Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War

Charles Bracelen Flood, Author
Charles Bracelen Flood, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $26 (480p) ISBN 978-0-374-16600-7
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Nodding acquaintances at West Point, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman met again in 1862 and liked each other immediately. The author of this engaging dual biography doesn't claim this friendship "won the Civil War," but it made Union leadership remarkably friction free. Sherman, returning from a four-month sick leave he took to combat nerves, arrived on the battlefield of Shiloh with reinforcements for Grant; he served Grant loyally during the Vicksburg campaign, then accompanied him east to share in the victory at Chattanooga in November 1863. When Lincoln appointed Grant leader of all Union forces, Grant gave Sherman the Army of the Tennessee, an independent command. He captured Atlanta and marched brutally across Georgia while Grant fought to a bloody stalemate with Lee near Richmond. The surrender at Appomattox restored Grant's pre-eminence, and he and Sherman remained close after the war. The key, Flood writes, is that Sherman was the ideal subordinate, brilliant but insecure. In Grant he found a leader whose poise was contagious and who convinced Sherman he could do whatever job he was assigned. Better biographies of both exist, but Flood (Lee: The Last Years ) has written a solid book that illuminates their productive relationship. (Oct.)

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