Ron Chernow and Brian Lamb Discuss Ulysses S. Grant

I’m guessing “Q&A” is an occasional replacement for “Booknotes.”

Here’s another hour-long chat at another venue the previous week:



Two Scholars on Grant

Neither one is Ron Chernow. But here’s John Marszalek, who headed a team of scholars who worked on providing us with an annotated edition of the Personal Memoirs, and Charles W. Calhoun, who has provided us with the long-awaited Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.

Matthew Heimbach’s World

Guess who was interviewed on CBSN/On Assignment tonight?

Virginia Flagger favorite Matthew Heimbach.

That’s right … this guy …

Oops ha ha

… the one marching next to Susan Frise Hathaway.

Remember, the Flaggers said that it was local Charlottesville officials, and not Heimbach and his fellow white supremacists, who were responsible for what happened at Charlottesville.

They still work well together, don’t they?


This weekend groups of individuals gathered at Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest … something. What the groups were protesting is not quite clear: that the protest was an unfiltered expression of white supremacy is quite clear.

Images of whites brandishing tiki torches by the Rotunda at the University of Virginia filled Friday evening social media. The next day, the protests moved to Emancipation Park, ostensibly to object to the efforts by the Charlottesville City Council to relocate the equestrian monument of Robert E. Lee still standing at what was once called Lee Park, just north of downtown Richmond. Counterprotesters soon appeared, as did law enforcement. The scene looked rowdy and ugly …

… and then it got worse, when a car bearing Ohio licence plates plowed into a crowd of counterprotestors just south of the pedestrian mall. One woman was killed, nineteen people were injured, according to media reports … and this was in addition to fifteen people reported injured earlier during confrontations during the protest.

My sympathies to the families and friends of those who died today and best wishes for the recovery of those injured. It’s a tragedy.

President Donald J. Trump declared, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Critics noted the president’s failure to single out the white supremacists who instigated the rally: apparently the man who chided others for their inability to say “radical Islamic terrorism” finds saying “white supremacist terrorism” very difficult.

But that at least was better than this:
You can always count on some folks to protect their allies.

Taken together, the events at Richmond’s public hearing this past week concerning what to do with that city’s Confederate statuary and the protests and violence at Charlottesville, as well as the reaction to these events, lead us to several conclusions:

1.  While not all advocates of Confederate heritage are racists, one cannot deny that there are links between certain prominent Confederate heritage groups and white supremacists/nationalists, as the case of Matthew Heimbach suggests.

2.  Confederate heritage advocates generally are muted if not completely silent when it comes the the activities of Confederate Battle Flag-waving white supremacists/nationalists. You won’t see the Virginia Flaggers denounce them; you won’t see Connie Chastain put out memes assailing them; you won’t hear a peep from Virginia Whine Country; and we await the Sons of Confederate Veterans announcing that the use of the CBF in Saturday’s events constitutes a “heritage violation.” In large part this is because a good number of the supporters of such groups share the racial attitudes of white supremacists, as we’ve demonstrated in Chastain’s case. In other cases, they’re just skeered.

3. Charlottesville 2017 may join Charleston 2015 as signposts on the path to the eradication of Confederate symbols on public land. I’ve always thought that white supremacists are their own worst enemies, and, just as Charleston 2015 created a backlash against Confederate symbols, so will Charlottesville 2017.

4. The hearings in Richmond this past week suggested that middle ground between those who want monuments to stay in place without any contextual interpretation and those who want removal (yes, I recall someone recently called for destruction, but let’s set that aside) is eroding quickly. Forced to make a choice between extremes, policymakers and politicians are unlikely to render many decisions that will please advocates of Confederate heritage. Nor will what happened in Charlottesville these past several days help heritage advocates in the long run, in part because of their own flaccid reaction to events. Meanwhile, removal/relocation will pick up support.

I’ve always said that (1) Confederate heritage advocates are their own worse enemies and (2) they seem unwilling to disassociate themselves from white supremacists or denounce them with anywhere near the same vigor with which they assail their critics elsewhere. We are about to see the consequences of those decisions.

George G. Meade Gets Some Respect

At the 2017 Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, institute director Peter Carmichael hosted a roundtable discussion featuring four scholars: John Hennessy, chief historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Military Park; Scott Hartwig, recently retired chief historian, Gettysburg National Military Park; Jennifer Murray, assistant professor of history at UVa-Wise who is engaged in preparing a biography of George G. Meade; and yours truly.



Confederate Heritage: Should We Laugh or Cry?

It’s been a slow year for Confederate heritage, which has found itself increasingly on the defensive and with little ability to rally its forces. Perhaps these latest efforts to rescue the cause suggest why.
Nothing like embracing white supremacy as the cornerstone to your movement. Oddly enough, many radical opponents might agree with a portion of the central argument.

But that’s not all.
And, as for the initial issue …

I would use the ad space to sell tin foil hats.

I find this a rather unattractive flyer that could use a little proofreading. Too bad Confederate heritage spokespeople are design-deficient as well as a little too addicted to tired old slogans that don’t wear well.

Then again, this is just what critics of Confederate heritage desire, so I guess we should encourage more of the same.

Connie Chastain Unplugged … or Unhinged

At a time when so many people are engaged in endless political discussions that fray friendships and embitter foes, there’s always the need for humor … and then, as if by Providence, there appears Connie Chastain.

You’ll remember that Connie loves to produce dust jackets for books that will never appear, earning her the title “The Queen of Forthcoming.” Perhaps that’s in part because of her ability to devise such telling memes as these two:

But Connie can still demonstrate her mastery of the English language, even if the result might be a tad counterproductive. Take this essay:

The Nature of the Monument Destroyers

 The force behind the assault on Confederate heritage is the same force behind the attacks on President Trump. What we are seeing is an enormous psychotic episode, a colossal nervous breakdown by the ultra-left in America because their adored Hillary was defeated.

The left has always been destructive, increasingly so in recent years. But since Trump has been in office — since late January — where he has steadily razed the Obama legacy, they’ve been like an animal in the furious stage of rabies.These people are not Americans. Leftists are socialists. They are the antithesis of Americans. They are destroyers. Since they cannot have our country and transform it into Socialist America, they will destroy it.

Destroying Confederate heritage is an early phase, a trial run, you might say. They have the same fate in mind for the legacy of the Founders… not just monuments and statues, but the very country they crafted. They want to destroy every aspect of the culture — Christianity, the family, private property, education, historical memory, our cultural cohesiveness, our very identity as western man.

Western man. Man. Men. The left hates nothing the way they hate masculinity. From “feminism”, which is not about equality for women but about hating and hurting men … from feminizing industry, education, the military, church leadership, the popular culture, the government to the demonization of “dead white males” the left hates virility.

VIRILE, VIRILITY characterized by a vigorous, masculine spirit: manly character, vigor, or spirit; masculine energy, forcefulness, or strength in a marked degree.

Our Confederate heroes were some of history’s manliest of men. Even in cold, lifeless bronze, Davis, Beauregard and Lee exuded a level of virility that shames Mitch Landrieu.

The nameless Confederate soldiers in marble and granite standing atop pedestals and obelisks across the South shame the typical leftist male — the Michael Moores, the Morris Deeses, the brainwashed antifa, the mindless mobs, the spineless and weak-minded men, leftists themselves or influenced by leftism, who run government at all levels. The closest thing these men have to masculine energy and vigorous spirit is hatred. Oddly enough, this is the same fuel that energizes leftist women — the Hillary Clintons, the Maxine Waterses, the Ashley Judds and the Madonnas — as well.

As we craft and then implement our counter-offensive in the defense of our heritage — and our continued existence and the future for our children (make no mistake, these are in the Left’s crosshairs, as well) — it will do us well to remember the nature of our attackers.

With defenders like these, Confederate heritage is doomed.