Loyalty was not the safest and most common presentation of self during this guerilla war; prevarication was. Frankness and directness led to destruction more often than did reticence and withdrawal. Not letting on, telling the questioner—from either side—as little as possible but enough to placate him, became the safest avenue of escape. I would call that political technique of trying to live on through terror survival lying and would not judge it as anything but necessary. It made more sense to be a living liar than a dead hero, and the stakes were that great.”
from Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War
Fellman (not the comic on Wisconsin Public Radio) has written one of the very finest history books on any war. And yet I have seen websites (e.g. Missouri Partisan Rangers) where fellow Missourians deride him as a “Northern Spin Doctor.”
Isn’t history complicated when you live in a democracy?