Thursday, August 09, 2012

More of the same


Here is another reminder of the enormous gulf between writing about history and making history.

Richard Slotkin's publisher asked me to use this blog as a platform to review the latest offering by that historian - The Long Road to Antietam

I declined.

I defer to my friend and fellow-ranger, Dan Vermilya who conveys my thinking entirely.
Read his review here.




Jeff said...

I've always thought of McClellan as the ultimate typecast actor - one who can never break out of the role he been assigned to play. It would be refreshing to see a history that sees McClellan for what he was - a young man with huge responsibilities thrust upon him, willing to try but afraid to fail - launching the audacious Peninsula Campaign but then conducting it with caution. It is time for a new look at this complex character.

Chris Evans said...

I try to understand McClellan. I really do. I think it is interesting to look at him from all angles. I just can't wrap myself around that he is one of the great, done wrong generals of American history.

McClellan sometimes reminds me of a football coach that says just give me one more chance. The fall 1862 campaign after Antietam is always set up by his defenders as he was really going to show Lee that time. I guess he could have done better than Burnside but then Burnside has a hardcore defender like William Marvel that says all of his (Burnside's) mistakes were someone else's fault, including McClellan. So everyone in the Civil War seems to have their defenders, even Braxton Bragg (well except for Ledlie).

I guess I really have conflicted feelings on the McClellan subject. For example, I like studying Douglas MacArthur but know that he was one of the greatest egomaniacs of American history and people loved and loathed him in equal measure. You know who strikes me with certain similarities. So I understand when people want to like McClellan despite his myriad flaws. He is a fascinating character after all and that is what makes history fun.


Devan said...

Got a spammy email from Amazon today, tells me that Slotkin's book is currently one of their best sellers on the American Civil War.

...looks like you and your colleagues may have their work cut out for them.