Contagion spread by fans

One legacy of 50 years of Centennial nonfiction has been a deformed readership - deformed in its sensibilities.

The Civil War reader of pop narratives turns her hand to fiction and evokes this:
... the novel's essential weakness lies in the characters, who tend to stand out like monuments, especially the gruff, cigar-chewing Sherman and the swashbuckling brigade commander Thomas Ransom. They are beyond criticism, remaining largely unchallenged and unknown, alienated from the reader by their own legendary status.
As they would be in any Civil War nonfiction you would pick up. Old wine in new bottles.
It is as if the author's personal enthusiasm for these historical figures has blinded her to the emotional needs of the reader.
In the historical "literature" she reads now, they have already been assigned their roles and status - she dare not tamper with them. The result is, "a novel ill at ease with its own material"