OPINIONSrnSouthern Supplementsrnby Clyde Wilsonrn”We have sung of the soldiers and sailors, but who shall hymn the politicians?”rn—Herman MelvillernNathan Bedford Forrest:rnA Biographyrnby ]ack HurstrnNew York: Alfred A. Knopf;rn434 pp., $30.00rnRichard Taylor: Soldier Princernof Dixiernby T. Michael ParrishrnChapel Hill: University ofrnNorth Carolina Press;rn570 pp., $34.95rnThe Civil War World ofrnHerman Melvillernby Stanton GarnerrnLawrence: University Press of Kansas;rn544 pp., $29.95rnThe great classicist and poet A.E.rnHousman once wrote that the workrnof a scholar in the humanities is not likernthat of a scientist examining specimensrnunder a microscope—it is more like thernwork of a dog searching for fleas. Hous-rnClyde Wilson is a professor of historyrnat the University of South Carolina.rnman thus punctured the scientific pretensionsrnof some humanists and made anrnappeal for the old-fashioned virtues ofrnpainstaking work, common sense, andrnhumble judgment. As another greatrnBritish scholar, Veronica Wedgwood, putrnit: “History is an art—like all the otherrnsciences.”rnIt follows, and is indeed a truism, thatrnall historians are biased. None escapesrnentirely the effects of his allegiances andrnpreoccupations. But it is also true thatrnsome historians are more competent—rnand more honest—than others. Yet anotherrngreat English historian. Sir HerbertrnButterfield, suggested that it is bestrnto trust those historians who are aware ofrnand admit their own biases and who, asrnmuch as possible, separate the scholariyrntask of determining what happened andrnwhy from a personal moral judgment ofrnthese events—and that it is well to suspectrnand discount those historians whornare eager to make sweeping moral condemnations,rnforgetting not only thatrnthere are at least two sides to every questionrnbut that we have all of us been exhortedrnto “judge not, that ye be notrnjudged.”rnIn regard to the Great Unpleasantnessrnin the middle of the last century, whichrnis still the central event in American history,rngood history continues to be writtenrnby serious and honest scholars, despiternthe reign of an official dogma whichrncasts that great and complex happeningrnin the most simplistic and misleadingrnmoralistic terms, as a righteous crusadernfor the suppression of wickedness.rn(What Robert Penn Warren called thernnational “Treasury of Virtue” with respectrnto the Civil War is very obviouslyrnthe parent of political correctness.) Thernauthors of the present literary selectionsrnare creatures of our time, their politicalrnvalues correct and unexceptional. Butrntheir honesty and competence as historiansrnallow them to tell stories that arernunfashionably true, though sometimesrnthey do it a little too apologetically.rnUnlike the other recent biography ofrnBedford Forrest by Brian S. Wills, sornneatly and justly skewered by J.O. Tate inrnChronicles (“Lastest with the Leastest,”rnDecember 1992), Hurst’s is a real contributionrndespite the fact—or perhapsrnbecause of the fact—that he is not a professionalrnacademic. Wills’ biographyrncontributed nothing new in data or inrnidea except to deconstruct the fascinat-rn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn