Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 27 -- U.S. Grant at Mt. McGregor, New York

Saturday, June 25, 2016

140th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

June 25 is the 140th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. These images are by photographer Richard Throssel [University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, Richard Throssel Papers], including two from the 50th anniversary, and one photo (headstone) I took myself. Sunrise on Custer Battlefield, the Three Scouts on Last Stand Hill, and anniversary ceremonies. The man in the headdress is White Man Runs Him, one of Custer's Crow scouts, who lies buried in the National Cemetery down the hill.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"This research presents a crucial corrective to the Lost Cause version of history"

With Free State of Jones, Hollywood’s Civil War
Comes Closer to History’s

Pop Culture May Finally Be Ready to Surrender the Myth of a Noble,
Confederate Lost Cause . . .
by Victoria Bynum, June, 23, 2016

The events in Jones County demonstrate a larger truth of dissent and violence that erupted throughout the South during the Civil War. This research presents a crucial corrective to the Lost Cause version of history that afflicts us still—not simply in movies and novels, but also in the classroom, where even my college students have frequently assured me that “Granny said our slaves were treated just like family in the old days,” or on internet message boards and chat rooms, where self-proclaimed authorities insist the Civil War was never really about slavery. 
Scholars like myself have long struggled against this version of Civil War history. It was created only around the turn of the 20th century, when a few influential Northern and Southern historians strove to heal the war-damaged United States by creating a more conciliatory vision of the Civil War and Reconstruction. 
Denouncing the war as a needless slaughter brought on by politicians, historians such as William Archibald Dunning and his followers portrayed the Reconstruction that followed as a tragic era of “Negro rule,” carpetbagger corruption, and scalawag treason. The Dunning School soft-peddled slavery’s role as the major cause of war. The myth of a Civil War fought over “states’ rights” hardened into orthodoxy, providing a “noble cause” for white Southerners seeking to sanctify the sacrifices and deaths of their ancestors.
read the full article here 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Steve Adelson on the Battle of the Little Bighorn

As we approach the 140 anniversary, let's review. Park Ranger Steve Adelson gave a spirited talk on the Visitor Center back patio in August of 2014, captured for posterity by C-SPAN. 

I like this talk a lot. Condensing such a big story into such a small talk—all of the background information, the biographies, the infinitely complicated context—for a diverse crowd of mostly first-time visitors, is an art form. Some do it better than others. Steve Adelson does it very well, I think. 

[My only (nitpicking) gripe about the presentation has to do with the video editing. There is no known photograph of Crazy Horse, but this film seems to suggest that's what you're looking at on a couple of occasions.]


Friday, June 10, 2016

"The Bombing of Fort Point (Battle of San Francisco)"

 "The Bombing of Fort Point (Battle of San Francisco)"  Oil on Canvas, 43" x 54", 1996 

In Smog and Thunder: The Great War of the Californias
    Sandow Birk

A series of artworks depicting an imaginary war between San Francisco and Los Angeles, incorporating more than 120 artworks, including paintings, drawings, prints, faux war posters, maps, diagrams, models, and video documentary. 
The project was exhibited at the Laguna Art Museum in Southern California in 2000, and at the Sonoma Art Museum in Northern California in 2001. 
A 45 min. documentary film about the war, inspired by Ken Burns' PBS series "The Civil War", was completed in 2001 and is now available. It was directed by Sean Meredith and made in collaboration with Paul Zaloom. View other images in the series here

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Dr. John H. Eicher, 1921–2016

"The world has lost a great and a good man with the passing on Tuesday, June 7, of Dr. John H. Eicher, organic chemist, Manhattan Project scientist, mineralogist, historian, philosopher of science, and promoter of sharing the joy of knowledge with his fellow human beings."
Read more about Dr. Eicher in this Astronomy magazine tribute

John Eicher made lasting contributions in many areas of study. He and his son David collaborated on several Civil War book projects, including the magisterial reference work, Civil War High Commands (Stanford University Press, 2002).  


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Matthew McConaughey on "Free State of Jones"

Congratulations to Victoria Bynum on the forthcoming release of a major movie based on her book, "The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War." It promises to be a great film about an amazing, deeply American story. Official trailer.
I was promoting the story of the Free State of Jones (glorified book review) way back when Matthew McConaughey was still fighting dragons ( Reign of Fire, 2002).