Pickett's Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack by Phillip Thomas Tucker, Ph.D.

Pickett's Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack by Phillip Thomas Tucker, Ph.D.

Michael W.

First Sergeant
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The Hoosier State
read your exchange with him and also read the thread in question.

I have to look sideways at a historian that cites Wiki as a reference or a source, just my personal prejudice but it ain't the most reliable source out there.
Did he really use Wiki for references? I am not an author, nor do I have a PhD, but my first day in college I was told over and over again, "Do NOT use Wikipedia for references on your college papers!" He should know better than that.
 

bdtex

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Read that thread when it first developed. He must've found his "defamation lawyers" in the TV Guide.
 

ColorizedPast

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Did he really use Wiki for references? I am not an author, nor do I have a PhD, but my first day in college I was told over and over again, "Do NOT use Wikipedia for references on your college papers!" He should know better than that.

Ditto. I've used Wikipedia as an overview reference. If I find something there, I then follow the citation back to the original source and then if I use something, cite the ORIGINAL source...not wikipedia. NO NO NO
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Central Pennsylvania
Mark Twain would have adored this. Clemens was strongly in favor of duels, sometimes on no grounds at all, merely to stir things up.

Guessing there is no attorney or said attorney would have made an appearance by now. Any time there's an 8 foot attorney with one eye in the middle of the forehead required to back up scholarship, used as threats, possibly not a real attorney. Even one of those would quit, faced with CWT's genuine counsel and Mike's er, inability to be impressed by threats.
 

dlavin

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North Balt Co., MD
I don't think anyone takes kindly to having their works talked about poorly, or criticized for anything they do. However its part of being a professional and if your profession is historical writer, than maybe you open yourself up mores because your work is worldwide. However doesn't mean what was said about the book is wrong. If we weren't allowed to express opinions, then this would be a different country and two, everything would be 5 star reviews.
 

Pat Young

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Long Island, NY
Under threat of litigation, CivilWarTalk Presents:

View attachment 109258

Pickett's Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack
Go ahead, take a chance: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1634507967/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
At publishing time this book is being sold for $17.35 for the hardcover at Amazon, but I'm sure there will be cheaper used copies available soon!
-----​

I got an email from the author of this book, Mr. Phillip Tucker....
Let me tell you, he was not the happiest visitor to our site. I'd love to share his email with you, but he specifically asked me not to share it, so I won't.

He didn't tell me that I couldn't share with you the subject or the contents of said letter, so let's discuss....

He told me that a new forum had been created that was defaming him and his book. (I didn't create a new forum, did you?) He wanted me to know that his book on Pickett's Charge had been the victim of "slanderous, unethical, and libelous" claims.

View attachment 109259
Mr. Tucker plotting his next email to CivilWarTalk...
(Humor guys, it's humor...)
Credit: Amazon

He let me know that the situation was serious! He writes that since he is recognized as one of America's Civil War Historians today as recognized by the biggest names in the Civil War field, and that this situation is creating a smearing of his reputation and books by self-serving people.

He went on blah, blah, blah.

Then he threatens me with legal action if I don't do something about this very quickly...

It's a very serious situation of course!

Well, I won't hide the thread from you, it's this one:


Now I spent about 20 minutes pouring over every post in this thread. Many of the comments were very critical of Mr. Tucker's writing, and his facts, and there are a few mentions of his past books, and a future book coming soon....

Do you see anything defamatory? I don't. I just see critical remarks about his books.

de·fam·a·to·ry adjective - (of remarks, writing, etc.) damaging the good reputation of someone; slanderous or libelous.

I planned to respond to Mr. Tucker, but I blame Ami for stopping me, she said that it's practically email spam, and not worth my time.

----​

So this morning I got a second email from Mr. Tucker. This time he didn't ask that I not publish his email, but I'm going to assume he wants to keep it private anyway, so again, I won't....

He starts his email by writing out my full mailing address, I suppose this is to show that he's serious about getting in contact with me.

He says in his opening that he has had long talks with his defamation lawyers in regards to our thread, and that a lawsuit will be filed if I don't settle this out of court with him.

He then goes to say that he demands his Public Relations page for his book be posted at the beginning of the site (Does he mean the thread, or the CivilWarTalk homepage? Who knows...) and that somehow this will constitute our settlement....

He also sent along a promotional PR document in DOCX format so if you don't use Microsoft products you can't read it.... But nevermind that.....

It's a very urgent matter don't you know!

Well I wrote him back because I couldn't help myself! Here is my email in all its glory:

Mr Tucker,

We have reviewed your case. The discussion in question is in fact a thread, not a forum as you described it in you first email.

In future complaint emails we would suggest that you provide relevant links to any pages you believe contain problematic content. This will allow us to service your request faster. Thanks!

My understanding is that a thread which contains a discussion about your books, your writing style, and the facts presented in your book may contain defamatory content.

However, after a thorough investigation we have found no evidence of defamation. At no time has any member defamed you, they have rather criticized your book, the facts presented within, and the writing style.

As with any product sold to the public, you open yourself to criticism from those who purchase your product. There is nothing wrong with people voicing the criticism for a given product whether it's pizza, a pickup truck, or your book.

I have never promoted nor criticized your book, I believe your problem is with the people who wrote the less than favorable comments, rather than me. The views contained in my website are strictly the opinions of the authors who wrote them and are not sanctioned by CivilWarTalk.com.

I see no copyright infringement, no DMCA violation, and no Libelous comments, and seeing that you are such a well known award winning author, it should be no surprise to you that many of your readers would have a enthusiastic reaction to your writing.

On a side note, I was very happy to hear that all my hard work creating my site has payed off with great rankings on Google for both images and threads about your book, we try our very best to have the most informative discussions about the American Civil War on the web, and your book has proven to be a good discussion topic.

Thanks for sending me the promotional materials, would you like to send along some of the extra unsold copies of your book? I can try to use them as trivia prizes for our monthly trivia game. You already have my address.

Thanks so much!

Mike Kendra
Owner and Webmaster, CivilWarTalk.com

So this afternoon I got another of this guys email in response. He seemed to have cooled off with all the legal threats. But he's still demanding that I post a link for his book and his promo materials. He claims that it's only fair for his reputation.

Honestly his emails go on and on, so I'm not going to bore you with all the details....

So to be fair I wanted to upload a copy of his PR sheet to CivilWarTalk, but it's just not working, that darn DOCX format is not as web friendly as you'd expect.

So, since he does want me to share this document I'll copy what I can below:

“[Pickett’s Charge] contains much to interest and provoke Civil War enthusiasts.”Kirkus

“A thought-provoking and eye-opening study of this pivotal moment in American history.” —Louis P. Masur, PhD. Distinguished Professor of American studies and History, Rutgers University, and author of The Civil War: A Concise History

“…the author does a workman like job of revising many of the myths and misconceptions about the battle.” –Jerry Lenaburg, New York Journal of Books


The Battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War’s turning point, produced more than fifty-seven thousand casualties. It was the battle with the largest number of deaths in a war that turned out to be America’s bloodiest conflict. On the third day of fierce fighting, Robert E. Lee’s attempt to invade the North came to a head in Pickett’s Charge. The infantry assault, consisting of nine brigades of soldiers in a line that stretched for over a mile, resulted in casualties of more than fifty percent for the Confederates and a huge psychological blow to Southern morale.

Pickett’s Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack (Skyhorse Publishing; August 2016; ISBN 978-1-63450-796-7) is a detailed analysis of one of the most iconic and defining events in American history. This book presents a much-needed fresh look, including the unvarnished truths and ugly realities about the unforgettable story. With the luxury of hindsight, historians have long denounced the folly of Lee’s attack, but this work reveals the tactical brilliance of a master plan that went awry. Special emphasis is placed on the common soldiers on both sides, especially the non-Virginia attackers outside of Pickett’s Virginia Division. These fighters’ moments of cowardice, failure, and triumph are explored using their own words from primary and unpublished sources. Without romance and glorification, the complexities and contradictions of the dramatic story of Pickett’s Charge are revealed in full to relive this pivotal moment in the nation’s life.

About the Author
Phillip Thomas Tucker received his PhD in American history from St. Louis University in 1990. Tucker has authored many books, especially about Gettysburg and the Civil War. He has written about some of the most iconic moments in American history, including George Washington’s Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America (Skyhorse Publishing).

Pickett’s Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack

By Phillip Thomas Tucker, PhD

Skyhorse Publishing hardcover | On Sale: August 2016

ISBN 978-1-63450-796-7 | $27.99 | 20 B&W photographs

It's funny, I think Kirkus has the best comment as a review of his book: "[Pickett’s Charge] contains much to interest and provoke Civil War enthusiasts." Yeah, he's doing plenty to provoke a response from the readers at CivilWarTalk...

I'm sure Barbra Streisand's Malibu House is spinning on it's foundation.

So, I guess it's just Blackmail then. Okay, fine.

<<Clicks Publish>>


P.S. - If you plan to reply to this thread, make sure you do it in a fair and balanced way, and without defamation. I don't want anyone to be butt-hurt after reading the comments in this thread. Cheers!
Apparently Mr. Tucker does not know how the internet works.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
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Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
Paul Fussell once wrote an essay titled "The Author's Big Mistake." Which was protesting negative reviews. It provides free material and publicity to the place being protested, and generally makes the author look bad.
Of course, Mr. Tucker goes a few steps well beyond protesting. Authors are typically zealous defenders of freedom of speech. Authors threatening defamation lawsuits are undermining the protections that allow Americans to write.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
Mike and I chatted about this on the phone this afternoon, and he ran the original post in this thread by me before posting it, wanting to be sure that he was on solid legal footing. Putting on my lawyer hat, I assured him he was very much on solid legal footing.

As a matter of law, for something to be defamatory, it has to be false, and it has to cause harm to someone's reputation. Everything stated about the book here is a true and accurate statement. Therefore, by definition, those statements cannot be defamatory. As the old cliche goes, truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation.

Accordingly, I advised Mike that nothing said here was actionable, and I likewise told Mike that he had nothing to be worried about. Finally, I told Mike that if he wanted me to respond to Mr. Tucker in my professional capacity--as opposed to my amateur historian capacity--I would be pleased to do so.
Good for you.
 

MaryDee

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
I do cite wikipedia in the trivia question contest, but I certainly wouldn't do it anywhere else! Even for something as trivial as a trivia contest (sorry about the pun), I try to find another source if I have time.

Wikipedia is verboten not just in college and high school--my grandkids' sixth grade and junior high teachers forbade using wikipedia as a reference.
 
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Deleted User CS

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Mar 18, 2015
Philip Thomas Tucker is listed as an author with Savas Beatie Publishers who state in his biographical information on their website that he has authored "over twenty-five books dealing with the American experience" I don't know what books he has published through them. Maybe someone else knows. I have a lot of books published by Savas Beatie and I can assure everyone that the citations used in their books are absolutely first rate primary and secondary sources. I was going to purchase his books on the Revolutionary War when this situation occurred and I would like to thank the person for bring this to my attention and saving me a lot of money. I will buy them a beer at the Gettysburg Event this month.
 
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Deleted User CS

Retired User
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Philip Thomas Tucker is listed as an author with Savas Beatie Publishers who state in his biographical information on their website that he has authored "over twenty-five books dealing with the American experience" I don't know what books he has published through them. Maybe someone else knows. I was going to purchase his books on the Revolutionary War when this situation occurred.
Skyhorse Publishing was the publisher of this book and they have no mission statement or stated purpose for their business. They say nothing about producing high quality products or anything of that nature only that they have produced awarding winning authors who are listed on the New York Times best sellers list. Having been in business for over twenty-five years I have never seen any business not tell you why they are existing and what their stated purposes are.
 

SummerKy

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Location
Kentucky
Reviews are for readers, not authors. He should have never sent those emails. Ending up on the multiple "Author's Behaving Badly" blogs is not a place he wants to be. I understand historical fiction is different, that genre makes a promise to the reader from the get: historical accuracy. That will always be challenged by those that study a historical event. That is not unusual.

I agree with other comments made about no publicity is bad publicity as well, what one reviewer hates could spark someone else to buy the book. In all instances, the writer should never reply to reviews.
 

Pat Young

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Featured Book Reviewer
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Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
Philip Thomas Tucker is listed as an author with Savas Beatie Publishers who state in his biographical information on their website that he has authored "over twenty-five books dealing with the American experience" I don't know what books he has published through them. Maybe someone else knows. I have a lot of books published by Savas Beatie and I can assure everyone that the citations used in their books are absolutely first rate primary and secondary sources. I was going to purchase his books on the Revolutionary War when this situation occurred and I would like to thank the person for bring this to my attention and saving me a lot of money. I will buy them a beer at the Gettysburg Event this month.
I notice that Philip Tucker has 33 books available on Amazon. Anyone read any of them? Any good?
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
Did he really use Wiki for references? I am not an author, nor do I have a PhD, but my first day in college I was told over and over again, "Do NOT use Wikipedia for references on your college papers!" He should know better than that.
I have used wiki plenty of times at university. The articles about archaeological methods and theory are very well written and use a lot of books that was on our reading list as sources. In short the quality is just as good as something you would find in an academic book about it.
But I used it to get a better understanding on some of the theories... not as an source in my writing. (for that I used the titles and page numbers the wiki gave me, then I found the books and read the pages myself)

Many articles about acw battles are also good representations of what I would call the typical understanding on a battle.
Similar with many other pages about the war. Give a good view of the general understanding of the topic.

So I have used it as "this is a typical view... "

A friend of mine (who teach history at Cambridge) actually tried to add a few (wrong) things to the main page about D-Day... To see if it would get removed and when. His addition was gone 6 hours later...


Now about the main topic... what an idiot.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Paul Fussell once wrote an essay titled "The Author's Big Mistake." Which was protesting negative reviews. It provides free material and publicity to the place being protested, and generally makes the author look bad.

In the few years I have been on CWT I have seen several authors attempt to vehemently defend against criticism of their works here and it often ends with the author looking worse in the end than if they hadn't replied at all.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
While doing some Civil War book shopping today, Amazon recommended Tucker's new book on the Miller Cornfield fight at Antietam which (which I'm not buying). However, I noticed something curious: Tucker (or his publisher) feels the need to flaunt Tucker's PhD on the cover of most of his books. I know its customary to mention a PhD in the About The Author in the book, dust jacket flap, or on the back. But I've read a number of history and biography works by authors with PhDs and I don't remember the last time I saw one that included "Dr." or "PhD" with their name on the front cover.
 
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