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Zorral
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This history of a century of the BBC has often provided the scope of well done historical adventure fiction, particularly in the days of WWII.  The service began its preparations for the War, from evacuation of equipment and personnel, to the canceling of its television service* early, toward the end of 1938, and with the new year with ever increasing sense of necessity and purpose.  

Gosh, it seems we have reached the end of humans' capacity to prepare and effectively organize on as large a scale as this, productively and positively, and have it work! -- a long time ago.

* The BBC began regular, scheduled television broadcasts back in 1936.  It was small, of course, due the cost of sets, and that all the problems of distance service hadn't quite yet been solved.  But there were 20,000 subscribers with sets in London.  Among the reasons for canceling their television service is that most of the technicians joined the aerial radar tracking surveillance and development arm of HM's armed services in the south of England.

 

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On 4/14/2022 at 6:43 PM, Zorral said:

Close to the closing of this BBC history Hendy brings us

Recently watched Netflix's Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, and horror story it is.  It's more than difficult to watch, so for Hendy, writing this account -- and for those reading it -- the account can't help but be nauseous too.

BBC totally screwed the public on this as much as Savile did -- and all the other institutions that participated and / or tolerated pedophilia and the pedophiles as though this was just another kids' sport - game.  British society seems riddled with that from at least the 60's, as in the pop music and culture scene, as many have commented over the decades, particularly the musicians -- and the lyrics even of so many hits.

Looking back, it's surprising what was tolerated, well within my own lifetime.  Sex between adults and minors does seem to have been widely viewed as just a peccadillo.  And, those attitudes die hard.  The scandals involving child grooming gangs in Rotherham and other towns took place in large part because local police and social services took the view that young teenage girls and boys were just asking for it. 

The History Boys by Alan Bennett makes Hector, by any measure a paedophile, into the hero of the tale. In essence, sex between a teacher and his under age pupils is fine because the Greeks and Romans did it. 

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On 4/20/2022 at 4:15 PM, Zorral said:

This history of a century of the BBC has often provided the scope of well done historical adventure fiction, particularly in the days of WWII.  The service began its preparations for the War, from evacuation of equipment and personnel, to the canceling of its television service* early, toward the end of 1938, and with the new year with ever increasing sense of necessity and purpose.  

Gosh, it seems we have reached the end of humans' capacity to prepare and effectively organize on as large a scale as this, productively and positively, and have it work! -- a long time ago.

* The BBC began regular, scheduled television broadcasts back in 1936.  It was small, of course, due the cost of sets, and that all the problems of distance service hadn't quite yet been solved.  But there were 20,000 subscribers with sets in London.  Among the reasons for canceling their television service is that most of the technicians joined the aerial radar tracking surveillance and development arm of HM's armed services in the south of England.

 

I think that most of the principles of good organisation and logistics, are timeless, even if the technology improves.  

Edited by SeanF
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Thinking ahead 

5 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think that most of the principles of good organisation and logistics

Particularly thinking and planning ahead of crisis instead of trying to do something once the crisis/catastrophe/war is fully underway.

No one seems capable of doing this any longer. See: pandemic.

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On 9/11/2021 at 11:29 AM, Zorral said:

The Personal Librarian is an historical novel following the life of J.P. Morgan's personal librarian, Belle Marion Greener,

Just put this on hold at the library.  Sounds interesting.   :cheers:

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Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past (2022) by Richard Cohen.

Another prestige, great big, historical survey -- not original research or analysis --by a member of that eternal Brit relatively small, charmed circle of public intellectuals who attended the same schools, who run the nation's institutions from publishing and media, to academia and government.

The book's chapters are essentially stand-alone, so one can pick any chapter at any time, and not worry about missing continuity of argument or theory, for there is neither.  What it has is an enormous amount of illustrative anecdote, short biographies, and so on, which are informative, or at least entertaining.  He focuses at least as much on the personal lives of the historians, writers, historians, television producers, etc. as he does on what they accomplished.

Whether he intended to or not, this format confirmed my general dismissal of what are called television historians, whether from the UK or the US.  Cohen being a Brit, concentrates more on the UK -- and here are all these guys -- all guys indeed, except for Mary Beard* -- like Farage and Schama.**  In the US he believe Burns is the greatest historian of the Civil War.

He believes, like these tv historians do, that history is just stories.  Whereas I believe history contains stories, but it is so much more than that, which without, the stories have no value.  History as just one story after another  truly allows one to tell lies about history, as the former republican party*** has learned ever since Gingrich.  Which has turned all political discourse now into lies and mush and constant contradiction, even in the lies.

That was the most valuable part of this book for me, the interviews with these tv historians so closely connected to politics, such as Ferguson, Farage, Stone, Starkey.  They flat out tell us that they were not interested in history, doing it as an academic discipline per se, because there wasn't fame and money in it.  Their interest was making a sensation, which got them fame and fortune, connecting them lucratively to the worlds of politics, by turning history on its head.  See the chapter, "On Television: From A.J. P. Taylor to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.".

This explained why, of their histories that I've read, I found these books deeply unsatisfactory, and in many cases, just plain out-and-out untrustworthy, and, frequently, facile, when not flat out dishonest, and obviously, deliberately so.

On the other hand, it seems that from the start, with Herodotus and Western, i.e. Hellenes’ history, history was seen as performative.  In the first chapter, “The Dawning of History:” Herodotus Or Thucydides?”, he emphasizes that Herodotus himself tells us that his histories are to be performed, spoken and read, as he does, with all the rhetorical skills for which evidently already in the 5th C, the Hellenes were famous – as opposed to written.  This explains his penchant for very long speeches provided by his characters, perhaps?

* Beard is not dishonest, and as a woman has paid an enormous price for even being on television from men who, for reasons, I guess, just hate her -- because she's a woman.  Ya, circular hatred here.

** There was golden value in Schama's book, An Embarrassment of Riches. a little less value, and more neglect and/or misapprehension in his Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, and very little at all in his subsequent written work.  Also I found his presence as the presenter of tv history unwatchable, whether he is on Brit or US tv.  

*** It has morphed into the white straight male xtian nationalist authoritarian party.

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4 hours ago, Zorral said:

Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past (2022) by Richard Cohen.

Another prestige, great big, historical survey -- not original research or analysis --by a member of that eternal Brit relatively small, charmed circle of public intellectuals who attended the same schools, who run the nation's institutions from publishing and media, to academia and government.

The book's chapters are essentially stand-alone, so one can pick any chapter at any time, and not worry about missing continuity of argument or theory, for there is neither.  What it has is an enormous amount of illustrative anecdote, short biographies, and so on, which are informative, or at least entertaining.  He focuses at least as much on the personal lives of the historians, writers, historians, television producers, etc. as he does on what they accomplished.

Whether he intended to or not, this format confirmed my general dismissal of what are called television historians, whether from the UK or the US.  Cohen being a Brit, concentrates more on the UK -- and here are all these guys -- all guys indeed, except for Mary Beard* -- like Farage and Schama.**  In the US he believe Burns is the greatest historian of the Civil War.

He believes, like these tv historians do, that history is just stories.  Whereas I believe history contains stories, but it is so much more than that, which without, the stories have no value.  History as just one story after another  truly allows one to tell lies about history, as the former republican party*** has learned ever since Gingrich.  Which has turned all political discourse now into lies and mush and constant contradiction, even in the lies.

That was the most valuable part of this book for me, the interviews with these tv historians so closely connected to politics, such as Ferguson, Farage, Stone, Starkey.  They flat out tell us that they were not interested in history, doing it as an academic discipline per se, because there wasn't fame and money in it.  Their interest was making a sensation, which got them fame and fortune, connecting them lucratively to the worlds of politics, by turning history on its head.  See the chapter, "On Television: From A.J. P. Taylor to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.".

This explained why, of their histories that I've read, I found these books deeply unsatisfactory, and in many cases, just plain out-and-out untrustworthy, and, frequently, facile, when not flat out dishonest, and obviously, deliberately so.

On the other hand, it seems that from the start, with Herodotus and Western, i.e. Hellenes’ history, history was seen as performative.  In the first chapter, “The Dawning of History:” Herodotus Or Thucydides?”, he emphasizes that Herodotus himself tells us that his histories are to be performed, spoken and read, as he does, with all the rhetorical skills for which evidently already in the 5th C, the Hellenes were famous – as opposed to written.  This explains his penchant for very long speeches provided by his characters, perhaps?

* Beard is not dishonest, and as a woman has paid an enormous price for even being on television from men who, for reasons, I guess, just hate her -- because she's a woman.  Ya, circular hatred here.

** There was golden value in Schama's book, An Embarrassment of Riches. a little less value, and more neglect and/or misapprehension in his Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, and very little at all in his subsequent written work.  Also I found his presence as the presenter of tv history unwatchable, whether he is on Brit or US tv.  

*** It has morphed into the white straight male xtian nationalist authoritarian party.

I think narrative history is essential, to make the subject accessible to the general reader.  It’s not what I’m doing, as part of my dissertation, but my work would only be of interest to people who wished to study the period in detail.

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Further thoughts on this history as stories, as said, stories are embedded in history, but they don't make history, nor are they what history is made of, so to speak.  What viewing and presenting history as a story does is file off all the fangs and claws that rip and tear up most people who ever lived.  TV historians/history in particular do this -- it smooths it all out, making 'history' an inevitable wave that brings us more stories of individuals that don't actually tell us anything about how we got to this particular wave.  It can be enjoyable, and it has its place certainly -- and I challenge anyone who can enjoy a well-written and honestly researched narrative history as much as i do -- but it is not the only thing, and it shouldn't be the primary thing.  This is exactly how entire peoples and entire genders have been effectively erased from history.

Particularly on tv. O gods, Ken Burns's history of Rock and Roll, particularly his utterly ignorant shyte on Jazz and New Orleans -- it literally made me sick to watch that.

Yet, on the other hand, yes, stories are good for giving people who don't know something to start with.  Uncle Tom's Cabin did more to show the average reader how awful US cotton kingdom slavery was than probably all the abolitionist newspapers. OTOH -- yet another hand -- that wasn't what made the War.  No matter how many stories were told of the evils that individual slaves were subject to and killed by, nobody was going to make a war about it.  I know this, but the average person doesn't.  It took something else, a whole lot something elses, and much of it was rival capitalist systems that did that.  There are no pretty and inspiring individual stories in that.  It's all kinds of other research that ends always in the capitalists' ledgers.  In the Cotton Kingdom, the capitalist's ledger, particularly those of the millionaires in Mississippi, such as Jeff Davis's bro, had nothing in it except often nameless bodies.

Again, brilliant, essential works such as The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World  (2007) by David W. Anthony -- this material cannot be transmitted via 'stories' of heroic individuals for we know none of them. Yet this history provides an enthralling account of how we got from then to even, in many cases, now.  This is as far from the methodology and ideology of "The Great Man" story of history as one can get.

The other problem with history as one story after another -- for most people, especially when they see it on tv as supposedly factual, or in a novel or a dramatic film or tv series, that's all they get, and often it's just not factual.  But nobody's learned more and stay with what they saw on a screen back when they were kids.  Very frustrating, particularly when teaching history courses.  Ask anyone trying to teach the run-up to the War of the Rebellion and slavery, and what happened afterwards.  And they all believe -- if they are even that erudite -- Shelby Foote's history, thanx to Burns, is the last word -- and he didn't even cite a single source.  Argh.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

as part of my dissertation

I tried to do this via DM but you don't have this enabled.

If I may ask, what is the subject?  You may very well don't want to talk about that on this forum for all kinds of reasons.  And you may not want to tell me about it either, which is entirely legitimate.  Knowing how rough that process can and often is, what I really want is to wish you all the best in the endeavor.    :cheers: :read: :thumbsup:

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12 hours ago, Zorral said:

I tried to do this via DM but you don't have this enabled.

If I may ask, what is the subject?  You may very well don't want to talk about that on this forum for all kinds of reasons.  And you may not want to tell me about it either, which is entirely legitimate.  Knowing how rough that process can and often is, what I really want is to wish you all the best in the endeavor.    :cheers: :read: :thumbsup:

I don't know why it should be switched off.  However, my Dissertation is about the Peninsular War. I've written about half of it, and I'm running it by my tutor.  Hopefully, it will be of use to scholars of this war, but I don't think it would be of much use to the general reader.  I think one would need a reasonable working knowledge of the war, first.

A big part of my work is reading unpublished primary sources, which I then cite and footnote.  Sometimes these sources are as dull as ditchwater;  other times, really interesting stuff comes up.  Lack of footnoting, (or even worse, lack of an index) is the sign of a shoddy book, IMHO.  But, the narrative historian does have to simplify things, while the academic historian sees more complexity.

WRT the US Civil War, I think slavery would have lasted a good deal longer, had the Confederates not made their bid for independence.  Plenty of people in the North (and some in the South) hated it, but few people thought it worth waging war over, until the Southern leaders became convinced they had to break away, in order to preserve their Peculiar Institution.   I think their commitment to slavery went beyond economics.  They had a real ideological conviction that slavery was the natural condition of the black population.

 

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Thank you!  In my not so terribly well-informed opinion, the subject of your dissertation is indeed of great use to the historians of that subject.  Are you reading in any of the Spanish sources?  It seems there is always more to be discovered about this subject, and not only about this subject, in Spain.

As for the US Civil War and slavery -- one can indeed make a good argument for your opinion.  The fear of something happening made them make abolition happen, because the south wouldn't leave it alone.  But ultimately, immigration, coupled with the fact the South didn't have an economy -- all the unit of value, also meaning credit -- was literally embodied, was on a headlong clash with the northern system, which was fueled ever more strongly by immigration.  Immigrants didn't go to the southern states because there was no place there for 'getting started.'  Not even as a cobbler, for instance, or selling vegetables from a push cart, because slaves did all that, while the slaveowners took the money.  One did not need in the least to live a nicely economically situated life style to own a plantation and a hundred people labor force.  One or two, particularly if skilled, and even more particularly if one of them was female of reproductive years did it for you.  And there too came the inevitable clash, because the slaveocracy's expansion was always time limited by how long it took the capitalized womb of the enslaved labor to produce, while in the industrialized north, labor increased by 1850 with literally millions of new workers, most of whom initially came to NYC -- and it had, thus, via its mercantile interests of all kinds, loads of international credit -- the south had none.  By 1860 this labor force, became as well, competing numbers for labor niches, they provided an endless supply of troops for the Union armies, which by 1863 were also increased massively by the emancipated African Americans.

So I don't think these two competing capitalist systems, both of which, as being capitalist, depended upon constant expansion -- like sharks, must forever keep moving or die -- and the South COULD NOT win that game, unless militarily, and it didn't have the resources to do that.  The war should have been finished after Vicksburg, and if not then, certainly after Gettysburg.  But Lee chose to fight on to make his Virginia -- I dunno? it's own nation?  It was deeply embedded in the Virginia mindset that in reality, due to the vagaries of the original charter by the Royal Company of Adventurers and Gentlemen that all of North America was Virginia anyway.

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40 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Thank you!  In my not so terribly well-informed opinion, the subject of your dissertation is indeed of great use to the historians of that subject.  Are you reading in any of the Spanish sources?  It seems there is always more to be discovered about this subject, and not only about this subject, in Spain.

As for the US Civil War and slavery -- one can indeed make a good argument for your opinion.  The fear of something happening made them make abolition happen, because the south wouldn't leave it alone.  But ultimately, immigration, coupled with the fact the South didn't have an economy -- all the unit of value, also meaning credit -- was literally embodied, was on a headlong clash with the northern system, which was fueled ever more strongly by immigration.  Immigrants didn't go to the southern states because there was no place there for 'getting started.'  Not even as a cobbler, for instance, or selling vegetables from a push cart, because slaves did all that, while the slaveowners took the money.  One did not need in the least to live a nicely economically situated life style to own a plantation and a hundred people labor force.  One or two, particularly if skilled, and even more particularly if one of them was female of reproductive years did it for you.  And there too came the inevitable clash, because the slaveocracy's expansion was always time limited by how long it took the capitalized womb of the enslaved labor to produce, while in the industrialized north, labor increased by 1850 with literally millions of new workers, most of whom initially came to NYC -- and it had, thus, via its mercantile interests of all kinds, loads of international credit -- the south had none.  By 1860 this labor force, became as well, competing numbers for labor niches, they provided an endless supply of troops for the Union armies, which by 1863 were also increased massively by the emancipated African Americans.

So I don't think these two competing capitalist systems, both of which, as being capitalist, depended upon constant expansion -- like sharks, must forever keep moving or die -- and the South COULD NOT win that game, unless militarily, and it didn't have the resources to do that.  The war should have been finished after Vicksburg, and if not then, certainly after Gettysburg.  But Lee chose to fight on to make his Virginia -- I dunno? it's own nation?  It was deeply embedded in the Virginia mindset that in reality, due to the vagaries of the original charter by the Royal Company of Adventurers and Gentlemen that all of North America was Virginia anyway.

I will be making a visit to Spain to consult archival sources, there. 

My understanding is that if the Confederacy had won (in the sense of being allowed to secede), they'd have been looking at Cuba and parts of Mexico as new slave states.  They believed that they possessed greater fighting spirit than the Union, which would outweigh their logistical disadvantages.  They didn't accept that the side with the best logistics wins almost all the time.

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11 minutes ago, SeanF said:

My understanding is that if the Confederacy had won (in the sense of being allowed to secede), they'd have been looking at Cuba and parts of Mexico as new slave states

Even colonial North America already had marked Cuba as 'it should be ours.'  So did the Early Republic, and the Jacksonian era think Cuba should be ours. 

Quite a few conditions blocked that desire and fantasy throughout from the Early Republic days, that acquisition of an already a slave state -- all be it, one which had experienced several long, threatening slave uprisings and wars already. This terrified people, particularly in the wake of the Napoleonic era Revolution that turned San Domingue into Haiti. This, united with the comprehension that for the South -- as with Texas becoming a state  -- more slaveowners would be senators, upsetting the precarious political balances that already barely existed. 

By 1850 that precarious balance was over, and essentially the industrializing / ed states were unable to enact anything they wanted.  The South had torn up the Missouri Compromise, and yet still had not been able to get California admitted as a slave state. 

Additionally the protestants of the US did not want another state added that was -- Catholic! (Not that Cuba has ever been devoutly Catholic, though culturally, yes.)  The US already had been seeing political movement that targeted Catholics as well as Free Masons and others -- the nicknamed "Know Nothings" as they attempted to hide their identities and affiliations as they attacked, vandalized and looted their targets of hatred.

As well, as you know, Spain and Cuba itself did not want Cuba to be a part of the USA, as filibusters Narciso López and John Quitman learned (Quitman even resigned as governor of Mississippi to invade Cuba!). After CA entered the union as free soil, the Southerners, blocked from their greatest economic asset, of selling their domestic slave product into ever expanding, slave-starved territory, they were desperate, and thought they could take over Cuba even as they plotted out secession. After all, Cuba's economy was sugar, and sugar devoured enslaved laborers' lives so quickly the population needed to be refreshed every 7 - 10 years.

As you know, Spain and Cuba itself did not want Cuba to be a part of the USA, as filibusters Narciso López and John Quitman learned (Quitman even resigned as governor of Mississippi to invade Cuba!). As there was no way the South could win the Secession, as was evident by the end of 1863, there is no way if they had, they'd be able to successfully invade Cuba. Among the many things the CSA did not have to make such a thing possible, including recognition by the greater circle of states as a state, and no credit -- it didn't have a navy.  Privateers don't make up for that in the long run, as we know as well.  And the Union navy was in great shape.

After the war many slaveocracy types did make illegal fortunes selling the US flag as a false flag under which Africans could still be shipped to Cuba and Brasil, because due to the treaty after the War of 1812, the British navy could not stop and inspect vessels under the US flag.  This, while a number of slave owners removed themselves to Cuba and Brasil. with their labor force, and still found those nations unliveable and they unable to live in the manner to which they were accustomed. In any case, soon after slavery was abolished in these two nations, the last, after the US, to do so.

Though in places in Asia and Africa the colonial European powers did continue a kind of slavery, limited generally to particular hot cash commodities on the international market, such as opium and cotton, it wasn't at all the same as it had been in the southern US states, depending entirely on the 'domestic increase of the generationally capitalized wombs of African American women.  Europe's new sugar beet production reduced to great degree any dependence on sugar from the Caribbean and South America.  Their own cotton output from Egypt and India did the same. Though! it turns out that in the Jim Crow era the US raised and exported even more cotton than in the days of Dixie. It is still, I think, the biggest cotton exporter on the world market, though I haven't checked lately, not since the orange one and covid screwed All the Markets.

 

 

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Though not necessarily particularly pertinent perhaps, it is interesting that Cuba's round as US property was achieved by a politician with a Georgian mother, whose family's plantation has been thought to be the model for Tara, Scarlet O'Hara's family plantation in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind -- Theodore Roosevelt. This, along with the acquisition of The Philippines in this Spanish American War intitiated the US as an imperial force on the world stage.  He  was a great proponent for a very strong and large US Navy.  His uncles from Georgia were part of the CSA pirates, who also worked hard to get CSA ironclads built for use on the Mississippi.  Roosevelt never tired of hearing about his uncles' exploits.  

The thing with the CSA -- judging by all the states' choices and behaviors, whether locally or nationally -- it was against taxation, public education, infrastructure built by public funding -- against everything that would be in the realm of 'public good.'  They were intrinsically uncooperative, united only in the ideology that slavery good anything else bad me in charge.  This doesn't work so well for creating an empire.

 

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On 5/8/2022 at 11:34 PM, Zorral said:

Though not necessarily particularly pertinent perhaps, it is interesting that Cuba's round as US property was achieved by a politician with a Georgian mother, whose family's plantation has been thought to be the model for Tara, Scarlet O'Hara's family plantation in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind -- Theodore Roosevelt. This, along with the acquisition of The Philippines in this Spanish American War intitiated the US as an imperial force on the world stage.  He  was a great proponent for a very strong and large US Navy.  His uncles from Georgia were part of the CSA pirates, who also worked hard to get CSA ironclads built for use on the Mississippi.  Roosevelt never tired of hearing about his uncles' exploits.  

The thing with the CSA -- judging by all the states' choices and behaviors, whether locally or nationally -- it was against taxation, public education, infrastructure built by public funding -- against everything that would be in the realm of 'public good.'  They were intrinsically uncooperative, united only in the ideology that slavery good anything else bad me in charge.  This doesn't work so well for creating an empire.

 

Building an empire requires determination , hard work, and self-sacrifice, along with a lot of ruthlessness.  Which is true of the people who drove the frontier Westwards (and their contemporaries in Siberia.  Paul Johnson is good at drawing parallels between the Russian and US versions of Manifest Destiny).

The Planter elite, however, were fundamentally lazy, creating a pastiche of European aristocratic society.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

a pastiche of European aristocratic society

Nothing in the least aristo about any of them, or the way they lived.  They were violent, cruel, selfish, greedy and utterly without self-control about anything, with perhaps a single exception of George Washington.  But his somewhat younger contemporary Jefferson -- brought up very differently -- no self control whatsoever.    Which is why they always died so deeply in debt their 'family' had to be sold off to pay the debts.  Theodore Roosevelt's grandfather then, sold a young woman to pay for the lavish wedding of his daughter to marry his daughter into a quite wealthy NYC family.

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On 5/7/2022 at 6:31 PM, Zorral said:

 

The other problem with history as one story after another -- for most people, especially when they see it on tv as supposedly factual, or in a novel or a dramatic film or tv series, that's all they get, and often it's just not factual.  But nobody's learned more and stay with what they saw on a screen back when they were kids.  Very frustrating, particularly when teaching history courses.  Ask anyone trying to teach the run-up to the War of the Rebellion and slavery, and what happened afterwards.  And they all believe -- if they are even that erudite -- Shelby Foote's history, thanx to Burns, is the last word -- and he didn't even cite a single source.  Arg

 

I'm not going to argue the veracity of Burns the documentarian. At the time, The Civil War was amazing in its scope and production.  I was in high school and enthralled.  But, for me, as a voracious reader in general, it spurned me to read other things and to find out more beyond just the story.  Thus I was able to see that there was more to Shelby Foote than what he presented. 

I also think that, should it be made today, from scratch, Ken Burns would present The Civil War much differently. 

 

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The information that was left out, that Shelby Foote wasn't a reliable or any kind of historian, was known then. That's truly the problem with TV historians.  They ignore what academic and other historians know in favor of telling a comfy story.

That said, it is agree that very often, for the young, these tv presentations (and others) do spark an interest, and they continue to research.  But far more often the kids takeaway from tv historians is all they have, for the rest of their lives, and get very angry when the more comfy story is challenged. And that, as we see, is a huge problem -- so huge that politicians are criminalized the non-comfy information.

Further, the author of this book who thinks Burns is the greatest there ever was -- shows over and over how little he himself understands US history or its non-comfy retellings. Like almost all Brits I've encountered speaking to the US War of the Rebellion and the figures that emerged out of it -- they honestly don't get it.  His take on President Grant is so wrong, for instance.  He relies entirely on Chernow's bio of Grant, which, believe me, who have read many histories and bios of Grant, his family members, the war, the context, leading up to, during and after the war, as well as many primary dox, Cherow's book is bad.  It is carele$$ly done, rapidly, in the wake of the new popularity of his Hamilton bio due to the musical -- which is also historically poor, though the book deserves all the praise and prizes it received.  It depended enormously upon Chernow's assistants ....

In fact, the very best biography of Grant I've encountered is American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, from 2016, by Ronald C. White, which incorporates a great deal of original, new research, which Chernow, unlike with his Hamilton, did not do.  Chernow's later book got all the attention -- this one hardly any.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Currently reading Chums (2022) by Simon Kuper  -- the guys who from the gitgo didn't hide their preference for a class-based, toxic, bankrupt, let-them-eat-cake England -- as I always say, believe what They Say, for They will do it -- just as so many from the same era here in the USA never hid, at least among themselves, their desire to rid the US of democracy and, especially, women's autonomy.   Quoting here from today's review in the NYT.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/books/simon-kuper-book-oxford.html

Quote

 

.... Kuper also has an Oxford-rooted explanation for “partygate,” the catchall term for illegal festivities at No. 10 Downing Street, which Johnson attended, breaking laws about socializing that his own government had passed at the height of the pandemic.

In Kuper’s telling, indifference to law was — and remains — a prominent feature of the all-male Bullingdon Club, a raucous group of wealthy undergrads who gather occasionally to eat, drink and break things at a restaurant of their choosing. Cameron and Johnson, both Bullingdon members, attended a 1987 dinner at which someone tossed a potted plant through a restaurant window. 

“The message of the Bullingdon,” Kuper says, “is ‘we make the rules, we can do whatever we want.’”

Kuper graduated in 1992 with a degree in history and German, and his future remained on a similar track as the chums when he and others went into what he calls “the rhetoric industries.” With its tradition of narrowly focused curriculums, Oxford had taught them how to read, write, and jabber ironically, but little about science, finance or much beyond their major. ....

 

 

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

The information that was left out, that Shelby Foote wasn't a reliable or any kind of historian, was known then. That's truly the problem with TV historians.  They ignore what academic and other historians know in favor of telling a comfy story.

That said, it is agree that very often, for the young, these tv presentations (and others) do spark an interest, and they continue to research.  But far more often the kids takeaway from tv historians is all they have, for the rest of their lives, and get very angry when the more comfy story is challenged. And that, as we see, is a huge problem -- so huge that politicians are criminalized the non-comfy information.

Further, the author of this book who thinks Burns is the greatest there ever was -- shows over and over how little he himself understands US history or its non-comfy retellings. Like almost all Brits I've encountered speaking to the US War of the Rebellion and the figures that emerged out of it -- they honestly don't get it.  His take on President Grant is so wrong, for instance.  He relies entirely on Chernow's bio of Grant, which, believe me, who have read many histories and bios of Grant, his family members, the war, the context, leading up to, during and after the war, as well as many primary dox, Cherow's book is bad.  It is carele$$ly done, rapidly, in the wake of the new popularity of his Hamilton bio due to the musical -- which is also historically poor, though the book deserves all the praise and prizes it received.  It depended enormously upon Chernow's assistants ....

In fact, the very best biography of Grant I've encountered is American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, from 2016, by Ronald C. White, which incorporates a great deal of original, new research, which Chernow, unlike with his Hamilton, did not do.  Chernow's later book got all the attention -- this one hardly any.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Currently reading Chums (2022) by Simon Kuper  -- the guys who from the gitgo didn't hide their preference for a class-based, toxic, bankrupt, let-them-eat-cake England -- as I always say, believe what They Say, for They will do it -- just as so many from the same era here in the USA never hid, at least among themselves, their desire to rid the US of democracy and, especially, women's autonomy.   Quoting here from today's review in the NYT.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/books/simon-kuper-book-oxford.html

 

I think Foote was fine on the purely military aspects of the conflict.  But, he had little to say about the politics.  And, there is no way that Nathan Bedford Forrest can be deemed a hero.

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