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Topic: Bedlam 2020

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CWSooner

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2020, 03:19:19 PM »
so are you a fan of the Ken Burns CW miniseries

I am

I like the music and the special effects sounds etc

Found out a lot of things I didnt know
I love it, 320.  It's an incredibly well-done piece of video historiography.
However, most current historians of that era are somewhat critical of it, for some or all of the following reasons:
- It is too Eastern Theater-centric.
- It gives too much attention to battles and not enough to economic, social, and political factors.
- It gives too much air time to Shelby Foote, a decidedly southern (and pro-southern) voice, and a writer more than a serious historian.
- It does not give enough air time to Barbara Fields, a northern voice (and a black voice) and a serious historian.
- It doesn't give enough emphasis to slavery being the root cause of the war.
I think that there is some validity to the criticisms.  But Ken Burns has some arguments on his side too.
There's a good book about this: Ken Burns's the Civil War : Historians Respond
Ken Burns's the Civil War : Historians Respond
.  Several good critiques, and good responses from Burns and his co-producer Geoffrey Ward about the limits of visual history compared to the written word.
I just finished watching a Georgia PBS documentary on Sherman's campaign in Georgia, "When Georgia Howled: Sherman on the March."  It's a little hard on Sherman, IMO.  Not that it's untrue, but there is other truth that shows him in a little better light.  It WAS unfortunate for the many Unionists in Atlanta that they basically got the same treatment that the most rabid Confederates got.  But how was Sherman supposed to sort them out?
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CWSooner

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2020, 03:39:35 PM »
I am rereading the three volume set that was the basis for that miniseries by Shelby Foote.  The first time I read them I was surprised how good it was. 

Obviously, there is a lot of detail, I like reading about the various actors in their own words from letters and whatnot.  It also shows how many of the battles fought were very disorganized affairs with stuff happening somewhat at random at times.
I would not say that Shelby Foote's 3-volume The Civil War: A Narrative is the "basis" of Ken Burns' The Civil War miniseries.  But he gets more airtime by far than any other talking head, so his viewpoint is on prominent display.
As I just posted in response to Longhorn 320, Foote is not really a serious historian.  He certainly is well-informed on this subject, and he writes a beautifully compelling narrative of the war.  But his pro-southern, pro-Confederate point of view comes through on every page.  He's reverential about key Confederate leaders, and he's got reasonable explanations for many others who don't warrant reverence.
There's a lot in those 3 volumes that a "Lost Cause" advocate would happily agree with.
BTW, I posted to 320 that I just finished watching Georgia PBS' "When Georgia Howled."  At the end it shows a visual of what Sherman's route into Atlanta looks like today.  There's a highway sign for the Ringgold exit.
I didn't know until I started teaching this military history class anything about Samuel Ringgold, developer of the "flying battery" and sometimes called the "father of modern artillery." Or maybe I knew but forgot it.  He was killed at Palo Alto, the first battle of the Mexican-American War, and he may have been the first U.S. officer killed there.
It was a rather gruesome death.  While mounted on a horse, he was hit by a cannonball that mangled both his thighs just below his crotch.  He refused to leave the battlefield, and fully debriefed the battle, before dying three days later at Port Isabel, Texas.
I imagine that it was much more grisly than this depiction.


And I suspect that his horse must have been mortally wounded as well.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 01:24:16 AM by CWSooner »
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longhorn320

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2020, 04:09:36 PM »
I love it, 320.  It's an incredibly well-done piece of video historiography.
However, most current historians of that era are somewhat critical of it, for some or all of the following reasons:
- It is too Eastern Theater-centric.
- It gives too much attention to battles and not enough to economic, social, and political factors.
- It gives too much air time to Shelby Foote, a decidedly southern (and pro-southern) voice, and a writer more than a serious historian.
- It does not give enough air time to Barbara Fields, a northern voice (and a black voice) and a serious historian.
- It doesn't give enough emphasis to slavery being the root cause of the war.

To those critical I would say that KB was faced with the task of not only creating an informative documentary but an entertaining one as well

because of this he could not risk losing a large part of his audience because they found it boring

I think he did a pretty good job of both
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CWSooner

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2020, 01:28:11 AM »
There are probably things he would change if he had it to do all over again and had an unlimited budget.  But he doesn't have either of those.  I think he did a marvelous job considering what he had to work with.
Do I agree with his every presentation of every issue?  No.
But producing "history" is a subjective art, so no one's ever going to agree with all of it.
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Cincydawg

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2020, 03:08:26 PM »
Foote and I share one thing, we both attended UNC-CH.  I did graduate of course, he did not.

The thing I get from his book is more related to the individuals involved than the war part.

I watched some episodes of CW with the wife, she found it interesting.  She didn't know anything at all about the Civil War, though I have dragged her to some battlefields.

We took one trip in France and Belgium and visited:

Belleau Wood (not easy to find)
WW One Museum in Meaux
The Maginot Line
Luxembourg, Diekirk museum and one other
Bastogne
Waterloo
Brussels Military Museum
Agincourt (I think  we were near the actual field, it isn't marked, duh)
Normandy, Omaha Beach
Saumur Musee des Blindes

She was very tolerant of all that.  it was a good trip for me.

CWSooner

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2020, 05:59:19 PM »
Is your wife fluent in English, to the extent that she gets inferences and nuances in conversational speech, CD?

Our French teacher is French, and she has a French accent, but she's married to an American and seems to navigate Anglophone culture very easily.
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Cincydawg

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2020, 06:07:48 PM »
The wife is very fluent in English, with an accent.  I met her in part because my daughter was interested in improving her French and my wife wanted to improved her English.  The daughter was majoring in both at THE Ohio State University, so over one summer, they started meeting once a week, as it turned out the discussions were entirely in French.  My daughter got quite good over the summer, the wife says.

I correct the wife on occasion, the irregulars are obviously tough.  But she could hold a long conversation with you about most things.  Her accent is very pleasant.  

She read my book as well, she said she had a hard time understanding the slave lingo.  My character Billy in the book is somewhat patterned after Jim in Huck Finn.

Spoiler alert.  Billy,  having been manumitted, is known to have acute night vision.  As such, Stonewall asks him to go with him at Chancellorsville.  On the trip back through the lines, Jim hears a shout and rifles being cocked and reaches out and grabs Jackson and pulls him from his horse.

Billy is hit and loses an arm.  Jackson has a dislocated shoulder but survives.  From there on it is all imagination.

CWSooner

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2020, 05:59:56 PM »
In the real world, in both of Lee's "invasions" of the North, his army kidnapped free blacks, mostly young men, and took them back to be sold into slavery.  I've seen numbers of those so kidnapped for the Gettysburg campaign ranging from 40 to 1000 .

I wonder if that would complicate Billy's life as a manumitted black man in the company of that army.  He might have to act like a slave to all appearances.
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Cincydawg

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2020, 07:35:34 PM »
I tried to deal with how Billy "managed" in the Confederacy.  My hero married a young girl whose widowed mom had freed their slaves, they didn't have many, five total.  The manumitted slaves  however had nowhere to go in effect, so they stayed on t he farm, and shared in the proceeds.  And the mother discovered they worked harder as a result with no overseer.

I was trying to imagine a slave in Virginia suddenly being freed and having no experience in the outside world more than 10 miles or so distant.  I also tried to deal some with the racist attitudes of many northerners.

I just finished one cycle through Book Two. I might email you the Word document.  It's probably more interesting than Book One because I took "liberties" in rewriting history.

I have Book 3 kind of in my head.  There is a President Hamlin involved ...

CWSooner

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2020, 01:29:13 AM »
President Hamlin, eh?

Lincoln doesn't ditch him for the '64 election, or Lincoln doesn't make it to the '64 election?

I had some other "helpful" comments, but the email address I have for you is no longer correct.  Care to PM me the current one?
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Cincydawg

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2020, 11:12:03 AM »
I dunno if you want to see the word doc for Book 2 or not, I imagine you're plenty busy.  I have not yet e published it.

I'm working on Book 3.

I hope you enjoyed it a little bit anyway in spite of my errors.

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2020, 07:17:13 PM »
Errors, schmerrors!  You're writing fiction.
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Cincydawg

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2020, 07:25:46 PM »
One thing I admire about Bernard Cornwell is at the end, he lays out what he changed from history for his story line.  And he makes a big effort to have minor stuff right, sort of like Clancy (who hated the movies).

I think some effort to "get it right" it important in HF.  This is how Book 2 starts off.

     Captain John James Burwell was beginning to have a slight understanding of “feminine wiles”.  John was a very young officer in the Confederate Army on General Jackson’s staff.  He had been granted leave during the winter of 1862-63 to visit his fiancee’, one Lucy Custis.  John was reticent to marry Lucy much as he wanted to do so because of his involvement in the war.  He’d been shot once already.  Lucy of course wanted to be married now.  John had agreed to discuss matters with Mary, her mother, a lady of good judgment in most things, John thought.


Cincydawg

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Re: Bedlam 2020
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2020, 07:27:38 PM »
  So, they had talked, and to John’s surprise Mary was all for the marriage, right away she said.  She noted the war had already lasted longer than most had expected, and it could last years longer.  She also more secretly fearer the two love birds might start acting as if they were married and end up with a pregnancy.  She wouldn’t mind a grandchild at all, but not one conceived out of wedlock.  That wouldn’t do.  She also said that the number of widows she was hearing about was increasing for obvious reasons.  And if Lucy didn’t marry now, the number of eligible women available might outnumber marriageable men.

So, John was a bit hemmed in, two votes to one, as it were.  John had no other confidants.  His father was very distant, emotionally, and physically, a three day journey.  His father had barely remarked in a letter when John had written him of his engagement.  His other friend was a former slave, Billy, who John had manumitted.  This wasn’t the sort of thing he’d confide in Billy.  And Billy had already married Edna, the house cook, who also was a freed woman.  John had been wounded, fortunately not badly as it turned out, but he knew how close to death he had come on several occasions.  He had some dark memories of that day charging up the hill at Port Republic with screaming Louisianans beside him.  Something fierce and unexpected had come over him, battle lust they called it, and it scared him that he could be so, well, crazy all of a sudden.  His luck might not hold out forever.  He had seen too much death around him to think that.

It was late December, and cold and blustery, but he thought better on a horse, or so he thought, so he went to the stables and started to saddle Maggie, his faithful steed.  She was as usual happy to see him, she liked going for a ride.  The trip from the army encampment near Fredericksburg to Green Valley was long but had not tired her out.  He rode her into town, meaning Lexington, where he had been in school at the Virginia Military Institute before General Jackson had requested him as junior aide de camp.  He was in uniform, with a nice coat showing captain’s bars, and people were friendly, some recognized him, like the owner of the general store and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson.  He decided to do some Christmas shopping, and the wife as before helped him find some things.  He noticed their stock of most stuff was rather low.



 

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