Historians who can't argue (1 of 2)

Recently finished reading a very interesting paper on Gen. Wool and the NYC draft riots. The author, a professor no less, seems convinced that he has written a revisionist study that upgrades Wools' reputation. Have a look.

Whatever its merits, this paper does nothing to counter Wool's bad press. It can't. It's a piece of storytelling sent out to labor in the fields of ennumeration, description, and analysis.

The only way a piece of storytelling might possibly succeed in this is through mind-numbing density: by recounting as much minute-to-minute detail of Wool in the crisis as can be reconstructed from the record. You would still have to analyze the merit of each action on that timeline, but as a committed talespinner, you would at least have your cherished story structure as the backbone of the piece.

All this describes a full circle. You have Allan Nevins, annoyed with scholarship-driven history, starting a series of popularization projects; Nevins' creatures, including James McPherson, eventually infiltrate the academy, especially Civil War studies; the popularizers redefine scholarship as storytelling; and Lo! they argue their views from streamlined narratives that can prove nothing.

If any historian thinks a well-constructed narrative is the same as a well-constructed argument, pardon the astonished laughter. Honor your own points with a decent case.