GDG- Killing Lincoln

Tom Barrett tbarrett21 at
Sat Jan 14 18:01:55 CST 2012

I think Chet comes closest to hitting the nail on the head.

But, in order to keep Peter and some others happy, I propose that we adopt
some more descriptive terminology.  We can have:

1. True History (We think)

2. History with er, um, lotsa mistakes (We think)

3. Phony History- (With things told differently than We think they really

4. Alternative History (Where We think the space aliens give gigawatt lasers
to Pickett.)

5. Bodice-Ripper History (We think there's a little history mixed with lotsa
steamy sex, and Chamberlain looks like Fabio Lanzoni)

6. Fantasy (Where We think Gandalf comes to the rescue of Meade)

7. B.S. (Where We think we all know it isn't close to real)

Furthermore, we should arrange for booksellers, including Amazon, to clearly
mark any book that makes reference to anything historical with these labels,
to avoid confusing reality with make-believe.


TB (with some time to kill before the Denver - NE gsme)    

-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Matt Diestel
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 6:14 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Killing Lincoln

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:

> So, Chet, if a book inserts make believe events into the  naration you
> would still call that "history"?
> Your  Most Obedient Servant,
> Peter
> The amount --- and supposed seriousness --- of the errors in "Killing
> Lincoln" by all indication is a matter that is still much in dispute. That
> is certainly reinforced by the variety of opinions that have been posted
> esteemed members in this discussion thread.
    In direct answer to your question, would I call a book which "inserts
make believe events into the narration .. "history?" --- No, I would not
but then in regards to "Killing Lincoln" that is an accusation which has
not yet been proved to my satisfaction.
    Too often, when one person sees a set of possible historical actions in
one way and accepts it and then writes it in anything from book form to a
discussion point in this group, there are some who refuse to take it as
simply an interpretation with which they disagree with and instead is is
something that is at best historical error and at worse something
   People can --- and do --- see historical "facts" in different ways. As
an example, I will point to the many discussions this group has had over
the years as to what Stuart was suppose to do at Gettysburg on July 3.
There are those who take it as a historical certainty that Lee gave his
cavalry commander specific orders to place himself on the Union flank to
attack when the forces of Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble broke the AOP line and
forced that army to retreat. Other esteemed members believe that to be so
much non-historical hogwash, but I have yet to read a member accusing
another of fabricating the truth because they see facts in a different
    Besides, what is truly a fact. Given that much of the narrative of any
event is based upon the gathering of evidence from eye-witnesses, all of
whom may see the same event slightly different or radically differently.
That is evident by just going to the Official Records and read the after
battle reports of units which opposed each other. More often than not, the
text reads in a way to make it seem that neither unit was not on the same
piece of the  battlefield but probably not on the same planet.
   OK, which author's work is the lie? And which one should historians
choose? And if they choose one then do those who take the other side as
gospel then have the right to label the opponent's version as having
inserted "make believe events."
                 With regards,
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