Wednesday, July 30, 2008

News---Close Up The Ranks! Center Dress! : The Community Loses One Of the Good Ones

In the month of July, Alan Nolan passed on. Nolan, an R.E.Lee and Iron Brigade scholar was involved in research and discussions concerning historiography. Nolan was sensitive to the myths that had grown around one of the most famous generals of the war. He practiced law in Indiana and brought his research and critical thinking skills to the primary sources. Nolan tipped over Lee's pedestal and brought forth a discussion of the Lost Cause historigraphy that had placed Lee there.

Professor Randall Miller reviewed Lee Considered with the following remarks:

Marching in the tracks of such historians as Bruce Catton, Thomas Connelly, and T. Harry Williams, Nolan tries to unhorse the mythic Lee. In pointing out the contradictions between the legend and the man, Nolan shows that Lee the slaveholder was not antislavery, that the reluctant secessionist endorsed Southern independence, that the general lost the war by his repeated offensive thrusts and provincial vision--and more. Lawyer Nolan's brief challenges all the commonplaces by insisting that we look at the record rather than the legend in viewing the man, and through him, the war itself. Nolan's debunking is less original than he claims, and his own reading of Lee is somewhat idiosyncratic. But he makes a forceful case for rethinking Lee and all the myths his memory has draped over the Lost Cause. A provocative book, highly recommended for university and major public libraries.

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