Monday, September 8, 2008

General Orders Twenty-Two

I'm sorry for the long delay in posting, but I have had quite a week. Everything I touched fell apart, so I spent the week putting out fires.

I have to admit that it was discouraging week. A new biography on Stuart will be available at the end of this month, and I purchased a DVD lecture by Tom Perry, a noted Stuart expert. I thought to myself, does the Civil War community need another biography on Jeb Stuart. What else is left to be said.

I've mentioned this before, but I asked one of my history professors about this very thing. If the "definitive" volume has been written, should I even attempt to research and write another. He said yes! He was emphatic and said that I would bring my own understanding of the subject and that understanding was just as important as any other book written.

I thought he was being kind... but this weekend, at the library, I picked up the latest biography on Princess Diana. I am a Diana fan. I have read all the books about her (probably own most). So, I have to admit that I expected to find the same stories recounted. But no. This is probably the best book written about Diana, even though I would recommend more if the author wasn't so snarky and mean. I guess when you sit high above your subject and can look down your judgemental nose at her and despise her for her flaws (which we all have but the author) well, let's just say it gets old. But the author had an inside seat, and I've learned a great deal. This is exciting because I didn't think there was anything left to say about the Princess.

So what does that mean. That I am presently researching a biography on Jeb Stuart with aim of publishing my own understanding on Lee's Young Major General. I do see him differently then the Stuart I have come to know in magazines or in recent biographies. So, I do have something to offer to the historiography.

This is not a bold statement or even an arrogant one. I just have something to say about Stuart, so I plan to say it.