It's a wonderful thing to see a bad historian, heavily laden with prizes and reputation, take some hard kicks in public - even if it is 33 years after the fact.

I was revisiting my 1970 copy of David Hackett Fischer's Historians' Fallacies, noting the number of Civil War chroniclers cited for incompetence, when it ocurred to me that David Donald was getting quite a lot of attention.

Fischer cited him for the fallacy of statistical special pleading, the fallacy of statistical nonsense, the fallacy of the appeal to authority (in its "most crude and ugly form"), and threw in a little extra charge of ignoratii.

At one point, he borrows a passage from Lewis Carroll to mimic a nonsense passage from Donald. Go Fischer!

Given the armor of awards, publishing contracts, and prestige that Donald now enjoys, who can imagine such criticism being leveled nowadays? Even at a book as patently awful as Lincoln?

Which is what made last night's read such a treat.