“Your principal weakness is your style.”
So wrote my professor at Emory, Dr. Bell Wiley, in his critique of my paper for his Civil War class back in the fall of 1968. (I wrote on “Price’s Missouri Raid of 1864”; I got a B.)
But that’s not why I’ve saved my paper—which was pretty closely marked up by the professor’s red pencil—all of these years. It’s because through it, Dr. Wiley continues to urge me to hone my writing skills, my powers of expression.
That’s the sense of gratitude and admiration I sought to express in my column, “The Bell Irvin Wiley Reader” for the new issue of Civil War News.
I guess it goes to show that you never stop thinking about, or thanking, the important people in your life.