“Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination,” Next in the Lovettsville Historical Society’s Lecture Series (9/16/2018)

Presented by Dennis Frye,

Chief Historian, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm, 

at St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East Broad Way, Lovettsville, VA 20180


Dennis Frye at Burnside Bridge
Author Dennis Frye at the Burnside Bridge.

Is history the original “fake news”?

In the next presentation by the Lovettsville Historical Society, historian Dennis Frye will explain why we should beware of history, or, more precisely, history as told by the historians. A professional historian himself for the last forty years, Dennis has evolved from a youthful worshipper of history as generally taught, into a respected skeptic who has devoted his career to challenging historians, especially within the Civil War genre.

On Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, Frye will discuss his latest book, Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination. In this book, Frye shines the spotlight not just on the much-maligned Union General George McClellan, but also on the historians whose word we have come to accept as stone-cold fact.

You may find out that what you think you know about the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign is flat-out wrong.

“History is presented as facts,” Frye writes in the first chapter of Antietam Shadows. “It is not. History is deemed immutable. Not so. History is declared as truth. Nein. Nyet. Non.”

“So what, then, is history?” he adds. “Opinion.”

“Beware opinion,” Frye continues. “History, as a record of human activity, is flawed because humans insert their opinion into the record, upon the onset of the recording.”

Frye has found, for example, that some soldiers who made grand, first-hand pronouncements about the Battle of Antietam were, in fact, not even there. He has grown suspicious that a number McClellan’s harshest contemporary critics held their tongues until after his death — giving the general no chance to rebut.

Frye acknowledges that “it’s hard to defeat tradition,” but “I’ve spent my entire life questioning the veracity” of the accepted storyline.

Come to the Sept. 16 lecture prepared to have what you think you know about McClellan and Antietam turned upside down and inside out.

Frye’s provocative presentation will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 16th at St. James United Church of Christ at 10 East Broadway (the main street), in Lovettsville. The program will be followed, as is customary, by questions and discussion.

Admission is free, but donations and memberships are welcome to defray expenses of the program and to support the activities of the Lovettsville Historical Society.

For more information, visit www.LovettsvilleHistoricalSociety.org or email events@lovettsvillehistoricalsociety.org.


What: Lovettsville Historical Society Lecture: “Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination.”
When: Sunday, August 12, 2018, at 2:00 p.m.
Where: St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East Broad Way, Lovettsville, Va.           MAP
For further information, contact:


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