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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 42, October 15, 2000, Article 5

DEVASTATING REVIEWS 

   To continue our compilation of "Devastating Reviews" of 
   numismatic books (as initiated by Tom Fort), your editor 
   found this review in his "research archives" (i.e. "pile of 
   unsorted miscellaneous stuff he could never bring himself 
   to throw away..." 

   The February, 1986 issue of Bank Note Reporter 
   contained a review by Dr. Douglas Ball of  "Graybacks 
   and Gold: Confederate Monetary Policy" by James F. 
   Morgan, Perdido Bay Press, Pensacola, FL. 1985: 

   Headlined "Book on Confederate Money Has Serious 
   Flaws", the review began:  "Having written my own 
   doctoral thesis on the theoretical and policy making 
   aspects of Confederate finance, I was looking forward 
   to reading this work.  But having done so, I must 
   regretfully report that it is so seriously flawed as to 
   render it practically useless, if not positively misleading. 

   For starters, the book title itself is both erroneous and 
   misleading.  The Confederate currency was popularly 
   known as "blue backs," not "graybacks."  Indeed, the 
   term "graybacks" was a term used by both armies for 
   the ever-present scourge of lice." 

   Dr. Ball enumerates several flaws.  One example: 
   "he declares that Secretary Memminger was an 
   enthusiastic advocate of fiat paper money and an 
   enemy of coin and coinage.  Memminger, as a 
   matter of well-known record, was the hardest of 
   hard money Jacksonian Democrats." 

   "I can understand how this thesis might have got 
   by the student.  What puzzles me is how it got 
   past a faculty advisor, two other readers, and then 
   the Perdido Press. 

   Perhaps as some of the faculty members suggested 
   during my recent visit to the University of Oklahoma 
   campus, it is time that Oklahoma devoted the same 
   energy and money to the University's academic 
   programs that they do to its athletic ones." 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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