Doings at "Civil Warriors"

Very interesting doings at "Civil Warriors," worth a couple of comments at least.

On the content side
Ethan Rafuse asks "how long, if ever, does it take for historical opinion on an aspect of the Civil War to change?" I have a short answer. Rafuse, Harsh, Reese, and Beatie have written books that future writers must address or appear foolish. Change happens from here on out. When some Taaffe plunges forward while ignoring Rafuse, Harsh, Beatie, and Reese, then bloggers and the new media step in - the empowered reader ladles out ridicule, catalogs the errors of ommission and suppression, and slings a few choice words in earshot of publishers.

(BTW, I was at a book signing five years ago in which the author practically begged us to put in a good comment on Amazon for him since his publishers read comments and the postings were running against him.)

On a similar note, a friend just received a letter from a marquee brand author (Centennialist) who had been surfing his website; the author felt threatened enough to send a letter asking that a certain piece of documentary evidence (presented in image form) be rationalized away (or suppressed). It was damaging to the name brand author's work. My friend answered on the lines of, "So write a rebuttal yourself." Change is coming.

Rafuse wittily posts more on the subject here. Mark Grimsley chimes in with this excellent post, which takes me to the next point.

On the media side
Mark has written an optimal post; it has an anecdote, historiography, and some fun cross-disciplinary analysis while referencing (dialog style) Rafuse's earlier blog entry. But if you look to the bottom of the post, you get some fairly long-form comments. They ruin the spell of the entry.

The effect is worse on Ethan's charming post: the comments are staccato outbursts that startle the reader out of a reverie the author has created.

My blog's comments function stays off. That's a New Year's resolution I think I can keep.

(Hat tip to Harry for pointing me at this series.)