An armchair historian challenges commonly held views about the American Civil War in a series of incendiary essays.
Miklosik, a retired anesthesiologist, self-confessed “curmudgeon” and proud contrarian, claims that being born in Canada to Slovak immigrants makes him an “impartial observer” to what he sees as the “kiss-ass” canonization of “Saint Abraham Lincoln.” He admits the man spoke well but places him alongside Genghis Khan and Pol Pot in the pantheon of the “world’s cruelest dictators.” He quotes Thomas Paine and John Locke and wonders if Lincoln ever read their work. To Miklosik, “it is mind-boggling” that more than a million “civilized, advanced young men” were sacrificed “just to free from bondage 4,000,000 illiterate, backward savages” because our sixteenth president lacked “patience.” Miklosik considers slavery an “odious industry” but justifies its history by quoting the Old Testament, where “at worst,” it was seen as an “event of minor reprehensibility.” God clearly proscribed, “Thou shall not kill,” but he said nothing about owning slaves. Miklosik claims abolitionists (under the sway of hypocritical Quakers) elevated it into an “abomination”—and an excuse for Northern aggression. To this, the author adds the usual arguments concerning states’ rights, misguided government and the corruption of absolute power. He portrays the South as “agrarian, aristocratic” and the North as “capitalistic, industrial.” This tendency to generalize upends many of the author’s arguments. While he bemoans the bias of “sycophantic” historians, his “jaundiced and cynical views of history” force him into his own dogmatic corner. It might be easy to dismiss a writer who thinks Uncle Tom’s Cabin beats any “propaganda” Goebbels created for Hitler. But no one will deny the man his passion.
What the author calls “iconoclastic,” many readers might find over-the-top and offensive.