Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stonewall Jackson reconsidered

Stonewall Jackson by James I. Robertson, Jr.

(Macmillan Pub.; 1st edition; February 18, 1997)

Not so impressed on second reading over a decade later. Still huge, still wonderfully researched. But my fascination with Jackson's story & personality the first time around made me overlook the book's flaws, the author's slant & prejudices (among them an aversion to calling a slave a slave, as if we might be reminded what this war was really about). In a book so cognizant of the importance of Jackson's religious beliefs that hardly a page passes without reference to them, the author will not face up to their terrible wrong-headedness, even as he compiles a massive testimony to how mistaken Jackson was. It all culminated, by Jackson's own harsh faith, in his "Prince of Peace" smiting him at the hour of his greatest triumph, insuring the escape of Hooker's army & the failure of Lee's attack on Meade's left at Gettysburg, thereby sealing the fate of a treasonous slave "nation" that never had a moment of political or moral legitimacy,

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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