Meanwhile, Brooks Simpson has registered a few impressions:
I’ve already mentioned my surprise upon coming across a catalog description for Mark Neely’s The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction. Normally one chuckles at what one could call publisher overstatement, although in many cases authors have more than a casual hand in framing promotional material. In this case, I don’t think the advertising’s misrepresenting the book. I do think the book misrepresents current scholarly understandings of the nature of the Civil War and whether it deserves to be typed a “total war.” By offering a certain definition of “total war,” one can set up a strawman that is subject to easy dismissal. Since the term “total war” has been tossed around rather casually in the literature, this is an easy task. If one wishes to rest one’s claim to fame upon a rather clever dismantling of a carelessly-employed term, well, that might qualify for brilliance in a first year graduate seminar, but I think one has to do more if one is to advance understanding beyond that. We shall see.This is from a post called "On my desk" and one would suppose Brooks Simpson's own new book would be on that desk but I see that Amazon has now moved the release date from December 2007 to mid-2009.
p.s. His aside to me in discussing blurbs I think pertains to this post (scroll down to 2/25/2004) rather than to my exuberant blurb on Army of the Potomac.
Update, 12/07/07. Brooks writes: "...that manuscript is in a computer, not on a desk. :) It should go out to the publisher early next year. I was trying to absorb moreof the recent work on McClellan and Ethan's work on Lee in the East, which will soon appear."