Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Newsletter Review: Surratt Courier Jan. & Feb. 2010

The Surratt Courier. The Surratt Society. Volume XXXV Issues 1 and 2, January and February 2010.

A brief update on the last two issues from the Surratt Courier.

In my mind these issues could have been combined as a double issue. The heart of the issues is a two part excerpt from an upcoming book Dixie Reckoning written by Rick Stelnick. (As an FYI, this book does not show on Amazon as being available for purchase or preorder) According to the February issue "...this new work is said to contain documentable evidence that persons in New York had ties to the Lincoln kidnap plot." The article runs to 12 pages over the two issues and has a section of "end notes". I only call them end notes because that is how they are cited in the February issue. The problem is many are not real end notes at all nor do they really seem to correspond to the text. An example: The text for number 3 "James Hall"...the corresponding note number 3 "Henrietta Elizabeth Demill {1821-1881}" I kid you not when I write that note 94 says "Yes, that Cecil B-of stage and screen!" The text associated with 94 is "Thomas Hindman". Confused? Me too. The documentation doesn't get any better either. By the end of article the end note numbers are up to 155 but the notes end at 102. I started to read this once the February issue arrived so that I could do it at one sitting. After starting and finding this mess I didn't even bother. Poor editing? Poor writing? Who knows. Maybe the March issue will clear it up. Gotta say though I don't hold out hope. Very disappointing as I expect better.

Otherwise, the issues contain the normal President's Message, Mark Your Calendars, and new member listing. The January issue also contained an announcement of a presentation called "The Birth of the Banjo" presented by George Wunderlich, executive director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. This event will be held March 20, 2010 from 6-9:30pm which coincides with the Surratt Society's Annual Conference.

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