As a writing teacher of several decades, I never cared for the advice “write like you talk.” Most people don’t talk all that well. Besides, writing is a different process from talking. Talking is easy. Writing is hard. But “write like you talk” was the advice that Ulysses S. Grant got from Robert S. Johnson, […]
This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,251) on July 27, 2018 The summer is fully upon us here in East Tennessee — heat, humidity, and tomatoes. We always plant far more tomato plants than we need, and we are always surprised, with a bit of mock-horror thrown in, at how […]
The battle of Shiloh during two April days in 1862 proved to William Tecumseh Sherman that he could be what he always wanted to be – a success. See Two failures who save each other – and then saved the nation (part 1). Sherman had not been successful at very much during his adult life. […]
Well into his adult life, Cump Sherman considered himself a failure. So did others. He had attended West Point and had accomplished some relative successes in his military career. But when he left the army, he proceeded to fail at everything he tried. His health — he suffered from asthma — and his mental stability were […]
Jim Stovall’s email newsletter for July 14, 2017 Hi there, I hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. Reviews Writers always want people to read their books, and they want their readers to love what they read. But what the writer needs is honesty. That’s why I alway suggest […]
Once again, we are sharing a post with the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable. Note: The annual anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg is this weekend. To commemorate that, we are posting, with permission, excerpts from Battlelines: Gettysburg, that describe aspects of the battle. Battlelines: Gettysburg contains the battlefield drawings of Alfred Waud and Edwin Forbes, […]
Gettysburg is so iconic — particularly because of the Gettysburg Address that Abraham Lincoln delivered four months after the battle — that we tend to lose sight of what it meant to the people who lived during the war.
Historian Brian McKnight, professor at the University of Virginia-Wise, told the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable on Tuesday that partisan fighter and Confederate outlaw Champ Ferguson was a man who saw the world as “black or white.”
The 19th century was just as image conscious as our age, and one of the masters of image was Abraham Lincoln. The sidebar on page 389 of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How tells about a famous photo of Lincoln that was used in the election campaign of 1860.
Many rare and never-before-published drawings of Civil War sketch artists are now available in Battlelines: Gettysburg, newly released by First Inning Press.
Americans waited nearly two years before the news media printed a combat photograph that showed a dead U.S. serviceman. The reasons for that wait were that such producing such photos are too shocking for the friends and families of the deceased and that the public’s morale and support for the war might be diminished. The […]
One of the most dramatic stories of a correspondent covering a battle in the Civil War is that of George Smalley of the New York Tribune and his adventure in getting his description of the battle of Antietam back to New York. Smalley’s first accounts of the 1862 battle were read by President Abraham Lincoln […]
Rable notes how difficult it was to cover such an encounter between armies and how hard it was to get information from the field to the publication for which the reporter worked. One other difficulty that reporters had: figuring out who won. It was not always apparent.
In the video below, George Rable, University of Alabama history professor, discusses the sources of information that newspaper editors during the Civil War used for their reports about battles and the war in general. One important source was letters from soldiers — a form of what we could call today crowdsourcing. This means using the […]
Doris Kerns Goodwin, in her book Team of Rivals, tells an interesting story about the writing of the first inaugural address by Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s second inaugural gets a great deal of attention from historians, but the circumstances of his 1861 speech made it one of the most important addresses ever given to that point […]
The Union Army, under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman, decamped from a devastated and burning Atlanta on November 16, 1864 and marched across the expanse of Georgia until it reached Savannah. The purpose, according to its commander, was to bring the horrors of war into the farms, fields, parlors and living rooms of the […]
For nearly a century and a half, America has been vexed with the question of Nathan Bedford Forrest: Was he a saint or a sinner? Forrest was a general in the Confederate Army, a leader in a band of rangers that harassed and often defeated the Union Army in western Tennessee, northern Alabama and southern […]
What we think about John Singleton Mosby is a mixture of what he did on the battlefields of the Civil War and the myth-making that occurred during and after the war. In this post, author Ed Caudill talks about his book on this expert image-maker. What is real, and what just exists in our mind’s […]
In this week’s newsletter
Read about Joseph Priestly's big writing idea, Facebook's continuing troubles, and drama from the BBC's Radio 4.
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