view.

          IMHO
          Kevin S. Coy

          josepharose@... wrote:

          > Mr. Smith:
          >
          > Professor Waugh also wrote a remarkably similar review of "Grant," by
          > Jean Edward Smith. In the two reviews, there is little or no
          > criticism of the authors' work and hardly any more of Grant as either
          > a general or president. It was copied and pasted from the website at:
          > http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews/bk_cwtijun01lead.htm
          >
          > Joseph Rose

          <snip>
        • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
          In a message dated 10/1/01 5:19:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time, josepharose@yahoo.com writes:
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 1, 2001
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            In a message dated 10/1/01 5:19:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
            josepharose@... writes:

            << In the two reviews, there is little or no
            criticism of the authors' work and hardly any more of Grant as either
            a general or president. >>
            No need for additional criticism Joe. You supply enough for ten critics.
          • brooksdsimpson@yahoo.com
            ... by ... either ... Well, a book review is a review of the book, not of the subject. It s also not supposed to be an exercise in character assassination,
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 1, 2001
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              --- In civilwarwest@y..., josepharose@y... wrote:
              > Mr. Smith:
              >
              > Professor Waugh also wrote a remarkably similar review of "Grant,"
              by
              > Jean Edward Smith. In the two reviews, there is little or no
              > criticism of the authors' work and hardly any more of Grant as
              either
              > a general or president.

              Well, a book review is a review of the book, not of the subject.
              It's also not supposed to be an exercise in character assassination,
              particularly when that is achieved through distortion and
              misrepresentation.
            • Dave Smith
              ... Joseph, I suppose one could come to the conclusion that Professor Waugh liked both books. It s been known to happen . . . But yes, I ve seen that review
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                --- In civilwarwest@y..., josepharose@y... wrote:
                > Mr. Smith:
                >
                > Professor Waugh also wrote a remarkably similar review of "Grant,"
                > by Jean Edward Smith. In the two reviews, there is little or no
                > criticism of the authors' work and hardly any more of Grant as
                > either a general or president. It was copied and pasted from the
                > website at:
                > http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews/bk_cwtijun01lead.htm
                >
                > Joseph Rose

                Joseph,

                I suppose one could come to the conclusion that Professor Waugh liked
                both books. It's been known to happen . . .

                But yes, I've seen that review before. It's been posted here as
                well. I checked before posting mine, in order to make sure I didn't
                duplicate things.

                But I have a question. Is a lack of criticsm of the author's work a
                requirement of writing a book review? A "critical review," in which
                the reviewer looks at a grocery list of things that make up a book
                biography (in this case), is required, but I don't believe there's
                anything that requires the review to be critical in nature.

                Dave

                Dave Smith
                Villa Hills, KY
              • brooksdsimpson@yahoo.com
                ... liked ... didn t ... a ... Dave brings up some interesting points. One might, I suppose, chide Joan Waugh for preparing a review that did not explicitly
                Message 7 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                  > I suppose one could come to the conclusion that Professor Waugh
                  liked
                  > both books. It's been known to happen . . .
                  >
                  > But yes, I've seen that review before. It's been posted here as
                  > well. I checked before posting mine, in order to make sure I
                  didn't
                  > duplicate things.
                  >
                  > But I have a question. Is a lack of criticsm of the author's work
                  a
                  > requirement of writing a book review? A "critical review," in which
                  > the reviewer looks at a grocery list of things that make up a book
                  > biography (in this case), is required, but I don't believe there's
                  > anything that requires the review to be critical in nature.

                  Dave brings up some interesting points.

                  One might, I suppose, chide Joan Waugh for preparing a review that
                  did not explicitly criticize the book under review. A more careful
                  reader would, I believe, discern that in her review of my book she
                  still thinks McFeely's analysis of Grant's character and personality
                  valuable (and thus not replaced), while she sees the need for a
                  better military biography. Perret's book is conspicious by its non-
                  mention. So I think you have to read between the lines.

                  But one would also have to chide David Long for a review which is
                  unstintingly critical and personally abusive. I know from colleagues
                  that Long's review has not helped his reputation and it has not hurt
                  mine. In Long's case, it's easy to prove animus and even easier to
                  point out his mishandling of Cold Harbor (Long insists that there was
                  a effort to cover up the losses, a contention dismissed by other
                  scholars who are better qualified to judge, including James McPherson
                  and Gordon Rhea). Mr. Rose has come under similar criticism for his
                  amazon.com review. I know of two people who have brought ip the Long
                  review in internet groups, and it's safe to say that each poster had
                  a clearly-defined agenda (Dave knows whereof I speak).

                  But the whole discussion reveals how one uses evidence. If one
                  wanted to measure the reception accorded my book, one would have to
                  bring out all the reviews, not merely those that support one's own
                  particular point of view. Nor do authors necessarily despise all
                  critical reviews or the people who write them. I'm aware of two
                  clear cases of personal animus from reviewers, and that's the nature
                  of the beast. On the other hand, I'd be worried if James McPherson,
                  Gordon Rhea, or Ed Bearss assailed the book. Suffice it to say I'm
                  not worried.

                  As for Mr. Rose, you can catch the road show on the soc. civil war
                  group.
                • Terry Johnston
                  As a lurker, I m afraid to say I ve only caught part of this thread. I wonder if Long s review has been posted on the web. If so, could someone please
                  Message 8 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                    As a lurker, I'm afraid to say I've only caught part of this thread.  I wonder if Long's review has been posted on the web.  If so, could someone please provide me with a link to it?  Many thanks.

                    Terry Johnston

                    brooksdsimpson@... wrote:

                     
                    But one would also have to chide David Long for a review which is
                    unstintingly critical and personally abusive.  I know from colleagues
                    that Long's review has not helped his reputation and it has not hurt
                    mine.  In Long's case, it's easy to prove animus and even easier to
                    point out his mishandling of Cold Harbor (Long insists that there was
                    a effort to cover up the losses, a contention dismissed by other
                    scholars who are better qualified to judge, including James McPherson
                    and Gordon Rhea).  Mr. Rose has come under similar criticism for his
                    amazon.com review.  I know of two people who have brought ip the Long
                    review in internet groups, and it's safe to say that each poster had
                    a clearly-defined agenda (Dave knows whereof I speak).
                     

                  • Dave Smith
                    ... See The book review, as copied and pasted from the website at http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews/bk_cwtimay00lead.htm follows: Also see message 8151 in
                    Message 9 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                      --- In civilwarwest@y..., Terry Johnston <tajjr@e...> wrote:
                      > As a lurker, I'm afraid to say I've only caught part of this
                      > thread. I wonder if Long's review has been posted on the web. If
                      > so, could someone please provide me with a link to it? Many thanks.
                      >

                      See

                      The book review, as copied and pasted from the website at
                      http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews/bk_cwtimay00lead.htm follows:

                      Also see message 8151 in this forum.

                      Dave
                    • Terry Johnston
                      Appreciate it. Now, for my two cents. This does not strike me as a good book review. It s not very well argued, for one. And though Long certainly is under
                      Message 10 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                        Appreciate it. Now, for my two cents. This does not strike me as a good
                        book review. It's not very well argued, for one. And though Long certainly
                        is under no obligation to love (or even like) the book, or to refrain from
                        revealing his true feelings about it, his negativity does seem excessive.
                        The review, in short, lacks a sense of scholarly decorum. It also lacks,
                        save for the penultimate paragraph, quotations (of significant length) from
                        the book in question. You'd think that if Long wanted to hang Simpson out
                        to dry for his conclusions, he's use Simpson's own words to do so.

                        Terry Johnston






                        Dave Smith wrote:

                        > --- In civilwarwest@y..., Terry Johnston <tajjr@e...> wrote:
                        > > As a lurker, I'm afraid to say I've only caught part of this
                        > > thread. I wonder if Long's review has been posted on the web. If
                        > > so, could someone please provide me with a link to it? Many thanks.
                        > >
                        >
                        > See
                        >
                        > The book review, as copied and pasted from the website at
                        > http://www.thehistorynet.com/reviews/bk_cwtimay00lead.htm follows:
                        >
                        > Also see message 8151 in this forum.
                        >
                        > Dave
                      • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
                        In a message dated 10/2/01 3:37:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time, tajjr@eclipsetel.com writes:
                        Message 11 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                          In a message dated 10/2/01 3:37:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                          tajjr@... writes:

                          << Appreciate it. Now, for my two cents. This does not strike me as a good
                          book review. It's not very well argued, for one. And though Long certainly
                          is under no obligation to love (or even like) the book, or to refrain from
                          revealing his true feelings about it, his negativity does seem excessive.
                          The review, in short, lacks a sense of scholarly decorum. It also lacks,
                          save for the penultimate paragraph, quotations (of significant length) from
                          the book in question. You'd think that if Long wanted to hang Simpson out
                          to dry for his conclusions, he's use Simpson's own words to do so.

                          Terry Johnston >>
                          Please Terry and all the rest:
                          This forum was to discuss actions and individuals that fought in the Western
                          Theater (and perhaps the Trans-Missip included) not book reviews, book
                          criticisms even though the books may pertain to individuals or battles within
                          these theaters. For those that do persist on having book reviews or
                          criticisms of an author, may I suggest that you open up a discussion room
                          specifically for that purpose, rather than using this forum.

                          Respectfully,

                          Wayne C. Bengston
                        • Jfepperson@aol.com
                          In a message dated 10/2/2001 4:05:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Western ... While I sympathize with the frustration over certain squabbles, I have to
                          Message 12 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                            In a message dated 10/2/2001 4:05:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                            FLYNSWEDE@... writes:

                            > This forum was to discuss actions and individuals that fought in the
                            Western
                            > Theater (and perhaps the Trans-Missip included) not book reviews, book
                            > criticisms even though the books may pertain to individuals or battles
                            > within
                            > these theaters. For those that do persist on having book reviews or
                            > criticisms of an author, may I suggest that you open up a discussion room
                            > specifically for that purpose, rather than using this forum.

                            While I sympathize with the frustration over certain squabbles, I have
                            to disagree in a major way with the assertions quoted above. If
                            discussions of books which deal with the western theatre of the Civil
                            War are deemed off-topic, then our ability to discuss scholarship is
                            severely (perhaps fatally) limited.

                            JFE


                            James F. Epperson
                            http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html
                            http://members.aol.com/siege1864
                          • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
                            In a message dated 10/2/01 6:33:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Jfepperson@aol.com writes:
                            Message 13 of 13 , Oct 2, 2001
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                              In a message dated 10/2/01 6:33:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                              Jfepperson@... writes:

                              << If
                              discussions of books which deal with the western theatre of the Civil
                              War are deemed off-topic, then our ability to discuss scholarship is
                              severely (perhaps fatally) limited. >>

                              Jeff,
                              I believed that you misconstrued my post. Most certainly books on the
                              Western theater should be discussed, but in the content of what happened,
                              what was the battle strategy, were did the battle go wrong, etc.; what the
                              battle commanders could have done or should have done rather than a given
                              author. One could say that he/she enjoyed the book or did not enjoy the
                              book, but to go into severe negative criticism on an author to a point where
                              it becomes character assassination, this I believe has no place in this forum.
                              Use the book to talk about battle events that took place so that all can
                              learn. One can never learn from negative criticism, only from positive
                              criticism; any instruction in leadership development will ascertain to that.

                              Basically, if one desires to bash a book or its author; bash the reviewer or
                              the reviews as a result of one's on personal bias, then let him/her open up
                              their own room and do the bashing there, rather than within this forum.

                              Hopefully this will clarify the true intent of my first post.

                              Wayne
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