Under purposes, numbers 1-5, and half of 7, all, for me, are
subsumed under the objective of providing new information or insight (the
other half of 7, persuading an audience to accept an old conclusion, doesn't carry far with me unless it has one of the other numbers going for it!), and number 8 hopefully has the virtue of some compelling, humerous, or other positive style going for it.
Number 6 leaves me cold, unless there are other of the numbered purposes
present (perhaps in greater measure), for if it is old info be represented,
one wonders how the new presentation is better than the old (simply
availability or affordability)?
BH: Yeah, good points. I agree, but that's the whole point. Each of us want different things from a history, regardless of what the author's actual goals were. There are historians that have never written a text for any other reason than just one of the 8 reasons I listed, even or particularly #6.
Among audiences, I presume numbers 1 and 2 are dead losses for a commercial publication. Number 3 must be risky, and number 4, and to an even greater extent, 5, are where the money must be. But even when writing for the latter numbers, presumably some of the virtues of a product aimed at the earlier numbers might be imported in the hopes of helping raise standards of consumption and production...a rising tide lifts all boats, sort of thing...?
BH: Yeah again. There is that tug between commercial and 'academic' publications. And both can produce crap at times.
And I heartily agree with your point about wargamers, who can sometimes occupy a sort of amateur niche that seeks to grapple with nuts and bolts issues that otherwise can pass unpondered.
BH: Personally, the difference between 'amateur' and 'professional' can only be determined by two things: whether a person is paid for their work and the actual skill with which they do it. Under those criteria a number of works by wargamers are professional and a number of academic tomes are very amateurish. The fact that wargamers ask different questions of history than most academic circles or the general public really has little to do with any amateur status. Just from the works mentioned on this thread, we have don't have to accept any amateur 'niche.'