• A re-examination of the life and career of General Hood which will change you perceptions of the man and general
John Bell Hood, one of the Confederacy's most enigmatic figures, died unexpectedly from yellow fever in August of 1879. He had been working hard on his memoirs, the first draft of which he finished just before his death. When Advance and Retreat: Personal Experience in the United States and Confederate States Armies was published the following year, they immediately became as controversial as its author.
Outlived by most of his critics, Hood's published version of the major events and controversies of his Confederate military career met with scorn and skepticism. Many described his memoirs as nothing more than a polemic against his arch-rival Joseph E. Johnston. These unflattering opinions persisted throughout the decades and reached their nadir in 1992 when an influential author described Hood's memoirs as"merely a bitter, misleading, and highly distorted treatise” replete with "distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications.” Without any personal papers to contradict them, many historians took full advantage of the opportunity to portray Hood as an inept and dishonest opium addict and a conniving, vindictive cripple of a man. One writer went so far as to brand him "a fool with a license to kill his own men.” Authors misused sources and ignored or suppressed facts sympathetic to Hood.
Stephen M."Sam” Hood, a distant relative of the general, embarked on a meticulous forensic study of the common perceptions and controversies of his famous kinsman. His careful use of the original sources of the broadly accepted "facts” about John Bell Hood uncovered startlingly poor scholarship by some of the most well-known and influential historians of the 20th and 21st centuries. These discoveries, coupled with his use of a large cache of recently discovered Hood papers—many penned by generals and other officers who served with General Hood—confirm accounts that originally appeared in Hood's posthumously published memoir and resolve, for the first time, some of the most controversial aspects of Hood's long career.
"Blindly accepting historical‘truths' without vigorous challenge,” cautions one historian, "is a perilous path to understanding real history.” The shocking revelations in John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General will forever change our perceptions of Hood as both a man and general, and those who set out to shape his legacy.
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