The American Enterprise magazine, a slick-paper, coffee-table arm of the neocon publishing empire, has recognized the premiere of the Civil War film epic “Gods and Generals” by devoting its March issue to the Late Unpleasantness. TAE brings out some deep thinkers to examine American history 1861 – 1865 under the rubric “Just War.” (Shouldn’t there be a question mark in that title? Just for the sake of suspense, if nothing else.)
A proverbial put-down of historical works which presume to be original and important goes like this: the part that is original is not accurate and the part that is accurate is not original. The reverse is nearer true for TAE. What is new is the only accurate and interesting part: that is Bill Kauffman’s review of the movie along with his informative interview with the film’s creator, Ronald Maxwell.
But then, Bill Kauffman is not a neocon but a Western New York populist stranded far from home.
Historian Jay Winik contributes a piece on the current Lincoln criticism which makes the standard, respectable case of historians who actually know something about the subject but are loath to disturb the Lincolnian nationalist mythology: Yes, some bad things happened under Abe, but they were unavoidable necessities, and after all the end justifies the means.
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