they claim to be historically researched,rnthey lack any connection with or understandingrnof the spirit of the tunes andrnpeoples, the social and psychologicalrncontext, they are allegedly portraying.rnThey are historical soap operas, panderingrnto the most superficial sentimentalitiesrnand concupiscences of our own timernrather than educating us to the far andrnunknown country of the past.rnWhat such a decline reveals, ofrncourse, is what everybody already knows,rnthat the powers-that-be in Americanrncultural logistics have essentially lost (orrnrather never had) any connection withrnthe fabric of American histor and society,rnor indeed of Western civilization:rnthey live in a multicultural world ofrnephemeral slogans and stimulations.rnThe English are not quite so degenerate,rnin this respect at least, as measuredrnby the fine set of historical romancesrnabout the American War Between thernStates that have issued in rapid successionrnfrom the pen of Bernard Cornwcll.rnThe recently published Battle Flag followsrnThe Starbuck Chronicles, Copperhead,rnand Rebel, which are already inrnmass paperback editions. Cornwell, whornbefore he turned to our war was alreadyrnwell-known for his Sharpe’s Rifles storiesrnof the Napoleonic wars, has the virtues ofrnthose older historical romancers mentionedrnabove.rnThe hero, Nate Starbuck, is thernscapegrace son of a Boston Abolitionistrnpreacher who finds himself in Richmondrnat the outbreak of the war and is adoptedrninto the Southern community and army.rnStarbuck is a convincing character, withrnpsychic depth, and Cornwell includesrnhim with a panoply of other charactersrnwho, unlike Jakes’ or Haley’s, actuallyrnthink, talk, and act like real 19th-centuryrnAmericans. The characters sometimesrnverge on caricature, but they are authenticrnand well-drawn caricatures; that is,rnthey are genuine representative types.rnAs Starbuck participates in the fate ofrnthe Confederate Army of Northern Virginiarnin Falconer’s Legion—Battle Flagrnconcludes with Second Manassas—hernencounters a host of real Southerners,rnand some real Northerners as well.rnThere is the supercilious blueblood, therntough mountaineer sergeant, the coun-rnTo order these books, (24hrs, 365 days)rnplease call (800) 962-6651 (Ext. 5200)rntry schoolmaster who de’elops an unexpectedrntaste and capacity for warfare, thernborn-again slave trader, and many others.rnThese characters ring true as realrntypes from our past. And on each sidernthere is the ambiguous mixture of goodrnand evil, honor and vilcness. For instance,rnof two Southern Unionists one isrna sincere Abolitionist and the other arnplundering opportunist. Real historicalrnpersonages—in Battle Flag, John Popernand Stonewall Jackson—are integratedrnskillfully by Cornwell and portrayedrnauthentically. His battle narratives arcrnas well done, as vivid, moving—andrnwrenching—as the^ can be.rnIt is important that Americans regainrna real sense of our history that transcendsrnthe slogans and cartooning of the massrnmedia. We will not get it from the vastrnestablishment of academic historianshiprnwhich has bureaucratized itself into irrelevancernto the public discourse. Historians,rnincreasingly and for the most part,rnspeak only to each other (and even thenrnthey don’t listen). If we do begin to recoverrnsome sense of the past, it may bernfrom writers like Cornwell. The StarbuckrnChronicles is a pleasant and easy place tornstart your reeducation on the War Betweenrnthe States.rnClyde Wilson is a professor of Americanrnhistory at the University of SouthrnCarolina.rnBrief MentionsrnHarry Elmer Barnes As I Knew Him.rnBy Robert II. Barnes (Worland,rnWyoming: I Ugh Plains PublishingrnCompany, Inc.), 129 pp., $19.50rn”Harry’s gone mad,” yelled Mrs. Barnes.rn”I just saw him running around the sidernof the house with a gun, mutteringrnsomething about the plumbers.” YoungrnRobert ran outside, and there found hisrndad, distinguished historian and man ofrnletters, lying on his belly, blasting awayrnwith his old Arm- rifle at the foundationrnof their house. “The g-damn plumbersrnhave been chipping away at this wall forrntwo days,” explained Harry, “A hundredrnrounds of this will take care of it beforernthe bastards bankrupt me!” RobertrnBarnes’s delightful reminiscence of hisrnfather reminds us of a time when realrnmen still existed. Whether arguing,rndrinking, hunting, or cussing, HarryrnElmer Barnes li’ed life with a gusto thatrnis rare and rarely acceptable today. Herninherited from the pietism of his parentsrnand from the austere rural region of UpstaternNew York, where he was born inrn1889 and raised on a farm, both a faith inrnthe virtues of hard work and honesty andrna short tolerance for anyone lacking thernsame. Not unlike his good friend H.L.rnMencken, he was master of the bon motrnwho took pride in the force and ingenuityrnof his invective. His comment aboutrnone of Robert’s girlfriends—”She has allrnthe beauty, charm and erudition of a 10-rnmonth-old heifer”—was characteristic ofrnhim, both as a father and as leader of thernhistoriographical school known as Revisionism.rnFrom World War I to the TetrnOffensive, no American scholar spokernmore honestly about, and fought morerntirelessly against, American globalismrnin its various guises—whether as arnwar against communism, a crusade forrnhuman rights, or a rendezvous withrndestiny—than Harry Barnes. The terserntitles of his essays and catchphrases fromrnhis prose—Perpetual War for PerpetualrnPeace, the “Court Historians,” thern”Blackout Boys,” the “Smearbund”—rnremind us how old political correctnessrnreally is in this country and how difficultrnit has always been to speak truth to power.rnHe taught at Harvard, Columbia,rnand a half-dozen other schools; was onernof the chief editorialists for the Scripps-rnHoward newspaper chain; and leftrnbehind some 40 volumes of scholarshiprnand cultural comment. Barnes died inrn1968 at the age of 80, dropping dead inrnmid-sentence as he rose from table andrnoffered his guests a caustic toast to thernnew Republican candidate for President.rn”To Richard Milhous Nixon, may thernson-rn-Theodore PappasrnFor Immediate ServicernCHRONICLESrnNEW SUBSCRIBERSrnTOLL FREE NUMBERrn1.800-877-5459rn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn