View single post by Kyguy
 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 02:55 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Posts: 6

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There is a relatively new book out "John Bell Hood and the Fight for Civil War Memory" by Dr. Brian Miller. The book is an enigma; it is his published PhD dissertation and he has some great research and theories, but the book is horribly edited. Like most published dissertations it has way too much minutia. But he argues quite persuasively that the seeds of Hood's reputation were indeed planted by E A Pollard, Jube Early and other Lost Causers. The Southern Historical Society was originally based in New Orleans but was taken over and moved to Richmond, where the Virginians started deifying Lee and hammering New Orleaneans Hood and Longstreet.

But I think Hood's awful reputation is largely the fault of Sword, who basically took Connelly and McDonough's unsourced 1983 narrative "Five Tragic Hours" and expanded it to cover the entire Tennessee Campaign. As I said, I have researched primary sources extensively (do I need to get a life or what?) and many of Sword's claims are totally unfounded. He habitually mischaracterizes issues, such as Hood's relationship with Beauregard, which he claims was contentious but the records reveal all correspondence between them as routine in tone.

Sword also leaves out a mountain of historical testimony by Confederates and Federals that was sympathetic and supportive of Hood. When readers only get one side they draw incorrect inferences.

Sword is such an eloquent writer that his stuff is very persuasive. His book dominates the footnotes of virtually every book written since 1992 that covers Hood or the AOT or the Tennessee Campaign. It's astounding how fact-filtered and factually innacurate his book is but how widely it has influenced the common Civil War perception of Hood.

Hopefully a new campaign study of the Tennessee Campaign will be written by a historian who will tell the whole story. 

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