Specimen # 1. He started his first job, at Target, a year ago. Knows the lyrics to songs by Widespread Panic, the Grateful Dead, Tool, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. Enjoys Dukes of Hazzard reruns on TV. Drinks milk out of the carton. Fave movies include Goodfellas and The Blues Brothers.
Specimen #2. He is a 19-year-old geology major, compelled to read McPherson's Ordeal By Fire, which he finds "amazing." He likes scif novels, TV and movies. He listens to the John Butler Trio, Allison Krauss, Fleetwood Mac, and Chicago. The Star Wars series contains his favorite movies.
Specimen #3. He is is a 28-year-old tech worker into astrology and cryptozoology.
Still room in the specimen case; if you find any, send them along.
Meanwhile, "The Dustbowl Blues" gives an extensive discussion of Ayers versus McPherson, noting that McPherson's output is part and parcel of the fallacious Whig theory of history (more on which here):
James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, Ayers argues, is an example of "these works of national affirmation," which "dramatize how things worked out for the best" and embody "an understandable and useful desire to see American history as a path, albeit strewn with challenges, to the realization of our best selves." Although he does not say so explicitly, Ayers implies that these works reflect a belief that victory in the Civil War endowed the North with a "treasury of virtue," as Robert Penn Warren put it. And while he understands that "nations need, and crave, such encouraging histories," Ayers leaves little doubt that he believes "other kinds of stories," such as his own, more accurately reflect the profound ambiguities of Civil War history.As the indigenous people of the actual Dust Bowl might themselves put it, "Damn, that is some fine blogging!"
(p.s. Dust Bowl's writer rises to McP's defense - more power to him.
p.p.s. Regrets at not having spent more time with the Whig Theory of History here: Civil War history as written today is often extremely Whiggish.)
Update, 9/23/05. A reader generously offered himself up for the specimen case: "40+ academic, lawyer with an interest in history and Ancient Near East Languages." "I do like the work of McPherson," he says.
Let me note that my specimens were random bloggers who liked McPherson, presented in the order I discovered them.