Civil War 150, a going concern

The Washington Post's Sunday supplement "Civil War 150" continues, with "Chapter VII" appearing Sunday. The "chapters" label suggests odd time intervals, but the advertising is robust. Let me therefore be the first to predict that this supplement will continue after the Sesquicentennial (Bezos permitting).

It's not just the WaPo's advertising that makes my case: ACW books are well advertised elsewhere, even in such incongruous places as the NYRB and the Claremont Review.

One problem with publishing history in a newspaper, however, is that the material is corrupted by newspaper values. One article this weekend had a sidebar with pictures of real human beings, who had suffered and endured, headlined "Cast of Supporting Characters." Characters!

In the same way, other headlines were overly dramatic; stories were heavy laden with human interest and cute little bits; emphasis was skewed for story payoffs; the whole sickening panoply of infotainment is here regularly applied to what deserves more respect. Emphasis has to be on what is most interesting or amusing.

Why be surprised though? American Heritage magazine, journalism to its innermost core, pioneered this way of dispensing history and was rewarded for it over several decades.

American Heritage was everywhere. This, at least, is contained.