Mixed Bag This Week:
Tom Shatel’s Massive Mistake,
Ken Burns’ Flawed Masterpiece

The Huskers are now 2-3, but the hardest part of the schedule is still to be played.

The World-Herald’s Tom Shatel’s 10-2 season prediction was looney when he made it.  And nothing has transpired or is likely to transpire in the future that will make it farther off the mark, with the Huskers scheduled to play such challenging foes as Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern.

How about confessing that the 10-2 prediction was looney when you made it and looks loonier all the time, Tom?

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Ken Burns’ Civil War Series

Some parts could have been done better.  Shortcomings included:

–Too many quotes by unidentified persons or by letters written by soldiers home to their mothers or their mothers’ letters to them.

–Belated mention of Joshua Chamberlain, who a few months earlier had been a faculty member of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  (Chamberlain rose to the rank of general.)  After the war, he returned to Maine where he became president of Bowdoin and governor of Maine.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Chamberlain’s Civil War performance was poorly presented.  I am speaking of the performance of the 20th Maine regiment commanded by Chamberlain in defending the strategically important area known as Little Round Top.

Unmentioned was this dramatic part of the Little Round Top story:  When the 20th Main ran out of ammunition, Chamberlain ordered “Fix bayonets!” and ordered a charge against the Alabama regiment advancing on Little Round Top.  The Alabamians broke and retreated.

Chamberlain performed admirably during the rest of the war.

–No mention of the fact that if Union General George Thomas was the only general to have not lost a battle and the fact he was a Virginian who chose to fight for the North.

–No mention of the fact that if Union Commander George Meade had pursued Robert E. Lee as Lee’s army recruited from Gettysburg, Union forces had a good chance to inflict fatal damage on Lee’s retreating forces, dramatically reducing the effectiveness of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and perhaps even destroying that force.

–One of the strong points of Burns’ coverage of the war was the extensive commentary of Southern historian Shelby Foote.  Foote’s soft southern accent made his extensive commentary all the more appealing.

Ken Burns did a generally good job in his Civil War series.  It helped put in perspective a war which changed forever the United States.

Without detracting from that achievement, I simply want to point out that his good job could have been even better.

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