Second in a series of interview with Sam Hood ? Part One
QUESTION: In your view, JBH has been treated unfairly, especially by historians in the past 40 years. How so? Why do you think he has been?
Sam Hood: The degree to which JB Hood has been treated unfairly by modern authors is astonishing. Anyone who reads the first major book on the Tennessee Campaign by Thomas Hay (1921) and then reads Wiley Sword’s 1992 book on the same event would think that the Army of Tennessee’s commander was two different men. The first harsh criticisms of Hood appeared in Stanley Horn’s 1941 Army of Tennessee, followed by Thomas Connelly’s caustic portrayal of Hood in Autumn of Glory (1971), and Wiley Sword went completely off the deep end with The Confederacy’s Last Hurrah in 1992. Between Connelly and Sword’s book was Connelly and James McDonough’s collaboration in Five Tragic Hours which was as equally biased as Sword’s. The evolution of the decline in JB Hood’s legacy closely tracks these five books.
Sadly, most books written in the last 20 years are heavily influenced by Sword’s eloquent polemic, and new authors innocently cite his book excessively in their own books. This is how common legends are created. My forthcoming book John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General is over 100,000 words and approximately 1,000 endnotes that detail the hyperbole, inaccurate paraphrasing, mischaracterization of events, factual errors, and fact-filtering that many modern authors have done in their portrayals of Hood. I could have written 500,000 words and still not exposed all the instances.