HNN has published a review of Forrest McDonald's new historiographic memoir, outlining his revision of the field of Revolutionary War history:
In writing of this period, McDonald clearly suggests that his work, along with that of Bray Hammond, Douglass Adair and several others, heralded the beginning of a solid new historiography...
Entering his own field in the 1950s, McDonald encountered a Progressive party ethos at work; a political movement had ideologized the way the underlying material could be organized into stories. His undo activity was to perform intense research of primary sources, testing the central ideas of of the dominant school. His research may have helped collapse that school.
Now, much later, the dead hand that has gripped Civil War history since about 1950 is being pried loose, one finger at a time, by careful and scholarly revisionists; this is why the McDonald story holds interest for us. And there is this good news: the best students of Civil War history today seem to me to be better historians than McDonald, giving even more hope for successful change.
Starting tomorrow and running the rest of this week, we'll look at the current book sales activity for ACW pop historians who follow the '50s/'60s American Heritage editorial line. I think you will be pleased at the picture these numbers paint.