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Posted June 26, 2007
good questions, but some wrong answers
I bought this book in Gettysburg awhile back. I've been studying the Civil War for almost fifteen years. I got the book to test what I know. Interestingly though, there are some parts in this book where maybe the author should be tested on what he knows. I don't commonly point out common mistakes in historical nonfiction. But when a trivia book gives the wrong answer to its own questions more than once, I thought it only just that I make aware to potential buyers. Here are a few examples to look out for: page 112: Q What body of uniformed black troops is believed to have been first to organize and drill? A. The First South Carolina Volunteers, summer of 1862. (this is incorrect. The First South Carolina Volunteers was a Union black regiment, though not the first black unit in the Civil War. The credit, however, belongs to the 1st Louisiana volunteers, an all black unit that fought for the Confederacy and helped defend New Orleans. They were organized and drilled in the spring of 1861). page 115: Q On April 18, 1861, the first serious bloodshed of the war occurred between what two groups of combatants? A. The Sixth Massachusetts Infantry and civilians, known as the Baltimore Riots. (The author is very biased in this question and answer. For 1, why did the author use the term combatants to describe civilians? Were the civilians associated in the Boston Massacre considered combatants even though they used bats and bricks against the English just as the civilians in Baltimore? I can't help but imagine that if the South had won the war, it would have been called the Baltimore Massacre rather than the riots. Just as if England had won the revolution, the Boston Massacre would have been called the Boston Riots!) Q What was the first pitched battle west of the Mississippi River? A. Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 7-8 1862 (This is a totally incorrect answer by any standard. The first battle, pitched or not was the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri. August 10, 1861. I wondered if the author had chosen the Pea Ridge battle, many months later, because it was, unlike Wilson's Creek, a Union victory). Page 118 Q What was the first and only Confederate unit official to be named for a person? A. The Stonewall Brigade (This in fact is inaccurate. There were many units in Confederate service named for an officer. Examples: Walker's Texas Division, The Beauregard Guards (Company E 15th Alabama), Enterprise Tigers (Company D 37th Mississippi), Hill's Light Division, Stuart's flying artillery) Aside from the fact that these and various other examples of answers were completely false you can see that some of these false answers lean in favor of the Union cause and myth. Some of these false answers appear as a tacky attempt to glorify one side over the other. By omitting the true answers to some of these questions like the one considering the first actual black unit to drill, the author censures any truth that would give any moral credit to the South! My point is made not only in the lack of truth in some of the answers but also by the lack of questions that would serve the reader a greater understand of the Southern side. Example: There were dozens of questions and answers regarding Lincoln. Less than five regarding Davis. There are no questions or answers regarded the general feeling of bad feeling toward bad race relations and slavery among Confederate troops and officers. There are no questions regarding the secession histories of the Southern states or their official causes. There are no mention of the interesting less known facts such as...Jefferson Davis once was married to President Zachary Taylor's Daughter, Sarah Taylor. (If she had lived, she would not only of been the First lady of the Confederacy but also the daughter of a president of the United States.) No mention of the sons of x presidents of the US fighting for the Confederacy including General Richard Taylor. No mention that one x p
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