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Posted on Oct 13, 2008 in Stuff We Like

History Animated – An Interview with Its Founder

By Jim H. Moreno

ACG: Do books come in handy when working on HistoryAnimated? What books do you read?

JC: I have used so many books they fill bookcases. Each time, I try to pick the best book based on reviews and the historian’s reputation. Two times I was very lucky. When I developed Midway, I learned that a new book Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully was about to be published – I worked on another project until I could get my hands on that book and it was well worth the wait. The second time, I was working on Gettysburg, and The Maps of Gettysburg: The Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 – July 13, 1863 by Bradley Gottfried was published just as I started. In both cases, the books provided a wealth of well-researched detail that was unavailable anywhere else.


My favorite authors are Shelby Foote, Peter Cozzens, and Albert Castel. My favorite books are Killer Angels by Michael Sharra and Shrouds of Glory by Winston Groom (the story of Hood’s last offensive).

ACG: What web sources do you most frequently use?

JC: The best map source is the US Military Academy Atlas. I use these maps as the base for all the Civil War work. For each battle/campaign, there are a variety of sites specializing on a battle or campaign. "The Battle of Antietam on the Web" is a great example.

ACG: What computer programs do you use for creating the animations?

JC: I use Macromedia Flash to create the animations. For sound I use Audacity (free, but does the job).

ACG: Do you do all the work yourself?

JC: Up until now, I have done the work by myself. My daughter is becoming quite skilled at Flash and digital graphics, so I have been getting some help from her. When I get stuck, I plaintively call out "Kim, I’m stuck again," and she usually will help me.

I like people who help me find errors – I think the pickiest one was the fellow who was incensed that I had the Fusio sinking before the Yamashiro in "The Battle of Surigao Strait." I immediately fixed it.

I do QA (haven’t been doing such a good job), but have recently gone over the entire Civil War series with a fine-tooth comb and think I have 99.9% of any text errors out.

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1 Comment

  1. I get an error message when I try to open the web site for
    It was a great site to learn history. I got hooked on the Midway animation. Any news of what became of Mr Cagney’s web site?


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