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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our John Bell Hood book---A Real Review? And do you need a Ph.D. to Produce True Scholarship?

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A blogger and a few commentators have launched shots across the book bow that our recently released John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General by Stephen Hood has not really had "real reviews." I think one can argue this assertion has a patina of validity. Sales, emails, calls, and the large number of 4- and 5-star "reviews" on Amazon and word-of-mouth is strong anecdotal support for the quality of the work. I have been in the business long enough to know. Reading these sorts of tea leaves is my business at this stage of a release.

Lo and behold, a reader posted THIS OPINION on Amazon recently. I wonder whether this qualifies as a "real review" in the mind of those who follow such things? I am assuming the poster is a real reader. (Eric Wittenberg shot me a note that he knows "Dan" and he is a serious CW student. If memory serves, Eric has written a few books and has actually had some of them evaluated in "real reviews.") I am thus assuming that "Dan" thinks, breathes, reads, evaluates, checks sources, and reaches conclusions. Or is this simply an opinion tossed up by one of the great unwashed because it did not originate from one of the holy esteemed publications of academia or flow from one who pontificates armed with a Ph.D.?  (The publishing stories I could share with you gleaned behind the scenes on this score would keep you from wasting some of your money on a college education.)

Speaking of which, participate in the poll above, which is at least the cousin of this blog post.

--tps

14 comments:

Brooks Simpson said...

Simply put, I have a Ph.D., and I've never made the claim that one needs it to produce real scholarship. Eric knows my views.

TPS said...

Brooks, I have never heard you make such a claim and have no doubt that what you write is accurate. Thanks for stopping by. --tps

BillP said...

Dang, now you've made me order the dang book!!

Well played Ted, well played.

TPS said...

Hi Bill, I am laughing, but I am pleased and I know and believe you will be too. We work hard to publish only worthwhile books, and I am convinced you will close this one with a much greater appreciation for Hood and the historiography of the war.

Thanks of course for your support. We appreciate it and I look forward to hearing what you think about this new book. Have a nice Sunday evening.

--tps

Total said...

Wait, what? You're holding up a review on Amazon by someone only identified by a first name? In my world, Ph.D or not, real reviews are done by people who put forth their full names.

Yeesh.

TPS said...

@Total. Wait, what? Actually . . . no. A blogger and I are having a little tongue-in-check insider fun on the side. He noted on his blog that none of the reviews on Amazon appeared to actually review the book. So I noted that a new one actually might pass muster in that forum as a legitimate review. You can, of course, post a comment on Amazon and ask the reviewer for his full name. I know who he is, and I am sure he would be happy to provide it for you.

And of course, you could read the book yourself and decide.

Thanks for stopping by.

Total said...

A blogger and I are having a little tongue-in-check insider fun on the side.

"A blogger"? Is there a reason not to call Kevin Levin by his name? And it doesn't read like insider fun.

You can, of course, post a comment on Amazon and ask the reviewer for his full name.

Which has nothing to do with the fact that he didn't put his full name up in the first place.

TPS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TPS said...

First, if you already know the name of the blogger, then your original protestation is disingenuous.

Second, I can name or not name anyone I damn like, and I don't need the likes of you telling me who to name.

Third, the review you mention is in fact a damn good one, and fair. If you didn’t like it, get your lazy butt onto Amazon and say as much in the comment section.

Fourth, you didn't bother to offer a substantive reply to my suggestion of asking for his full name, which I am sure he would post. Instead, you come back here to waste my time and the time of my readers with nitpicking crap—you must have a lot of time on your hands.

Finally, you post here without listing for the world to see your own full name, but are critical when someone does that on Amazon? Maybe you should change your name from Total to Hypocrite.

Total said...

First, if you already know the name of the blogger, then your original protestation is disingenuous.


The issue is not whether *I* know the name of the blogger, it's why you aren't using it. That's a debating trick ("don't mention the name of your opponent") that's only worthy of a GOP primary debate.

Second, I can name or not name anyone I damn like, and I don't need the likes of you telling me who to name.


You can name whoever you like. Doesn't mean I can't comment on that naming/not-naming if I choose.

Third, the review you mention is in fact a damn good one, and fair. If you didn’t like it, get your lazy butt onto Amazon and say as much in the comment section.


Whether it's good or not is irrelevant to my point: you went off on someone for not accepting something as a "real review" and in my world real reviews have real (and full) names attached to them. Scholars stand up for their reviews by attaching their full names to them; this one didn't.

Fourth, you didn't bother to offer a substantive reply to my suggestion of asking for his full name, which I am sure he would post

Revealing your name ex post facto is not the same thing as putting it on up front. Forcing the reader to ask is definitely not.

Finally, you post here without listing for the world to see your own full name, but are critical when someone does that on Amazon?

Ah, so you agree that having one's full name attached to something gives it weight, huh?

The difference is that I'm not claiming that this is a real review of a piece of history, nor am I using it to take shots at an (unnamed) blogger.

TPS said...

Come on. Seriously. This is really my ex-wife harping and stomping her feet about nothing, right?

And thanks for reminding me. I just made a donation to the GOP--and the NRA. (Now, where did I put my sheet, pointed hat, and Nazi flag? Damn. I always lose the important stuff.)

--tps

Total said...

So you can post your response but not my comment?

Coward.

(The thing about moderation is that you're still reading my comments and that's who I'm talking to)

TPS said...

Thanks for calling me a coward. I hit publish, twice. I think it is there now. But keep showing your colors. It is good for people to read what you have to say.

Open mike: Continue . . . .

Total said...

You're welcome. I withdraw it, given that you did publish my comment.

As to showing my colors, why yes, among other things, I refer to the people I'm talking about by their names, not as "blogger" this and "blogger" that. If that's showing my colors, then I'm proud to do it.