[SIGCIS-Members] Why don't real historians write popular works?

James Sumner james.sumner at manchester.ac.uk
Wed Oct 8 12:55:10 PDT 2014

Those pondering the challenges and possible unwinnability of this war 
may possibly draw inspiration, or at least solace, from a modern classic 
article in the history of science:

David Philip Miller, "The 'Sobel Effect': The Amazing Tale of How 
Multitudes of Popular Writers Pinched All the Best Stories in the 
History of Science and Became Rich and Famous while Historians 
Languished in Accustomed Poverty and Obscurity, and how this Transformed 
the World. A Reflection on a Publishing Phenomenon". /Metascience/ 11 
(2002), 185-200. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02914819 


On 08/10/2014 18:21, McMillan, William W wrote:
> I know in some cases popular history and biography are produced by real historians, but the lively discussion on this list about the failings of popular writers in the history of computing gives me the impression that the field of battle has been left to the pithy and the superficial.  Is this community sniping from the hilltops, hoping that the writers down on the mass-market battlefield will march up with a white flag, an acknowledgment, and a pledge to respect real scholarship?
> If real historians charged down the hill with a barrage of their own popular histories, wouldn't that overwhelm the errant?
> Just askin'.
> Bill
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