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Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief Paperback – September 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Given the importance of Lincoln's role as commander-in-chief to the nation's very survival, says McPherson, this role has been underexamined. McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom), the doyen of Civil War historians, offers firm evidence of Lincoln's military effectiveness in this typically well-reasoned, well-presented analysis. Lincoln exercised the right to take any necessary measures to preserve the union and majority rule, including violating longstanding civil liberties (though McPherson considers the infringements milder than those adopted by later presidents). As McPherson shows, Lincoln understood the synergy of political and military decision-making; the Emancipation Proclamation, for instance, harmonized the principles of union and freedom with a strategy of attacking the crucial Confederate resource of slave labor. Lincoln's commitment to linking policy and strategy made him the most hands-on American commander-in-chief; he oversaw strategy and offered operational advice, much of it shrewd and perceptive. Lincoln may have been an amateur of war, but McPherson successfully establishes him as America's greatest war leader. (Oct. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Reviewers indicated that they would have embraced any new book by James McPherson on any aspect of the Civil War period. But current events likely compelled them to recommend this highly readable, informative book with special enthusiasm. The nature of the president's war powers, particularly the precedent set by Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, has been a central question of the Bush presidency. And as the highest office in the land is passed to Barack Obama, who is both a great admirer of Lincoln and who will become the only other president to hail from Illinois, McPherson's analysis should be particularly timely. Critics agreed we could have no better guide; as Timothy Rutten wrote in the Los Angeles Times, McPherson is "one of those scholars whose ingrained integrity simply precludes him from stacking the historical deck."
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Lincoln was in a tough position. The best military commanders were split between the Union and Confederacy. A new President with little knowledge of the Union's military commanders ( and untested military commanders at that) did not know who was competant and capabile. He did know the depth and breadth of his own capabilities.
This is not new scholarship, but is the distilled thinking of a significant American historian in the twilight of his distinguished career. (If you have not read Dr. McPherson's great "Battle Cry of Freedom", please consider doing so.)
Most recent customer reviews
If you have read lots on Lincoln there is nothing really new in this book. One thing this book does do however is gives an interesting overview of how...Read more