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Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American Paperback – March 22, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best analysis of General Sherman that has appeared."-Saturday Review

?The best analysis of General Sherman that has appeared.?-Saturday Review --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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12 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (March 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306805073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306805073
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I first began to read this book I was concerned that it might be outdated. However, I found much of the subject matter to be quite timely. Of particular interest was the impact that Sherman's successful (albeit violent) trek through Georgia had on the 1864 elections. I never realized how close the Copperhead (Peace) Democrats came to winning that election and perhaps bringing the Civil War to a far differnet conclusion . Hart bring Sherman to life. He also vividly illustrates the behind the scene politics that almost prevented Sherman (not to mention Grant) from their historic roles in the Civil War. Don't be put off by the subject matter or the age of the book. It's worth the read.
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By A Customer on January 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dispite having read most of major accounts of the American Civil War, I had not fully understood the central role played by Sherman until I read Hart's book. Hart makes it clear that Sherman's appreciation of the futility of attacking entrenched positions and his consequently developed strategy and tactics turned the tide for the North, salvaged the 1864 election for Lincoln, and saved perhaps tens of thousands of Union and Rebel lives. He also points out that the same insight accounts for most of Lee's success, i.e., Lee won battles in which he entised the North to attack entrenched positions (e.g. Fredricksburg) and lost when he attacked entrenched positions himself (e.g. Gettysburg). Hart fully disposes of the popular prejudice held widely in the South that Sherman's approach to war was more inhumane than the alternative of massive blood letting which was by virtually every other Civil War general. It is rare to find a historical account containing so much insight.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was dense and at times I wasn't sure I was going to make it all the way through, but having done so I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. Hart's portrait of William T Sherman is so vivid and inspiring and informative that I almost feel like I have lost something not having known this of him my whole life. There is obviously the hated legend of Sherman as the man who ravaged and burned the South (which strangely enough was not most strongly felt by the actual Southerners who experienced his "wrath"). This myth belies his strategic genius, his mastery of terrain and his deep understanding of statesmanship and politics. For instance, the severity of his campaign through Atlanta and then up through Charleston was driven not just by an aim to end the South's will to fight, but to prevent it from devolving into a guerrilla resistance after the inevitable Northern victory. (Jesse James and his band of bank robbers are examples of what this could have been.)

There is a stunningly profound quote from Hart in the book that I'll paraphrase here but I've put it on my wall to think more about: Sherman's success was rooted in his grasp that the way to success is strategically along the line of least expectation and tactically along the line of least resistance. Buy this book, struggle through it and you'll be a better person for it. (And if you like Sherman, or the Civil War, James McPherson's This Mighty Scourge is the next book to read.)
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Format: Paperback
Sherman was both the most original genius of the Civil War, and "the typical American". His career provides lessons to the modern world and to modern warfare. It was his conscious exploitation of the economic and psychological factors of war in his "March through Georgia" which helped to end the Civil War. The long and expensive battles in Northern Virginia were replayed on the battlefields of France in the Great War.
The Union attempted to take Richmond by the shortest and most direct route; but this way was blocked with natural obstacles. If the Confederates fell back they would be closer to their reserves, supplies, and reinforcements. These facts favored the entrenched defenders.
The western campaign ended in the capture of Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi from St. Louis to New Orleans. Liddell Hart contrasts the maneuvers here to the stalemate back east. But the conditions, or politics, did not allow a wide flanking invasion through West Virginia or North Carolina. The threat to Richmond kept Confederate troops there. Longstreet proposed an invasion of Kentucky, a far flanking attack, but was turned down by Lee.
It explains how Sherman out-maneuvered Johnston from Chattanooga to Atlanta. By threatening to outflank Johnston, the Confederates fell back. His replacement by Hood did not prevent the capture of Atlanta. This revived the hope of victory for the North, and helped to re-elect Lincoln.
Sherman then abandoned his supply and communication lines (vulnerable to attack) and marched on to Savannah and the ocean. His army lived off the land. This enabled his army to be resupplied by the Navy. He then marched north, seeming to attack other cities, but passed between and continued to destroy railroads and bridges.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This biography of Sherman is a study of the man Liddell Hart believes to be the great strategic thinker of the American Civil War. It is more a study of his psychology, much of it derived from original sources such as telegraphic messages, than an account of battles. Sherman was a complex man with a background in banking and commerce that served him well in planning his campaigns in the Confederacy. At the outbreak of hostilities, he was headmaster of a military academy in Louisiana and the local people tried to induce him to stay in spite of his open Union sympathies. He was offered a positon as Assistant Secretary of War but declined to seek a military command. His contempt for politicians was later expressed in his famous refusal to accept a nomination for the Presidency. He was the most intellectual general of the war and Liddell Hart is very interested in his thinking. This is a valuable book for those interested in leadership.
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