David Detzer sheds light on the Battle of Bull Run

Historians in the News

..."Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861" by David Detzer, translates the bewildering intricacies of warfare while exploring the lives of those who fought, those who sent them there and those left back at home. (The book is part of Detzer's trilogy about the early days of the war.)

In an interview, I asked the Connecticut-based historian to talk about the nation's lessons from the first battle of an incredibly bloody war, a conflict that hardly anyone thought would last very long or leave so many bereaved.

Q: What did the North and South misunderstand about warfare as this battle began?

A: Both sides were innocent, and both sides were clueless about war would be like.

Q: That seems so remarkable. How did they manage to be so out of touch?

A: I've read the kinds of things they’d read about war. The books romanticized things, No book or magazine told of reality at its rawest. They only told of war from the point of view of officers and, occasionally, heroic soldiers....

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