Amateur historians are ruining Military history… so says tenured academic, Gary Gallagher. Writers lacking the all-powerful Doctor of Philosophy degree cannot possibly possess the discipline required to produce relevant historical studies of the Civil War era. Unless better trained historians emerge from academic rank and file and start producing new scholarship, amateurs will determine what the American public knows about the Civil War! Oh, the horror!
Civil War scholarship is evolving… and the older generation doesn’t like it. Social historians are examining new realms of life during the Civil War era- and the recent sesquicentennial celebrations have been less than enthusiastically embraced by the public. Where does military history fit in this changing landscape? The Civil War is the most written about time period in American historical study- books are being researched and published at an impressive rate. There is room for scholarship on all levels- not just narrowly defined academic criteria. Dr. Gallagher and his cohorts have little to fear from the so-called “amateurs.”