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William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life Hardcover – June 14, 2016
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“[McDonough] offers a great deal of shrewd military analysis, but what gives the book its vigor is [his] presentation of Sherman’s propulsive personality.” (Richard Snow - Wall Street Journal)
“Masterly...the product of a historian's lifelong study....a full-blooded narrative.” (Carl Rollyson - The Wall Street Journal)
“[McDonough] tells this story well.” (Thomas E. Ricks - New York Times Book Review)
“Sherman's is surely a fascinating American life, in war and peace alike, and this packed book will beguile a whole summer with ease.” (John Timpane - Philadelphia Inquirer)
“A well-rounded study.... Everything about this book will interest readers who want to know more about antebellum America and the Civil War.” (Starred Review - Library Journal)
“McDonough…adroitly weaves his prodigious knowledge of Civil War-era America into this behemoth biography as he brilliantly captures Gen. Sherman’s personality…. an exhaustive biography told with considerable narrative skill.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A vigorous military biography….welcome reading for any student of Civil War history.” (Starred review - Kirkus)
“Superbly researched and richly detailed, James McDonough’s William Tecumseh Sherman judiciously guides the reader through the epic life of the man who might be history’s most complicated soldier. For Sherman fans it is a must-read, and for others, a worthwhile endeavor.” (Robert L. O’Connell, best-selling author of Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman)
“James McDonough's William Tecumseh Sherman is the first major biography of this complex, challenging figure in almost a quarter century, and it is deeply researched and thoughtfully presented. Engagingly written, it brings new perspective to Sherman’s pre-war years and the benefit of a lifetime of study to his Civil War career. Perhaps no one will ever completely capture Sherman, but McDonough's wide net snares more than enough of the new with the old to make this a life well worth reading.” (William C. Davis, author of Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee―The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged)
About the Author
James Lee McDonough is a Civil War historian and professor emeritus at Auburn University. The author of nine books, including Nashville: The Western Confederacy’s Final Gamble and Shiloh: In Hell Before Night, he lives in Lewisburg, Tennessee.
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Top Customer Reviews
If I could make one negative comment it is that I wish the author had spent more time (this would have made the book longer obviously) on Sherman after the Civil War
Even readers who already have an appreciation for Sherman's place in 19th century history should read this book. it presents a very detailed examination of Sherman's childhood, education, early military career, civilian banking career, Civil War service, and post Civil War career. The reader learns that Sherman's March to the Sea was actually a march from Atlanta to Savannah. This much celebrated, unconventional march was launched by a prior conventional military campaign that followed railroad lines extending from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Also, Sherman believed and said repeatedly that his march from Savannah to Columbus was much more noteworthy than the better known March to the Sea.
McDonough differs as well from O'Connell's analysis of Sherman's character. O'Connell states repeatedly that Sherman preferred to remain second on command because he had an aversion to both being in charge and being ultimately responsible. McDonough's more believable thesis is that the upper ranks of the military were viciously political. Because of Sherman's general aversion to politics, he chose to remain in a context where military rather than political considerations prevailed.
Another difference, O'Connell presents Sherman as somewhat inept as a banker in civilian life---returning to the military because he could not make it anywhere else. In contrast, McDonough presents Sherman as a consummate military man, but also as a successful and accomplished, trusted banker who only failed because of the very unstable economic environment in the 1850s.
This is a marvelous book. I came away from it admiring both Sherman and McDonough's presentation of this larger than life character.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The military actions (notably the taking of Atlanta and the March to the Sea)...Read more