Augustus Buell's "The Cannoneeer" & Honesty In Historical Writing


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suzenatale

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#2
Oh thanks! I saw this on the schedule and wanted to see it. I wrote to the author and he told me it would be online somewhere eventually, but I never did look for it.
 
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#3
Smoke and mirrors and fake news are nothing new. A writer has to be very careful, when gathering clues of the past. While writing my ACW saga, Trapped in the Crossfire, before adapting "facts" into the story, I would find at least two credible sources of written information, not contemporary writers, but people who actually lived in the era. I found that family legends have a grain of truth, but also some fabrication.
 

Cavalry Charger

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#5
What an interesting talk @Joshism , and what a salutary warning to all writers of historical fiction! Research is key, as is the necessity of citing the work as a piece of fiction drawn from historical fact. If the warning of this talk is to counter writers from writing fictionalized accounts of historical events then I imagine this would be nearly impossible. Most people find the reading of history very dry, and it is not meant for entertainment purposes, but as a form of serious study and most definitely based in facts (as they are known at the time). Fiction draws people into another world, and serves its own purpose in doing so. As long as it is not masquerading as fact only, but honest in its presentation of 'interpreting' these in order to tell a worthwhile story, then I think it can be accepted and enjoyed as such.

Historical fiction was definitely a 'gateway drug' for me. I was already standing at the gate, but historical fiction helped to bring another layer to personalities and events that probably couldn't have been achieved any other way. It is important to make it clear that while certain events, and personas, might be real, the author is 'dramatizing' those events in order for the reader to engage more fully with the story and the characters. It is necessary to put words into characters mouths, and these must be taken with a 'pinch of salt', but also with a dedication on the author's part to have studied that character, and understand them as fully as possible. Otherwise you are doing the character, and the reader, a disservice.

Many stories would not have been written, or movies made, if the writers had hesitated based on the possibility that their dramatizations would be taken completely as fact, rather than a mixture of both. We can create new characters and place them in an historical context, or we can take real characters and interpret them in their historical setting. It is a delicate balance, and one that must be achieved with a high level of accuracy. The writer has a responsibility, and that's what I will take from this talk.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Joshism

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#6
Things I took from this:

Fraudulent writing isn't new, nor is media indifferent to the truth.

A good fake can fool alot of people.

Historical fiction should be clearly labeled as such and authors should not present fiction as fact.

Historians should not take memoirs as absolute fact and should do basic research to verify a memoir by an obscure individual. Buell's memoir is pretty easy to debunk simply because his service record shows ge was in a completely different regiment in a different branch of service.
 

suzenatale

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May 25, 2013
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#7
Things I took from this:

Fraudulent writing isn't new, nor is media indifferent to the truth.

A good fake can fool alot of people.

Historical fiction should be clearly labeled as such and authors should not present fiction as fact.

Historians should not take memoirs as absolute fact and should do basic research to verify a memoir by an obscure individual. Buell's memoir is pretty easy to debunk simply because his service record shows ge was in a completely different regiment in a different branch of service.
Yup. Good lessons.
I cant believe I didnt think to check soldiers and sailors on Buel until after reading this.

I must say though I'm tickled that the one guy who said he didnt like Chamberlain when he met him didnt actually meet him then, or maybe ever.
 

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