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27 Nov

Book Review from The Civil War Courier

“A Thousand Points of Truth” by Matt Thompson

Along the path of history there is a blurred line were fact becomes fiction becomes myth becomes truth. A person’s life summed up by only parts that on the surface seems tantalizing, exciting, exhilarating. As time marches on, it seems to shave legacies to a fine point. That was the case personally with the subject in V. P. Hughes book A Thousand Points of Truth, The History and Humanity of Col. John Singleton Mosby in Newsprint.

I was taken on a long journey into a first-hand account of just how someone’s life history, and who they were could be written and stuffed into the filing cabinet of legend, and I found myself having a change of view of someone who I thought was just the man the legend made him to be. Having first seen the book without cracking the spine, I of course made the mistake of, you guessed it, judging the book by its cover. At just short of 800 pages, Hughes wrote this book with a passionate “no stone left unturned” mentality intelligently pulling back the curtain on the widely accepted view on Mosby. Newspaper articles, dating back over a century and a half along with correspondence letters maps out not only events held within personal circles, but, a changing world which humanized the myth of who Mosby was.

In all honesty, it did take me longer than my usual book reviews but, any book I walk away from feeling that not only did I learn something, but also gave me the opportunity to look upon things with new prospective, is truly worthwhile.

I would highly recommend giving this book a read. It’s not a book to thumb through, but one to digest. No matter what light you view John Singleton Mosby in, one would have to admit he led an interesting life, not only during his service of the Confederacy, but thereafter. It’s hard to sometimes to see the flesh and bones behind legendary figures, the “Wild Bill Hickok” of every generation, the ones whose tales and exploits are told and retold around a campfire or kitchen table become the true life stories. V. P. Hughes presents over a century worth of legend to present just who the real John Singleton Mosby was.

Book Review from the Mosby Heritage Area Association

A Thousand Points of Truth: The History and Humanity of Col. John Singleton Mosby in Newsprint. 

Kevin R. Pawlak, Director of Education

How the present remembers the past stems from many different viewpoints, interpretations, and facts in the length of time between the historians and the stories they study. In V. P. Hughes’ study of John Singleton Mosby’s life through the Civil War to his death in 1916, she tackles the topic of the Gray Ghost’s character through the sole media of newspapers.

Hughes certainly did her homework to compile such a study, combing through thousands of newspapers to bring many points of view to her topic. In the book, the reader will find many heretofore unknown references to the personality of John Mosby.

A Thousand Points of Truth also packs a punch as a historiographical tour de force. Refuting Mosby historians like Jones, Siepel, and Ramage among others, Hughes takes the most in-depth look at John Mosby’s postwar life through the lens of how the news media covered the Gray Ghost. Her findings shed new light on the personality of the man as well as the importance of Mosby, his Rangers and their exploits.

By point of sheer research and compilation of newspaper articles, no student of Mosby can afford to miss this new volume. An abundance of sources shows the author’s connections to Mosby and interest in her topic. The Gray Ghost eluded his Federal pursuers on many occasions during the war, and he has always been a tough figure to nail down historically. Hughes’ tome brings us perhaps closer than we have ever been to meeting Mosby himself, more than one hundred years following his death.


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