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William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life Paperback – Illustrated, June 13, 2017
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― Richard Snow, The Wall Street Journal
"[McDonough] tells this story well."
― Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times Book Review
"A fascinating American life."
― John Timpane, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Superbly researched and richly detailed, James McDonough’s William Tecumseh Sherman judiciously guides the reader through the epic life of the man who might be history’s most complicated soldier. For Sherman fans it is a must-read, and for others, a worthwhile endeavor."
― Robert L. O’Connell, best-selling author of Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman
"James McDonough’s William Tecumseh Sherman is the first major biography of this complex, challenging figure in almost a quarter century, and it is deeply researched and thoughtfully presented. Engagingly written, it brings new perspective to Sherman’s prewar years and the benefit of a lifetime of study to his Civil War career. Perhaps no one will ever completely capture Sherman, but McDonough’s wide net snares more than enough of the new with the old to make this a life well worth reading."
― William C. Davis, author of Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee―The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged
"A vigorous military biography…welcome reading for any student of Civil War history."
― Kirkus, starred review
"A well-rounded study…Everything about this book will interest readers who want to know more about antebellum America and the Civil War."
― Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
"One of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I—or you— have ever read." —Augusten Burroughs Learn more
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Illustrated edition (June 13, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 832 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393354202
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393354201
- Item Weight : 1.38 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #101,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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If I could make one negative comment it is that I wish the author had spent more time (this would have made the book longer obviously) on Sherman after the Civil War
I found this book to be a well written and researched look at the life of Sherman, particularly as it relates to his actions during the Civil War, where he gained his greatest measure of fame and respect. Since I was well familiar with much of this through the Grant biography (though not the details of the Atlanta campaign), I was more intrigued with the period between Sherman’s initial Army career and his re-entry into the Army upon the commencement of Civil War hostilities, as well as his post-Civil War career. Before the War, he bounced back and forth in a succession of jobs and careers, all of which resulted in abysmal failure. Never has a man been better suited for a job, than Sherman in the role of Army commander.
Sherman’s greatest strengths were in the area of logistics, planning, strategy and execution of that strategy. Never was this more apparent than in the Atlanta campaign, in which he provisioned over 100,000 federal troops via a single, strung-out rail line aided by local foraging. He repeatedly flanked the Confederate troops, forcing them to abandon strong defensive positions time after time, executing numerous dangerous river crossings until he reached the outskirts of Atlanta having fired barely a shot. This, at the same time that Grant was sustaining staggering losses in his attempt to batter the Army of Northern Virginia into submission. There would be no Cold Harbor for Sherman.
While reveling in his success and enjoying the power of his position, he was nevertheless perfectly happy to defer to Grant in all things and was loyal to Grant his entire life, serving as Commanding General of the Army in the Grant administration and for many years thereafter. Questions have been raised concerning his mental stability and he clearly suffered some form of nervous breakdown early in the War when assigned responsibility for operations in Kentucky with very little support, however there is no indication that subsequent operations were ever impacted by what could have been a tendency toward depression. Certainly, the family dynamic which he faced (a less than supportive wife) would be troublesome to any man, especially one who faced as many personal financial and business reverses as did Sherman during the decade of the 1850s.
All in all, this is a good biography of a very deserving subject; one that is relatively even handed, though the author tends to support Sherman’s position on most issues. I’ve read more engaging biographies (American Ulysses for one), but can recommend this one nonetheless.
Top reviews from other countries
I would recommend to anyone who is interested in American history, the civil war, and biographies of great persons of this period.