A Student of History

April 29, 2006

James McPherson and his book sales

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 12:35 am

I do not read many other blogs, as I am writing my dissertation, teaching and reading–to say nothing at all about my home & family responsibilities, The Church, my farm, etc.  However, one of the handful I do check in on from time to time is Civil War Bookshelf, by Dimitri Rotov.  A recent post of his (4/27/2006) is entitled: "Book sales in 2005 – Battle Cry of Freedom," which I found to be most interesting as it does give an interpretation of McPherson's career as well.  Here is a sample:

From a position of publishing success, McPherson was able to review new thinking in Civil War history from the pages of the very best journals and newspapers; he could recommend like-minded reviewers to the lesser organs. He could recommend editors in scholarly publishing houses; he could blurb books meeting his approval; he could help projects with agreeable views; and as he came to head the AHA, he could name and influence prize committees. He had influence; he used it; and he was not open to revision of the work of 1960-1965.

The bulk of the blog entry is not complimentary to JM, which of course makes for some lively reading! 

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