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Sheridan: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan Paperback – July 27, 1993


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Sheridan: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan + Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan + Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 (Emerging Civil War)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 27, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679743987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679743989
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,801,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Morris presents the first modern biography of the Union's great calvary commander, who fought the Confederacy in the Civil War and Plains Indians in the West. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A vigorous biography of the pugnacious Civil War general and Indian fighter, affectionately called ``Little Phil''--behind his back. The Union cavalry leader who rallied his seemingly routed Army of the Shenandoah with an electrifying ride back to the front at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Sheridan (as detailed by Morris, editor of the magazine America's Civil War) emerges as supremely competent if not always likable. Unlike his superiors Grant and Sherman, Sheridan served in uniform without interruption for his entire adult life, rising from lowly origins as the son of an indigent Irish-Catholic immigrant to become commander of America's army. Gruff, combative, at times ruthless, he was, Morris explains, uncomfortable in postwar roles as military supervisor of Texas and Louisiana and as the politically incorrect destroyer of Western tribes (though his oft-quoted ``the only good Indian is a dead Indian'' may be apocryphal). Nor was he perfect in battle, as evidenced in lapses at Perryville and Chickamauga and in dragging his heels in destroying Lee's army after the Shenandoah campaign. Yet, unlike his subordinate, the dashing but foolhardy George Armstrong Custer, Sheridan, Morris demonstrates, was as deliberate and careful as he was brave. A master of detail since his days as a teenaged stock clerk and young quartermaster, he ensured that he led a force that was well supplied, effectively outnumbering and concentrated against the enemy, and thoroughly briefed by scouts and spies. His self-confident battlefield magnetism appealed both to the common soldier and to mentors such as Grant and Lincoln's chief of staff Henry Halleck. A pungent, authoritative, and convincing portrait of the bantam cadet who became one of the Civil War's giants. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs; four maps.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Candace Scott on February 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Though Roy Morris writes well and illuminates Sheridan's character adequately, there is ultimately something flat about this effort. His attempts to give a definitive analysis of Sheridan are compromised by some factual gaffes and problems in interpreting Sheridan in the context of his times. It must be stressed that being a bigot in the mid-19th century was accepted practice and not odious, as it's viewed today. Morris is sympathetic to Sheridan throughout, even in the midst of his advocating genocide for the Native American.
The lack of personal detail is disquieting. There is insufficient material on Sheridan's mistress from the 1850's and his marriage late in life.
A strong point of the book is Morris' descriptions of little Phil's relationships with Grant and Sherman, two generals infinitely superior and more intelligent that Sheridan. Morris does a good job in explaining this triumvirate that saved the nation during the civil war.
This is a good biography, but scarcely groundbreaking or on the cutting edge of scholarship. The elusive character of Philip Sheridan will have to await a more gifted and grounded biographer.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Phillip Sheridan's importance to the Union effort in the Civil War cannot be overstated. His place as a general in blue ranks behind only Sherman and Grant. His best moments were at Winchester where he stemmed a Union defeat and turned it into a smashing vistory, and at Five Forks where he routed a derelict George Pickett and ended the stalemate around Petersburg. He also led a fascinating life in the military both before and after the war, eventually becomming the army's commanding general late in his life. Morris's book is well written, but it lacks the drama of say the recent biographies of Grant and Sherman. I think this is because the stories of those two generals, who both overcame much adversity in both their personal and professional lives, are much more compelling. Sheridan was a great general, but not a tragic or epic figure. But at least he has a biography that does his memory justice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
While this book provides an in-depth view into the man himself, it does not provide the reader with detailed accounts of his campaigns and battles. It does analyze them on a basic level, but does not capture the imagination the way one would expect of a battle such as Brandy Station or Five Forks. However, it is a very readable and enjoyable book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Being a dyed in the wool history buff, and especially interested in the American Civil War, I was somewhat disappointed in the lack of attention payed by the author to Sheridan's battles and tactics. However, much has already been written on that subject by others, including Sheridan himself (in excruciating detail). I found the book interesting for it's attempted insight into the man and why he may have acted as he did, especially after the war. My great-aunt Margie (Sheridan's grand-niece) always said he was a S.O.B.. I can see how that opinion may have merit in certain circles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on December 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One wonders if "Little Phil" Sheridan might be the perfect example of someone afflicted with the "little man complex." Only 5'5" tall, he was combative and aggressive almost to a fault. He was almost booted out of West Point for attacking a fellow cadet with a bayonet and then his fists, and his severe Reconstruction methods in Texas and Louisiana got him transferred - twice. But he was a competent commander and inspired loyalty in his troops. Roy Morris's biography is a good one, especially regarding Sheridan's Civil War career.

After leaving West Point, the 22-year-old Sheridan served in the infantry on the Texas frontier. Working in administrative posts during the early months of the war, it wasn't until May 1962 that he got his first command in the Michigan Cavalry. He distinguished himself at Booneville, MS, and then at Perryville, KY, three months later. He also played prominent roles at Stones River, TN, Chickamauga, and at Yellow Tavern, VA, where his men killed Lee's "eyes of the Confederate Army" Jeb Stuart. His most celebrated engagement in the war came during the so-called Shenandoah Valley Campaign (Aug, '64-March '65), with important victories at Winchester and Waynesboro. He was instrumental in halting Lee's retreat westward at Appomattox Court House.

After the war he commanded forces of the Fifth Military District in Texas and Louisiana, but his harsh Reconstruction enforcement policies led to his being transferred to Missouri. He led a campaign against the Indians in Kansas in 1868-69 (it was during this time that the infamous quote about dead Indians being the only good ones was attributed to Sheridan, though he always denied it and Morris can offer no proof that he actually said it).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
A serviceable biography of General Phil Sheridan, the short, profane, and very aggressive Union general. This book traces his career, from his youth to his checkered career at West Point to his service in the Army.

In the Civil War, his first command was as an infantry officer. He served well in that capacity, at Murfreesboro, for example. When Grant went east, he requested that Sheridan take command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac. And, here, Sheridan sparkled. When the Army of Northern Virginia dispatched Jubal Early to the Shenandoah to raise havoc, Sheridan was sent to command Union forces in the Valley. Here, of course, he gained fame with his famous ride to the battlefield at Cedar Creek. Later, back with the cavalry outside Petersburg, he sealed the fate of the Confederate army with his defeat of Pickett's forces at Five Forks.

After the war was over, Sheridan moved west, to lead the military against the Indian nations. The book covers his activities on this front, including his relationship with George Armstrong Custer.

In the final analysis, this is a nicely rendered biography of Phil Sheridan.
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