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Re: A Review of Smith's "Grant"

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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