William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country; A Life

James Lee McDonough. Norton, $39.95 (832p) ISBN 978-0-393-24157-0
McDonough (The Western Confederacy’s Final Gamble), professor emeritus of history at Auburn University, adroitly weaves his prodigious knowledge of Civil War–era America into this behemoth biography as he brilliantly captures Gen. Sherman’s personality. Diving right into the action, McDonough opens with Sherman at the 1862 battle of Shiloh. The bloody Union victory there was a turning point in the brigadier general’s career, McDonough argues, instilling in him a level of confidence that enhanced his leadership skills. Before then, Sherman’s military career waxed and waned. After graduating from West Point in 1840, he initially disregarded advice from his wealthy guardian and future father-in-law, Thomas Ewing, to give up the army for a more lucrative profession. Three years after marrying Ellen Ewing in 1850, Sherman left the army to try his hand at a variety of civilian occupations, but once the Civil War started, he couldn’t rationalize staying out of it. Though primarily interested in Sherman the general—which will likely be the main attraction for most readers—McDonough leaves no aspect of Sherman’s life or times unexamined, including the story of his original first name, the debate over the expansion of slavery, and the politics of Reconstruction. McDonough has produced an exhaustive biography told with considerable narrative skill. Maps & illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 832 pages - 978-0-393-24212-6
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MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5468-2
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