36 I CHRONICLESnsweeping claims to truth whether it benfrom the party or a literary giant.nSolzhenitsyn’s creative and historicalnwork is epic in nature. Voinovich isna satirist capable of laughing at himselfnand others while Solzhenitsyn feelsnresponsible for saving Russian history,nlanguage, and literature. It grates uponnother Soviet emigre writers thatnSolzhenitsyn is not on the publishingncircuit and stays in his high whitenhouse.nfn!l’nVoinovich seems to have agreednwith the more modest claims to truthnof Vasily Grossman, the Soviet authornoiLife and Fate, which he smugglednout of the Soviet Union in 1980.nGrossman, who died a victim of grossnSoviet repression, believed in the spontaneousnacts of human kindness whichnhad little to do with the absolutistnclaims to the Good made by fascists.nCommunists, or religion.nWhen shooting sacred cows, it’snimportant to make the distinction betweennthe cow and the sacred. In 2042nVoinovich makes one consider which isnwhich in a most entertaining way.nMichael Warder is executive vicenpresident of The Rockford Institute.nA Public Benefactornby James E. Person Jr.nFrock Coats and Epaulets:nPsychological Portraits ofnConfederate Military and PoliticalnLeaders by Alf J. Mapp Jr.,nLanham, MD: Hamilton Press.n”Of all the frauds that ever have beennperpetrated on our generation, thisn’psychography’ is the worst,” wrotenDouglas Southall Freeman a fewnweeks before his death, adding, “Howndare a man say what another man isnthinking when he may not know whatnhe himself is thinking!” This criticismnis what the distinguished biographer ofnRobert E. Lee and George Washingtonnstrove to impart to the many aspiringnhistorians and biographers who hadnover the years approached him fornadvice. One of them, Alf J. Mapp Jr.,nnow long established as a formidablenscholar of American history in his ownnright, has not by design sought tonmatch Freeman’s famed exhaustive detailnin the book at hand, which itself is anrevised edition of a book originallynpublished a quarter-century ago. Henhas, though, produced compelling andninsightful short biographies of six militarynand political leaders who arose innthe American South during the fouryearnexistence of the ConfederatenStates of America.nRespecting Freeman’s above-mentionednremarks, delivered before anmeeting of the Chicago and RichmondnCivil War Round Tables inn1953, Mapp has not written psychographicsnin Frock Coats and Epaulets,nbut instead lively, anecdotal biographies,nstriving throughout to let his sixnprincipals —Jefferson Davis, Judah P.nBenjamin, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart,nJoseph E. Johnston, and Lee —neach tell his own story in his ownnwords. Psychological guesswork, therefore,nhas no part in the book, with eachnof the portraits augmented by informationnculled from contemporary newspapernaccounts, official Confederatenwar records, private family papers, thenpublished reminiscences of the subjects’nrelatives and of Confederate veterans,nand important historical worksnpublished since that national conflagrationnwhich Jackson called the “SecondnWar for Independence.”nAs might be expected, these sixnstudies at times overlap. “The mannwho is a mere spear carrier in onenchapter, or perhaps is only a disembodiednvoice from the wings, may be thenchief protagonist in the next,” writesnMapp in his foreword. Read as a singlenunit. Frock Coats and Epaulets thusnprovides a prismatic view of the subjects’ncharacters. The reader seesnJohnston, for example, through thenadmiring eyes of Lee, the wary eyes ofnJackson, and from the bitterly frustrated,nfed-up-to-the-eyebrows perspectivenof Davis. A composite portrait slowlynemerges, and with it a deeper understandingnof the complex figures Mappnhas chosen to examine.nMapp’s primary concern, he writes.nnn”is not with military or political strategy,nbut with individual character.”nConsidered as such, the Davis, Lee,nand Stuart studies are especially wellnrendered. Davis, whose story opensnthe volume, stands revealed as the sortnof man of whom legends are made;nindeed, some of the episodes of hisnpre-presidential military service innMexico and on the American middlenborder bring to mind excerpts from thenlegend of Davy Crockett. In “RobertnE. Lee: Man of Disciplined Fire,”nMapp departs from Freeman’s perceptionnof the great Virginian as a “simplenman” and traces the influencenwrought upon Lee’s contemporariesnand the course of American history bynthe general’s levelheadedness andnstrong sense of patriotism and honor.nMapp offers convincing evidence thatnLee’s code of noblesse oblige was construednas weakness by some subordinates,nnotably Longstreet, and contributednindirectly but significantly to thenConfederate disaster at Gettysburg.nStuart emerges as a grand and romanticnfigure: the chivalrous self-styledn”Knight of the Golden Spurs”; perhapsnthe world’s last major militarynfigure who spoke, rode, sang, andnfought like a figure from the works ofnDumas or Malory. Fifty years afternStuart’s death at Yellow Tavern, the lastnof his like — if any existed — were cutnto pieces, horses and all, by machinenguns on the mechanized battlefields ofnBelgium and France.nMapp’s knowledge of Civil Warnhistory is solid, and his handling of thenmaterial is sure. A few serious errorsnmar the text (Chickamauga was not anConfederate defeat; General Mc-nDougal’s first name was Irvin, notnCharles), but they are to be noted butnnot dwelled upon, for Mapp has otherv/isendemonstrated a sure knowledge ofnhis subjects, a fair-minded hesitancy tonjudge them, and great skill in thentelling. “The creators of noble booksnabout noble men are public benefactors,”nwrote Dumas Malone of Freeman.nFor such portraits as he hasnrendered in his superb Frock Coatsnand Epaulets, Mapp has establishednhimself, with his mentor, as a publicnbenefactor.nJames E. Person Jr. is editor ofnLiterature Criticism from 1400 ton1800 in Detroit, MI.n