GDG- Killing Lincoln

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Sun Jan 15 11:26:03 CST 2012

Hi Phil-  Here's my tastes- and my point.
I read Killer Angels, not as history but hostorical  fiction.  I loved it.
But I got 1/2way through Gods and Generals and there was so  much 
speculative indulging into the characters thoughts and conversations that  there was 
no record of I threw it at the wall.
I think I gave it to a young kid who didn't know about the  Civil War and 
said "Here!"
Never finished it and I wouldn't unless I was in jail and had  the choice 
of reading it or staring at the walls.
"Just  the facts, ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday. Dragnet.

Your Most Obediant  Servant  

In a message dated 1/15/2012 12:14:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
pvitiello1 at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
Peter a fair question, that's why I was careful to  use the word "most" in 
my comment. I was referring less to the O' Reilly book  (which I have read). 
I'll say this that it does drive me crazy when I read  book when the author 
 writes history with supposing to know what someone  may have said or 
thought based only on the whim of that author. it bothers me  more when certain 
"known" historical facts are presented wrong weather in a  book or movie. 
just shows a lack of a certain laziness to get it right  knowing
that people who don't know better will now take that it is fact.  That 
being said I've mellowed some over the last 50 years of my interest in  our 
history that if a book, even if with errors in it can either inspire or  
enlighten our youth in our history than that is a good thing.

Peter  thank you for replying. hope I made some sense here on my thoughts 
on  this.

new haven Ct  

Sent from my iPad

On  Jan 15, 2012, at 9:33 AM, CWMHTours at wrote:

> Esteemed GDG  Member Contributes:
> Phil-
> Should I understand that in  agreement with Chet that you think  it is OK 
> mix fiction with  fact and then publicly call it history and try to  sell 
> that  way?
> Your  Most Obedient Servant,
> Peter   
> In a message dated 1/15/2012 9:30:35 A.M. Eastern  Standard Time,  
> pvitiello1 at writes:
>  Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
> I'm sure no one hear will  recognize my name. I've  followed GDG for 
> years now and  only posted once. Having following this  current thread I 
> feel  compelled to leave a quick comment that I agree with  most of Chets 
> statements. I feel his grasp and understanding how history is   recorded 
and how 
> historians over the years perceive what should be  considered  fact and 
what is 
> not is spot on.
>  Phil Vitiello
> NH Ct.    
> Sent from my  iPad
> On Jan 14, 2012, at 6:14 PM, Matt Diestel   <agatematt at> wrote:
>> 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  by
>>> esteemed  members in this discussion thread.
>>   In  direct answer to your question, would I call a book  which  
>> make believe events into the narration ..  "history?"  --- No, I would 
>> but then in regards to  "Killing Lincoln" that is  an accusation which 
>> 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 
>> something  that is at best  historical error and at worse something
>>  nefarious.
>>   People can --- and do --- see historical  "facts" in different ways. As
>> an example, I will point to the many  discussions this group has had  
>> 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  
>> cavalry commander specific orders to place himself on  the  Union flank 
>> 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 
>> 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
>> light.
>>    Besides,  what is truly a fact. Given that much of the narrative of  
>> event is  based upon the gathering of evidence from  eye-witnesses, all 
>> whom  may see the same event slightly  different or radically 
>> That is evident by just going  to the Official Records and read the  
>> 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 
>> 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,
>>                 Chet
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