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21 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Crater - a work of fiction, May 7, 2013
This review is from: Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (New Directions In Southern History) (Hardcover)
About the author: "Kevin Levin is a historian and educator currently living in Boston. From 2000 to 2011 he taught American history at the St. Anne's - Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia. His published work in the area of Civil War history and historical memory can be found in popular magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. He is currently researching the history of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry."

This is a review of Kevin Levin's book, "The Crater," and Levin's blog that supports the book. This review is my opinion only. Feel free to check out Levin's blog, which gives an eye opening nuance into Levin's thinking and agenda. A window into the author's life and musings outside his book is helpful in understanding the author's intent and agenda in writing a book, and thus reflects directly upon the accuracy of the book. Thus this review includes a review of Levin's blog that supports his book. Levin's book should be considered a poorly written fictional account of the Battle of the Crater.

The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade (under the direct supervision of the general-in-chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant).

After weeks of preparation, on July 30 the Federals exploded a mine in Major Gen. Ambrose E. Burnsides' IX Corps sector, blowing a gap in the Confederate defenses of Petersburg, Virginia. From this propitious beginning, everything deteriorated rapidly for the Union attackers. Unit after unit charged into and around the crater, where soldiers milled in confusion. Grant considered the assault "the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war."

The Confederates quickly recovered and launched several counterattacks led by Brig. Gen. William Mahone. The breach was sealed off, and the Federals were repulsed with severe casualties. Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's division of black soldiers was badly mauled. This may have been Grant's best chance to end the Siege of Petersburg. Instead, the soldiers settled in for another eight months of trench warfare. Burnside was relieved of command for the last time for his role in the debacle, and he was never again returned to command.

I will be accused of not reading the book by Levin's supporters, but please read on. I don't trust Levin to know truth in any form. The author harbors extremely biased opinions against those he does not understand especially southern people. In one rant on his blog Levin refers to one southerner as "bat s*** crazy." Is this the kind of language that should come from an educator, scholar or author? I think not.

The historical facts in the book, backed up by Levin's assumptions, are nothing but opinions and assumptions and half truths. On occasion Levin spins the story to lull the reader into believing the research is impeccable, and that Levin understands and writes the only true account of history. Only fools, and the naive will be taken in by such garbage.

Like many authors whose sole purpose seems to be making money writing books, and profiting from spinning a Civil War story, Levin has a blog peddling his book. Check out his blog in support of the book for eye openers. Most posts that disagree with his opinion will not be allowed on his fully moderated blog. Levin carefully moderates each and every post, and his agenda shows through with the posts that he allows on the blog.

Occasionally Levin will allow a post that disagrees with his agenda. In response to such posts Levin will misuse words, take statements out of context, and slam the commentator in a way to make the commentator look ignorant and "dumber" than a fifth grader, and then close the comments to further commentary. I suggest Levin used his blog in this way to gather material for the book.

I don't understand how a well respected Civil War author such as David Blight was fooled by Levin. Posted on almost every page of Levin's blog is Blight's short comment about Levin's book. In part Blight states, ". . . showing us a piece of the real war that does now (sic) get into the books." The word "now" is probably misspelled and really means "does NOT get into the books." Friends there's a reason Levin's garbage does NOT get into the books. It's pure fiction.
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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 8, 2013 2:48:34 PM PDT
Kevin Levin is a present-ism historian. This review is about as truthful as you can get. I have followed Levin's blog whenever he gets really far out of line in his damnation of the Southern people just so I can rebut him, but as the review above states he seldom allows my post and then only in a snide way. This was from the very beginning with my first post that gave facts and references that showed why I disagreed with him. There is no two way street of communication, with anyone ever, only comments are the ones patting him on the back by a small group me toos. The gentile Southern people he came in contact with during his time in Virginia had their brains picked by him and he regurgitated his twisted memory, which feeds into people with his same mind set.

Posted on May 8, 2013 3:18:29 PM PDT
Unless you have specific criticisms of the book, you shouldn't post a review. Spending most of your review criticizing the author's blog while barely mentioning the book makes it fairly obvious that you didn't read it closely, if at all. Behavior like yours is why the majority of historians do not take neo-Confederates seriously.

Posted on May 8, 2013 8:06:43 PM PDT
gloine36 says:
It would really help if you took the time to actually read the book, silver dollar. I went through your reviews and it appears as if you only reviewed the dust jackets to see if the books were written by intelligent people whom you disagreed with and therefore did not read the actual contents of the book or those who prefer fiction like the Southern Heritage crew you are a member of. You have no business writing reviews if you don't take the time to read the books.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2013 6:53:14 AM PDT
Hickox and Gloine36 - Thanks for reading my review. You stand in a long line of self proclaimed, fake Yankee historians who cannot rebut my findings with any intelligence or coherent rebuttal, and are not the first to accuse me of not reading the book. I read the book, unlike those who complain of my review, who did not read all of my reviews as claimed. I took the time to cite several page numbers in some of my reviews. In other reviews I did not go that deep, because I didn't deem the book worthy of my valuable time. And you do not define or dictate the content of my reviews. I reserve that for myself.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2013 3:35:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2013 3:48:50 PM PDT
gloine36 says:
You would have to find something that wasn't already refuted by intelligent people. Keep spewing your lies. The only people that take you seriously are the same ignorant Southern Heritage cretins. You didn't reach this book. You didn't read much of the other books either. You should do something original and begin to learn. We have colleges for that. Then you might see something besides your opinion which has no factual evidence to back it up.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2013 7:10:39 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 3, 2013 12:15:12 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2013 4:43:42 AM PDT
Paul Taylor says:
Silver Dollar: Help me out here. I read your "review" and cannot find one assertion or thesis made by Levin that you refute in your post. Only some general trash-talking about his blog. Assuming you actually read his book, what specific thesis does Levin make that you disagree with and why? Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2013 8:17:45 AM PDT
gloine36 says:
Oh, blame education when it doesn't agree with your lies. I know this would probably cause you to become catatonic, but the truth is based on factual evidence. Your Lost Cause is just based on a lie. You seek to perpetuate it and when educated people reject the lie you then blame the system. Find a mirror and look in it. You're the problem.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2013 10:40:31 AM PDT
Some folks don't like my review. They want to know my intimate details. So you want to know every little detail about Silver Dollar. What's that got to do with Levin's book. I am Silver Dollar. That should be good enough for you. I refuse to be personally attacked by you and your minions, because my views go against the Yankee revisionists, and self proclaimed historians.

I am not afraid to speak the truth, and I don't have any books for sale.

Maybe you should take another look at the criminals of 1861, and really see who you are defending and supporting. Lincoln and his minions waged a war against southern women and children and their family pets. Lincoln's war murdered or kidnapped over 60,000 southern women and children, and murdered an untold number of black slaves. I don't care to support that!

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2013 9:01:35 AM PDT
S. F. Walker says:
Since you didn't take issue with any specific information in the book, it's impossible for us to know what your "findings" are--how can we offer a rebuttal of something unless we know what it is? If the best you can do is criticize Levin for a typo on his blog, that's pretty lame.
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