Through the deepening twilight and on far into the night the fierce struggle continued...
This new weekly column will be a rummage in the great toy chest that is the Times Archive.
I'm not sure if our Dave has a new gig at the Times or if he's just the first writer to survey the Times archive. Why Times reports in 1863 were a shade unreliable/In The Times archive: the Gettysburg battles were not quite the Confederate success our correspondent imagined. There's nothing that he says that's wrong exactly.
Technically it was possible to suggest a bloody draw; strategically, however, it was a terrible reverse for the South. This perspective was, for whatever reason, denied to OSC [Our Special Correspondent: the Times reporter was anonymous].
If anyone wishes to infer bias or impute to stupidity to the Times Correspondent, you would be advised to read John Keegan, especially The Face of Battle which repeatedly insists that battles are understood with hindsight; during them no one knows what the hell is going on.
I actually read DA in the hard copy of the Times. This was a mistake: he doesn't quote much from the correspondent he criticizes, which gives the impression of a hatchet job. But the whole thing, as Glenn Reynolds would say, is available in the Times archive (not recommended if you value your eyes).
I'm sure the prospect of DA commenting on journalists who got the outcome of a war wrong will excite many of our regular readers. And one who backed the wrong side at that. So, have at it.
DA was around a lot in the Times yesterday. He reviewed Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives by Carolyn Steel. As I haven't read the book, I can't comment, but this seems like DA at his best - fair-minded and cool.
The final shock comes when we learn that David Aaronovitch [is] getting fit for the London triathlon in August. Again this is something DA does well as he did in his book Paddling to Jerusalem: game, fat bloke attempts the impossible. He still has a felicitous way with simile.
Of course, I'm an idiot. There are just over two months to go to the grand Mazda London Triathlon, to be held in the Docklands on August 9 and 10, and things are not looking brilliant. Well, how could they be? Why had I chosen to forget that the last time I rode a bike ended with me rolling across two lanes of Islington traffic, my front wheel bent over like a pipe cleaner and my confidence even more buckled than that? Or that the only way I knew how to swim was by a dogged breaststroke, head out of the water like a labrador? So this first part of my journey concerns what a complex and challenging thing a triathlon really is, and why I should - this time - have listened to my wife.
He doesn't seem to be doing this one for charity. But if it turns out that he is, we will of course, let you know.