Reviewers of this book have been completely snookered by author Wiley Sword, who shamelessly concealed every diary, memoir, letter, testimony, etc. of every soldier and commander-Confederate or Federal-who said anything in support of Hood's actions and decisions during the Tennessee Campaign. As regarding Hood, this book is nothing more than an eloquently written compendium of everything negative ever written or spoken about Hood.
One example (and there are hundreds of others) of testimony concealed by Sword is TN Governor Isham Harris, who wrote to Jeff Davis on Dec. 25, 1864, ""I have been with General Hood from the beginning of this campaign, and beg to say, disastrous as it has ended, I am not able to see anything that General Hood has done that he should not, or neglected anything that he should have done which it was possible to do. Indeed, the more that I have seen and known of him and his policy, the more I have been pleased with him and regret to say that if all had performed their parts as well as he, the results would have been very different."
Another example are the words of beloved Private Sam Watkins, whose memoirs, "Company Aytch" is a Civil War classic, and quoted extensively by Sword. Only when Watkins' comments were critical of Gen. Hood does Sword quote him. What other things did Watkins have to say about Hood that Sword slyly omitted from his text? How about these:
"He [Hood] was a noble, brave and good man, and we loved him for his virtues and goodness of heart."
"We all loved Hood, he was such a clever fellow, and a good man."
"Poor fellow, I loved him, not as a general, but as a good man. Every impulse of his nature was to do good, and to serve his country as best he could."
"General John B. Hood did all that he could. The die had been cast. Our cause had been lost before he took command. He fought with the everlasting grip of the bulldog and the fierceness of the wounded tiger. The army had been decimated until it was a mere skeleton...when he commenced his march into Tennessee."
And Watkins wrote this epitaph for his former commander in May 1884:
But the half of brave Hood's body molders here:
The rest was lost in honor's bold career.
Both limbs and fame he scattered all around,
Yet still, though mangled, was with honor crowned;
For ever ready with his blood to part,
War left him nothing whole - except his heart.
Roman historian Cicero wrote, "The first law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice."
Shame on Wiley Sword for deceiving his readers, and tarnishing the honor of a defenseless dead Southern patriot who gave half his limbs and his eternal reputation for his country.