GDG- Killing Lincoln

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Sat Jan 14 15:37:48 CST 2012

So, Chet, if a book inserts make believe events into the  naration you 
would still call that "history"?
Your  Most Obedient Servant,

In a message dated 1/14/2012 4:28:10 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
agatematt at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
> Esteemed GDG Member Dennis Lawrence  Contributes:

> At 02:04 PM 1/14/2012, you  wrote:
>> The correct term is "speculative popular history".  Or "Interprative
>> History".  In the style of bodice  rippers.
> Hello,
> There is no such  categories as the ones you suggest.  There is no bodice
> ripping  in it.  It is not a novel. It is popular history.
>  Obviously, you have not read the book.  I have.  I'm not sympathetic  to
> it, but that does not change what it is.
> Take  Care
> Dennis
> Regarding Killing Lincoln, it  seems this is just one more example of the
> seemingly endless debate  over what type of history is right and proper to
> be written and  published.
On one hand we have the scholarly, academic  works --- most often turned
out by university presses, large and small ---  and which seem to have been
written more to gain tenure and force students  in the professor's classes
to pay exorbitant  amounts of money at the  student book store to use as a
textbook in that same professor's  classes.
Then we have the Popular histories --- as the higher  education snobs
like to term it during their "What has history come to?"  discussions in the
faculty lounge . --- which people actually buy willingly  and read
It is not that these books are  bad histories, but just written in a
lively manner that will make the  reader want to turn the next page and the
next and feel both satisfaction  and a bit of sadness when the last page of
the last chapter has been read.  Indeed, many of the nation's finest
historians --- Bruce Catton, David  McCullough, and so many more past and
present (including a goodly many  members of this distinguished group) ---
write "for the masses" --- and  history is all the better for it.
And writing for a mass  audience --- including when it comes to the Civil
War --- is nothing new.  Indeed, the contents for the venerable volumes of
"Battles and Leaders"  first appeared as articles in the mass circulation
Century  Magazine.
Is "Killing Lincoln" the best history ever written  --- obviously not.
But if it awakes a historical interest in at least a  fraction of a much
larger population which seemingly shows little interest  in the nation's
past --- and certainly have not been taught about it ---  then all the
harping about Mr. O'Reilly's book really does seem  academic.
With regards,
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