Napoleon Series Archive 2003

... Left Angle
In Response To: Re: Right Angle ()

Rory & Co.,

I am going to sneak in and toss a bomb. I think that appropriate footnoting (coupled with bibliography) both sustains the integrity of the work and the marks out a path for further exploration by the reader.

The footnotes can help the reader discern which works in the bibliography may be of particular interest to the reader; they reveal directly the sources the author relied upon for data.

While helping a friend lay out a magazine on Napoleonic history, I was floored to discover just how poorly even established histories could be with getting facts straight, chronologically ordered, and logically related. Frankly, it could be very frustrating to wonder what could be trusted without direct reference to contemporary evidence! (I think particularly of the series of articles we gathered on Marengo, alas never published, and how clear it was that the story could be written a variety of ways depending on what sources were used, ignored, or unnoticed!) Survey histories are especially prone to error, but error easily and unwittingly made for the very reason that it doesn't (can't) review the nuts and bolts that underpin the sweeping statements any survey must make. I think those surveys are even harder to write well than the in-depth study!

Underneath the footnote issue is, for me, the real core concern: not length or style, per se, but the transparency of intellectual debt, an evidentiary trail, and factual or suppositional corroboration that footnotes can represent. Frankly, there is great history, pretty good history, and a hefty dose of rubbish that panders rather than illuminates.

Cheers (and, plop!, back into my fox hole!) - Howie

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Bad History
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Better History 101
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Bad History and Relativism
Re: The history book I would like to have written
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Re: Bad History
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Re: Rory Muir's "Salamanca".
Early Christmas
Re: Quotes
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Limits of Narrative
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Feu de Joie for Rory Muir
Why Write History?
How We Grow
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Right Angle
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Footnoting
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... Left Angle
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Only 'quite intelligent'?
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Audiences
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Follow Ups or Spin Offs
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Re: How We Grow
Reach for your Swords !
Re: Reach for your Swords !
"Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Long Footnotes
Re: Reach for your Swords !
Fair Points
When I was child, I spoke as a child
In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
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Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: Limits of Narrative
The Pits
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And Good, Durable History
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Good Military History