HISTORY

The Scourge of War: The Life of William Tecumseh Sherman

Oxford Univ. Jun. 2020. 640p. ISBN 9780195392739. $34.95. HIST
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In this compelling and lucid reassessment of William Tecumseh Sherman (1820–91), Reid (King’s Coll. London; America’s Civil War) dispels the myths and misreadings of the soldier and author, recasting him as a man of wide intellectual interests who understood that winning demanded strategic vision and assiduous planning. Reid’s Sherman grew from an officer unsure of himself to a confident general at once bold in thought, meticulous in planning, and deft and decisive in action. This proved essential in Sherman's famous marches through Georgia and the Carolinas that were, in design and execution, an essential demonstration of the Union's military power. Reid considers the operational aspects of war-making, especially logistics, which Sherman mastered, as well as the importance of Sherman's skill in inspiring common purpose among his troops. The author concludes that Sherman was a leader who understood and respected the political and military needs of the day.
VERDICT Sometimes argumentative but always insightful, this study of Sherman ranks among the best renderings of the man and the conduct of the Civil War, and will help readers reconsider Sherman's character and the discipline necessary to succeed in war.

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