Saturday, July 31, 2010
Too bad he's not as good with his scholarship. I've already run into something that helps explain some of the scorn I've heard expressed by academicians regarding Ambrose's books. I know the Civil War isn't his area (Eisenhower and World War II were his first big love), but even I know that saying Shiloh was Grant's first victory is flatout wrong. But that's what Ambrose does -- apparently his vast herd of minions, the various people serving as his researchers (which appears to be his extended family, i.e., his adult children), somehow managed to skip right over Fort Donelson. The fall of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland opened the way south, as well as providing a tremendous morale boost to the Union.
I hate finding bloopers like this in books, especially really early on in a book. Nothing Like It in the World is sufficiently interesting that I'm going to keep reading, but Ambrose's slip regarding Grant and Shiloh means I'm now going to be a little bit skeptical about everything he describes.