An open letter to Gary Gallagher

Dear Dr. Gallagher:

It has been seven years since we noted here the forthcoming book on ACW navies by James M. McPherson. This book now has a release date, if Amazon is to be believed.

You are far and above the usual cut of book editors and I want to appeal to your professionalism and integrity as you review McPherson's manuscript. Please be especially mindful of the following.

(1) Dr. McPherson in recent works has tended to cite primary sources only, skipping any references to the analysis that preceded him while at the same time borrowing liberally from that analysis. As well read as you are, Dr. Gallagher, we (the reading public) rely on you to recognize borrowings McPherson may make from the rich field of Naval history and we rely on you to compel him to acknowledge his influences in writing.

(2) It is important that McPherson supply a bibliographic essay reviewing the pertinent literature. In the past few books he has avoided this. Please provide every facility to him in supplying such an essay.

(3) Please be very alert to memes, turns of phrase, key concepts, and other intellectual property that may belong to naval historians and compel Dr. McPherson to attribute them wherever he uses them. This has been his weakest point in books past.

(4) Please formulate a compelling reason to read Dr, McPherson's book for those of us who have already read the naval histories on which his work is based. The Amazon description promises excitement and entertainment. The advanced reader is looking for more.

As conversant as you are in ACW history, we are counting on you to ensure no injury is done by McPherson to ACW naval historians and we rely on you to guide him toward some standard of originality, the same standard your UNC books posess.

Submitted in all humility,
Dimitri Rotov