Sunday, October 23, 2011

Biography: Sherman-The Ruthless Victor (Book Review)

The Generals: Sherman
The Ruthless Victor,  By Agostino von Hassell and Ed Breslin
 ISBN-13: 9781595551337

I began reading Sherman-The Ruthless Victor as most Southerners are prone to do prejudiced toward and with disdain for a Union General who pursued a ruthless rampage of killing, burning, raping, and destroying the peoples and every step of Southern soil on which he and his Union soldiers trampled in his march to the sea aimed at subjugating the peoples of the South and as he continued marching into North Carolina and the surrender.  I finished still feeling that Sherman's war strategy was and still is inhumane and uncalled for.

I was saddened to learn that his childhood and approach into maturity was so riddled with lack of family continuity and strength.  His dependency and "beholdenment" to his step father who eventually becomes his father-in-law.  Sherman's background as portrayed in Sherman-The Ruthless Victor gives much insight into his early life and how it shapes his personality and need to succeed.  However, success eludes him at every turn.

The Civil War gave opportunity for Sherman to advance and potentially succeed.  Perhaps it is his drive and need to succeed that made him into the man he became and the ruthless invader he was.
pg. 114 - "Sherman prosecuted the remainder of the Union war effort with savage efficiency.  Rentless and unflinching, Grant pressed onward, practicing all-out war, a new kind of war, not the Napoleonic warfare taught at West Point .......   Sherman did likewise, adding even speedier features to Grant's strategy of constant forward aggression.  Sherman, however,despite the unprecedented mobility he brought to modern warfare, would cross a line, becoming almost feral as he implemented 'total war' and its gratuitous horrors."  (italics mine)
This small biography gives a good, clear historical overview of Sherman's life, events that shaped his life, and his resulting success as a General in the Union army.  It is indeed interesting to learn that Sherman's tactics have been studied by military strategists in several countries and have been adapted as military methodology.

If one enjoys history, this is a good read.  Not unduly long yet covers fairly comprehensively the life and events of the time of General Sherman.

I was given a copy of Sherman: The Ruthless Victor by Thomas Nelson Publishers to review as part of the BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review.  I was not under obligation to give a positive review.  This book is one in a series, The Generals, published by Thomas Nelson.

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