Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sherman: The Ruthless Victor


“Sherman: The Ruthless Victor” by Agostino Von Hassell and Ed Breslin is one of six books in The Generals series and is about one of the great Union generals in the Civil War, William Tecumseh Sherman. In the first two chapters, we learn about Sherman’s childhood and his years at West Point. When Sherman was a small child he lost his father and was sent to live with a foster family, but he never really felt included in the family and always felt beholden to them. When he went to West Point, he finally felt like he was home. These years made Sherman the man he was. He wanted fame and to remembered as a great person. He did not want to be indebted to anybody, especially his in-laws. In chapters three through seven, we learn about his life up until the Civil War. Sherman wanted to be a military man, but he wanted to be in the action and he needed financial security for his family so he resigned from the military. He moved a lot in hopes of finding a suitable and lasting job, but he never did. Finally he found a job in Louisiana as the superintendent at the Louisiana Military Academy. He loved the position and he loved the south; Sherman was known for being proslavery. But when the Civil War broke out he knew he had to leave and return to the North. Chapters eight through twelve are about his strategies and battles in the war. We see how Sherman’s motivation for fame played a part in his strategies. We also learn some of the events that drove him to a nervous breakdown. Then we have his return to the battlefield at the Battle of Shiloh. We finish with Sherman’s famous, or infamous depending on where you are from, March to the Sea and finally the end of the war.

We all learn about the Civil War and the great generals in school. But we never learn about how they grew up to be the great leaders they were unless we read books like this. In this book, you will see how Sherman’s childhood played a role in the man he becomes. You will learn why he did certain things in the war that most of us never understood. And you will also learn how personal tragedies and disappointments throughout his life shaped him. I highly recommend this book if you are a Civil War buff. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.

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