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 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2008 04:50 pm
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samhood
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Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: West Virginia USA
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Guys:

Thanks for your interest, curiosity, or whatever motivated you to read the Swordexposed essay.

My username is my real name, Sam Hood, and I am a relative of Gen Hood, although not a direct descendent. Like all of you I am a Civil War enthusiast and preservationist, and because of my collateral kinship to the Gen. Hood, I have always studied his life and career in more depth than other Civil War characters who interest me.  I am active in the John Bell Hood Historical Society.

Many years ago when I first read Sword's "Confederacy's Last Hurrah" I was shocked at many of his assertions, which were inconsistent with established family history. I was also astonished at how much of the historical record known to me was absent in Sword's book.  It became apparent that Sword was revealing to his readers only selected records, all of which were critical of Hood.  This seemed to me to be deplorable conduct from a scholastic standpoint. How can a non-fiction reader possibly be educated when the author filters out any and all evidence that does not support a predetermined conclusion?

Furthermore, I found it deplorable that Sword would attack the personal honor and integrity of a defenseless dead man. Misrepresentation and fact-filtering the historical record to paint Hood as a poorer general than he was is bad enough, but to make an all out assault on the man's personal character, tarnishing his eternal reputation, to me, simply crossed the line of human decency.

I discussed the matter with Sword personally in 2003, and he blamed the absence of all pro-Hood evidence in his book on his publisher, who he claimed culled 25% from his manuscript. Although I didn't believe him, I nodded and let it pass.  Then, four years later, Sword wrote essentially the same thing in his latest book, proving that his casting blame on his publisher for the earlier book was false.

My motivation for defending Gen. Hood and exposing Wiley Sword's scholastic and literary malfeasance, although originally inspired by kinship, is now driven more by a desire to warn the Civil War history community of his behavior. People who buy his books need to know what he is capable of doing to his subjects.

I frequently speak on Gen. Hood and the Tennessee Campaign at CWRT and SCV meetings, Living History events and other gatherings.  I have never accepted a penny in honorarium, or even travel expenses, which have taken me as far from my West Virginia home as California and Texas. And rather than charge the public for my research on Gen. Hood by publishing a book, I provide all information free on the internet. I encourage observers to compare my motives to Sword, who, as far as I know, does not give his books away for free.

Was John Bell Hood a successful army commander? Absolutely not. As Private Sam Watkins wrote, Gen. Hood, as an army commander, "was a failure in every particular."  But Watkins also wrote, "He was a noble, brave and good man, and we loved him for his virtues and goodness of heart...Every impulse of his nature was to do good, and to serve his country as best he could." To criticize Hood's decisions as commander of the Army of Tennessee is appropriate, but to attack the man's personal honor, as Sword does, is inappropriate in the extreme, as is Sword's propensity to intentionally mislead his readers, and charge them for the privilege.

Sword is a gifted writer for sure, which makes his conduct even more reprehensible. He should use his God-given talents to educate, not indoctrinate, and to inform, not misinform.

Last edited on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 08:27 pm by samhood

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