Monday, January 24, 2011

A Very Difficult Book To Read

       I'll post a blog a little later, but at the moment I would like to talk about a book I am currently forcing myself to finish reading. Being a writer, I don't normally like to bash another author's book, but I would like to let everyone know to skip this one and save your money.
       The title is Ulysses S. Grant: A Victor, Not A Butcher by Edward Bonekemper. I've only read one hundred of the two hundred and sixty-six pages and maybe I can explain why. So far, Mr. Bonekemper has gone through  the campaigns in which General Grant was involved. I've made it to the Vicksburg Campaign. Mr. Bonekemper seems to be a little lax with facts. 
       The back of the book says that the author "restores Grant's heroic reputation and silences his critics". Becoming frustrated with the book, I decided to skip ahead and see how far this following of Grant's campaigns will go before he begins to convince me that Grant was a military genius. I've found the book acts as a biography of Grant's career and nothing more. The cover of the book will tempt you to buy it, but you find nothing inside thats mentioned on the cover. 
       It seems General Grant is a personal hero of Mr. Bonekemper and he has allowed his personal thoughts on his subject to interfere with writing the truth of the subject. I'll give you one example and there are many more. He says that Grant had a grand plan for the destruction of Confederate General Price's army at Iuka, Mississippi. According to Mr. Bonekemper, Grant's subordinates failed him. He goes on to say that Rosecrans fought the battle, while Ord sat by idly doing nothing. This is true, but he fails to mention that Grant was with Ord and he was the ranking officer. The author then goes on to double the Confederate army's casualties to show that Rosecrans had the battle won alone and failed to follow up the victory. 
       I have over 400 books on the Civil War and rarely do I criticize an author, but I have to admit this guy has rewritten history in his own mind. Grant is not a hero of mine, but he also wasn't an idiot. I thought this guy would publish facts to make his point, but I guess some of the facts he needed just weren't there. 
       Thanks for listening to my rant. I'll get another story posted sometime today. Tim.

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