... I think that success in life is largely a matter of luck. It has little correlation with merit, and in all fields of life there have always been many people of great merit who did not succeed. [...] The theory that art advances with the great artists in the van is not just a myth; it has led to the formation of cliques and pressure groups which, with their propaganda machines, almost resemble a political party or a church faction. - Karl Popper, Unended QuestSubstitute history/historians for art/artists and you will get another take on this quote.
It is 2006 and the day of the great Civil War historian has passed. "Great" in our field has only ever meant "great sales" and as the great sales fade, the claims of charlatans weaken. "The class of 1965" passes into memory - American Heritage struggles to survive - and that aggregator who decades later clumsily reiterated the historiography of '65 for cash and prizes now contends for store space with unlucky authors of real merit.
Popper: "... if I thought that there were no genuine philosophical problems, I would certainly not be a philiosopher..." We are crowding out the oafs who think there are no genuine problems in Civil War history, that all has been settled. They have become marginal.
And so I welcome the new year.