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Memoirs of General William T. Sherman Hardcover – Import, 1957

4.6 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War centennial series
  • Hardcover: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (1957)
  • ASIN: B0000CK8UC
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.7 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,008,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Connor on August 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am reviewing the Library of America edition of Sherman's Memoirs
In 1875 General William Sherman published the first edition of his Memoirs. They were controversial. Eleven years later Sherman published his second edition, with two new chapters, and appendixes. To be sure the memoirs remained controversial. Even today there seems to be no middle ground. He is either a great general, or an overrated one. He is either "hailed as a prophet of modern war or condemned as a modern barbarism." There have been full scale biographies and books about his campaigns, but none are as rewarding as these memoirs.
The chapters which interested me the most were the ones where Sherman is most emotionally involved. In Chapter 7 Sherman writes of his time at the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. Sherman gives a "Clay Whig" description of that state's secession, and how hard he took it. Another chapter which I found thrilling is Chapter 19. On page 601 Sherman quotes a letter he wrote to Atlanta's Mayor James Calhoun and others: "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and all those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out."
I recommend the Library of America edition of Sherman's Memoirs because it reprints the second edition. Make sure you buy a reprint of the second edition because the it includes information that was not included in the first edition.
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Format: Hardcover
After the Civil War, there were many public misunderstandings and misrepresentations about General William T. Sherman. Secretary of War Stanton had caused to be published certain opinions of his that Sherman had messed things up, and many supporters of General Grant gave him all the credit for Sherman's famous march to the sea and Atlanta campaign (which was entirely Sherman's idea). Partly to dispel popular misconceptions about him, and partly to provide future historians with a great primary resource (which intention he states in the opening pages of this work), General Sherman decided to undertake the writing of his memoirs, and this is the result.

The historical value of these memoirs is enormous. Sherman contributed a great deal to the war, and was partially responsible for the war ending when it did. He conducted one of the most brilliant military campaigns in modern history (actually, they were three campaigns--Atlanta, Savannah, and the Carolinas) and accomplished what many considered to be the impossible. His policy of total war, applied in the South, was utilized by Sheridan in the Shenandoah, and was later slightly modified to be used against the Indians. Thanks to his memoirs, we have a step-by-step account of how this policy developed.

Sherman's work is engaging and very to the point. He is meticulous almost to a fault in his quest for accuracy and detail. His writing is very, very good, and easy to read. Also, Sherman truly (I believe) endeavored to be completely objective in his evaluations, and accomplished this end better even than most modern historians. He is quick to give praise and slow to censure, but is not afraid to record the failures of his subordinates when necessary.
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Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately General Sherman did not share General Grant's natural ability with the pen. General Sherman's book is a collection of his major wartime correspondence linked together by his narrative. This provides a quite fascinating look at Sherman's career for the historian of both the professional or "armchair" variety, but may make for a more tedious read for the common enthusiast. Nevertheless, many gems are contained in the pages of this blunt and straightforward story. The memoirs are the source of all his famous quotes and misquotes that are popularly repeated, such as "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it".
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Format: Hardcover
Written by General W.T. Sherman himself; first published less than a decade after the end of the Civil War. Although 1100+ pages, every paragraph of this book is fascinating. While it can't possibly be read in one sitting it's very difficult to put down.
In character with the efficency of organization he was known for in managing every aspect of his life, this book is pure information, fact, personal insights, important correspondence, personal recollections of conversations with relevant historic figures and is, at times very amusing.
Rather than dealing with his whole life, this book was written as a first hand account detailing events of the Civil War, particularly the armies under his direct command as well as events leading up to the Civil War and relevant political events after the war.
Straightforward and efficient, no fluff.
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Format: Paperback
After reading Shelby Foote's huge narrative of the civil war, I was fascinated about Sherman. This book did not live up to my expectations, partly because I wanted more feelings, and reasoning behind the actions. I wanted to get into his head. What you get instead is a real detailed account, obviously taken from journal entries and official correspondence. The only candid or in-depth portions of the book are when Sherman gives derrogatory accounts of the performance of some of the officers. Given that criticism, it is still fascinating, yet dry and long reading. His time in California during the Mexican War is fascinating. The real tragedy of the book is that it stops at the end of the civil war. I understand he did some interesting things after the war, but I guess you have to find another source for that.
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