Fierce Patriot

Fierce Patriot

The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman

Book - 2014
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"America's first 'celebrity' general, William Tecumseh Sherman was a man of many faces. Some of them were exalted in the public eye. Others were known only to intimates--his family, friends and lovers, and the soldiers under his command. In this rich and layered portrait, Robert L. O'Connell captures the man in full for the first time. From his early exploits in Florida, to his role in California at the start of the Gold Rush, through his brilliant but tempestuous generalship during the Civil War, and to his postwar career as a key player in the building of the transcontinental railroad, Sherman was, as O'Connell puts it, the 'human embodiment of Manifest Destiny.' As he peels away the layers of the Sherman persona, O'Connell dispels a number of common misperceptions about his subject. He sheds new light on Sherman's relationship with Ulysses S. Grant, and also on his struggle against Nathan Bedford Forrest and the insurgency that was the other half of the Civil War along the Mississippi. Later he reveals Sherman's fabled march from Atlanta to the sea not as a campaign of unmitigated destruction, as it is often portrayed, but the careful execution of a necessary piece of strategy calculated to scare the South back into the Union. O'Connell's Sherman is no Attila, but a complicated soldier/statesman--perhaps the quintessential nineteenth-century American."--www.Amazon.com.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2014]
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781400069729
1400069726
Branch Call Number: History 973.737 OCO

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rbrick
Sep 22, 2014

An excellent biography on a truly amazing individual. Obviously an individual of amazing strengths and talents but also a person with deep flaws.

While eventually being one of the key reasons the union army was ultimately successful, Sherman failed to show any significant successes initially in business or militarily. Indeed after his first major command [which he was given despite his request that he never be so assigned] he suffered a mental breakdown and had to be relieved of command.

His views on race relations were archaic even for his times. He treated natives and people of colour in ways that were completely unacceptable and unnecessary. Yet he also was respectful towards members of those races and tended to have good relations with individuals with whom he dealt.

There seems no doubt that he had an unabiding love for his wife [who was also his step-sister with whom he lived from the age of 9] but their marriage consisted mainly of long periods of separation [although they did have 8 children].

I would strongly recommend the book.

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