Last's week's book review by Duke Snider drew a number of comments from readers. -Editor Alan V. Weinberg writes
I found the detailed, brutally honest (but not mean-spirited) review of Hugh Shull's Southern Currency book to be entertaining, frank & educational on what not to do when writing/publishing a numismatic reference book. I dislike those soft soap reviews that extol the virtues of a mediocre book.
I do have to agree with Alan that many book reviewers rarely have anything but high praise for their subjects. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a cheerleader myself, rarely encountering a book I can't find something nice to say about.
We have had quite a number of great new publications recently, but few products are perfect and most could be improved upon in ways large and small. While a Crosby can stand 150 years without an update, it's not uncommon for a numismatic book to be updated in a subsequent edition within a few years.
Although many of Duke's points (such as his discussion of the Criswell numbering system) are well taken, his most strident criticism was misdirected. Although it is true that many Virginia notes are not covered in the Shull book, the authors clearly state that these are beyond the book's intended scope. -Editor
Wendell Wolka writes:
As the lead researcher on Hugh Shull's book I was surprised to hear that Mr. Duke was disappointed that Virginia county and city notes were not included in the book. As is clearly stated in the "How to Use this Book" section on page x, "Only notes issued by state governments are included. Privately issued notes, non-governmental notes, obsolete bank notes and scrip, and Confederate States of America notes are outside the scope of this work." Thus, more local issues like the Louisiana parish notes and Virginia county and city notes were never intended to be part of the book.
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing adds:
The purpose of the Guide Book is to catalog paper-money issues of the Southern states. This is explained in the first paragraph of the "How to Use This Book" section: "Only notes issued by state governments are included." Mr. Shull covers every note known to have been issued by the state government of Virginia.
(Some new varieties have been discovered in recent months, since the book was published; these will be included in the 2nd edition.)
Private paper money, merchant scrip, city-issued notes, and the like are outside the scope of the Guide Book of Southern States Currency.
If you know of any notes that were issued by the commonwealth of Virginia and were NOT included in the book, please let me know. We would be happy to credit you in the 2nd edition's list of contributors.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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