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Re: [civilwarwest] A Review of Smith's "Grant"

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  • 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 1 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>
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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