From: San Jose, CA
Who the hell "doesn't like book sources"? Except for iliterates?
CSW has told me a couple times that books are misleading because anyone can write them. To an extent he's right. Just because a book says something doesn't mean its 100% truth, or more commonly that the author's interpretation or conclusions are 100% accurate. Lundstrom himself admitted to Brady that he could only do the best job he did after the whole Val "Canister" issue came up and that he might have been mistaken. In the end people have to decide for themselves what to believe.
Source criticism ftw
I spent a year in the PhD Military History program at University of Kansas and while I had been an amateur historian for most of my life, I had a bit to learn regarding the "historical process" ... what historians do. Actually it is quite simple to relate:
01 - Ask the Questions
02 - Find the Sources
03 - Answer the questions (while being true to the sources)
While being true to the sources also includes the idea that you must fully represent all the data provided by the sources - you cannot cherry pick every third fact, for instance, to suit your agenda. In fact, we are not supposed to have an agenda. That is why we are supposed to start by asking the questions.
All humans have a lens, even historians. But historians should strive to be aware of their lens and discuss it openly, perhaps in the preface of their books.
Historians rarely disagree about the data - they often disagree about the interpretation of the data.
Oh regarding sources, we evaluate sources, based on THEIR sources, as well as the credentials of the writer(s), the completeness of the text several other factors ... but the sources listed in a potential sources, in some cases, maybe the primary value of the source!
Often internet pages do not cite sources - but sometimes book do not cite sources either. A book which does not footnote all appropriate statements in the text, back to an authoritative source are weak candidates for sources themselves.
< Message edited by jwilkerson -- 6/27/2012 10:08:51 PM >
AE Project Lead