Is Robert K. Krick a Southern Historian?
Kevin Levin writes for Civil War Memory.
Over the past three days I’ve come across two references that place Robert K. Krick, squarely in the camp of Southern historians. The reference is meant not simply to denote field of interest but a “pro-South” or “pro-Confederate” bias. As many of you know Krick worked for 31 years as the chief historian at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. These claims are made with apparently no attempt at verification; it’s as if his body of scholarship speaks for itself in terms of his place of birth. Of course, Krick is not native to the South; rather he was born and raised in California. Before proceeding let’s be clear that Krick’s work on the Army of Northern Virginia is essential reading for any Civil War enthusiast. In short, few people know more about Lee’s army than Krick.
...Krick tends to go after some of the same academic historians over and over such as William G. Piston, Thomas Connelly, and Michael Fellman, which suggests that his grasp of recent Civil War scholarship is shaky at best. I was asked to respond to Krick and the other speakers, which you can read here. Krick brushes off most modern scholarship concerning Lee and the rest of the Confederate pantheon as “psycho-babble” which is odd given the amount of time he spends assuming the motivation of academics....
Krick and Fellman represent two different approaches to understanding the past. Krick’s approach to the past reflects a Victorian perspective that assumes that the past is fixed and that moral lessons can clearly be discerned through, among other things, the study of biography. Such a view explains Krick’s interest in Jackson and Lee and his disdain for those, who he believes constitute a threat to what he sees as the traditional interpretation....
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