Grimsley judges his profession

Mark Grimsley has weighed in with his take on the conference agenda of the Society for Military History:

The problem is that military historians have themselves painted the field into a corner that is far too small and is intellectually indefensible.
If you consider Civil War history as a subset of this problematic and indefensible field, you can add to that judgement, "The corner has been getting smaller since the Centennial."
Prof. Grimsley attributes politics to this dynamic; I say it is the market that has rewarded blowhard bestselling nonfiction writers who trade in defective but final and absolute judgements peddled to readers profoundly innocent of history.

When Mark Grimsley says, "They have made little effort to reach out to the many historians who examine war and military affairs through the lens of ... counterhegemonic actors," I would, for my context, reclassify "counterhegemonic actors" as "the losers" - the Union men in the South, the peace men in the North, the fired generals, the Democrats, the deserters, the failed politicians, the starved-to-death widows and orphans, ad infinitum. I would add also that the floor painting started when the great names in Civil War publishing decided Civil War could be explained entirely in terms of military conflict and military conflict boiled down to land battles of annihilation.

"Counterhegemonic actors" of the ACW (let's call them "persons") have been finding their way into new offerings from small presses over the last five years, but the vastly ignorant center continues to hold in this little corner of the non-fiction publishing world, awarding its prizes and spending its royalties.

Markets change. This one will, too.