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Lincoln Finds a General: A Military Study of the Civil War (Volume One) Paperback – September 1, 1985


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The War That Forged a Nation
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Three years of war passed before the historic day in March, 1864, when the experienced and modest Grant met Lincoln, also experienced and equally modest. Behind the General were notable successes; behind the President were months of disappointment with generals who had been unequal to the hard task of conducting offensive operations against the Confederate army commanded by Lee, and who had even missed good chances of shortening the war by destroying Lee's army on his two ventures across the Potomac.
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Product Details

  • Series: Lincoln Finds a Gene (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (September 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253203597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253203595
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,860,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By COL (ret'd) Albert C. Bole on August 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
(This pertains just to Volume I) We have had three Presidents who conducted a major war: Lincoln, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. Wilson had John J. Pershing; Roosevelt had George C. Marshall. Lincoln had none; his greatest prospect was Robert E. Lee. So the very title of this book conveys a task for Lincoln that had to be done, if the Union were to survive. And so, Professor Williams starts out telling us in no uncertain terms that the beginning of the war showed no generals likely to be able to do the job . . . he completes Volume One with McClellan--who is not the general Lincoln wants. And we are anxious for subsequent volume(s) for Professor Williams takes us to Sam Grant--the general Lincoln finally found. This book moves along, and as it does, we fairly ache with the disappointment Lincoln suffered time and time again.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent analysis of beginning of Civil War and McClellan's rise/beginning of his fall. William's easily readable, yet thorough analysis of the political and military goings-on just prior to the fall of Fort Sumter through Antietam makes one anxious to read the complete set of Lincoln Finds a General. Obviously no fan of McCellan, Kenneth Williams makes an eloquent case against "the redoubtable McC" and gives a clear picture of the difficulties he made for Lincoln by his hesitancy and obtuseness. In this volume, Williams paves the way for other volumes illustrating the further trials of Linclon in his search for a military man who could help him save the nation-one who was not overawed by Bobby Lee. One can imagine his thankfulness and relief when he found Grant: "I can't spare this man--he fights!" As a Civil War buff of 40 years, I was enchanted by this book and have spent over 10 years searching for the complete set--I found it once in an antique book store in Columbia, SC for $350 (first edition set of the complete original volumes) at a time when that seemed a fortune to me. I wish I had gotten that set as I have never seen it again, but I have re-read this little volume so many times that it is greatly worn--proof of its readabiliy and texture. A real treat for any Civil War buff.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a real treat for a civil war buff. It goes into a great deal of detail and covers some things that I didn't find in either Shelby Footes 3 volume work on the civil war or in the single volume work by McPherson. It goes into considerable detail regarding McClellan's failures and shows McClellans failure to follow orders and send troops to support Pope at 2nd Bull Run which could easily have changed it from a defeat to a victory. It also shows Pope in a much better light as a general than he is usually represented. It also goes into McClellan's apparent motives for thisfailure. It leaves one anxious to read volumes II and III of the trilogy.
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