The anniversary of the battle of Queenston Heights was most successfully commemorated in all the public schools of Toronto, on the 13th October last, large numbers of essays upon the battle being written in all the schools. As an encouragement to the children, who have written the best essays in each school, and who would otherwise receive no recognition of their success, a few loyal Canadians have compiled and subscribed the cost of producing this little collection of Patriotic Songs and Poems, as the most appropriate remembrance to be given to the scholars who have written the best essays on these subjects.
The songs and poems selected, although few in number, strike the keynote of Canadian history and sentiment. Among them may be found the romantic and touching story of the foundation of this Province by the United Empire Loyalists; who, driven from their homes in the revolted colonies, disappeared in the gloomy recesses of the unbroken wilderness of Upper Canada, and amid the most terrible hardships, privations, and trials,.
From the pathos of this period we come to the war of , when once more these men and their sons had to take up arms to defend the humble homes they were carving out of the forest. A scant people, then only 70,, they faced enormous odds, and in three long years of incessant war, [unnumbered page] drove back invasion after invasion of vastly superior numbers.
The triumphant martial spirit of a victorious people breaks out exultingly in the poems of this war—Queenston Heights, the Capture of Detroit, and the brave exploit of Laura Secord being described in stirring verse. There is nothing so striking in Canadian poetry as the great change that has come over it during the last few years.
The tone of confidence in our country, the buoyant faith in our great future, the deep feeling of loyalty to Canada and the Empire, that is shown in all the fugitive pieces of the last five years is most remarkable. Still we notice the same dominant idea of fearing God and honoring the king. The piety of the later poems is as marked as the loyalty. Canada has been compelled to defend her frontiers in open war in and in , and from filibusters in and , and again in and Every generation of our people for one hundred years has seen Canadian lives given up freely in defence of her soil and institutions and restrictions, and fishery disputes, have been used to retard our progress or coerce us into annexation.
Yet with it all our poems are singularly free from unfriendliness. There is no tone of aggression, but a steadfast determination to trust in God and stand firm for the right. The only tinge of bitterness that is shown, here and there, is towards those of our own people who lack faith in our future. He never recklessly put them in harm's way, and always thought of the consequences of any commands he gave. After the war ended, these men including Sherman would reunite every year faithfully. Always their "Uncle Billy" to the day they died. I had also forgotten what a significant part he played in building and completing the Transcontinental railroad.
Which without question changed the course of America. He was truly a complex figure in our history. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to read this account from Robert O'Connell. I found the book superficial, oddly segmented, and full of statements that are not supported in the text. O'Connell either gave up trying to write a perspicacious biography about Sherman or perhaps was not up to the task. Yes, Sherman was a very complex character living in a very complex time, but historical biographers have been revealing such characters for years for example, Adrian Goldsworthy's "Caesar: Life of a Colossus".
O'Connell admits to this in the introduction, which immediately made me concerned about the book. I could go on in great detail; however, I don't want to devote any more time to this book. I had high hopes for the book, but was greatly disappointed, and cannot recommend it to anyone who truly wants to understand Sherman. Evans review on Amazon. This book is divided into three parts with the most interesting section being the first since it deals with the pre-Civil War years as well as the bloody conflict itself.
Interestingly enough, sometimes Sherman was at war with himself which led to periods of depression and loss of self-confidence, especially after failures in business. The author clearly appreciates Sherman the warrior, pointing out his strengths as a strategist, however, he also points out his weaknesses when it comes to his le This book is divided into three parts with the most interesting section being the first since it deals with the pre-Civil War years as well as the bloody conflict itself. The author clearly appreciates Sherman the warrior, pointing out his strengths as a strategist, however, he also points out his weaknesses when it comes to his less-than-stellar relationship with the blacks who looked to Sherman's army as their hoped-for-rescuers.
The author ably describes the relationship between Grant and Sherman, which held true until Grant ran for President. It was only then that politics opened a wedge between the two men. Sherman preferred to stay with the army although he also encouraged the building of the transcontinental railroad. The second section of the book deals with this period.
It is also the most difficult part to read since it reflects Sherman's and others implacable nature toward the American Indians who were trying to preserve their way of life. The final section deals with his family life. He married his foster sister, Ellen, who had a politically influential family.
This relationship, along with that of his politically astute brother, John, who eventally became a senator, helped Sherman's career at opportune times. Unfortunately, the marriage was not always a happy one. The author ends the book with a visit to the huge statue of Sherman in Central Park. It is covered in gilt and rather relects the fiery man who brought such terror to the South. Grant was not as flashy as Sherman, but together they forged a partnership which brought victory.
Feb 19, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: amazon-vine , biography-memoir , I believe that for students of American History, both causal and serious, to say "Grant" without saying "Sherman," is simply not possible and Robert L. O'Connell's forthcoming biography on Sherman, will show us why this is true.
Divided into three segments, the first and longest deal I believe that for students of American History, both causal and serious, to say "Grant" without saying "Sherman," is simply not possible and Robert L. Divided into three segments, the first and longest deals with Sherman as a military strategist; the second deals with Sherman and "his" Army and how he handled his "boys" the results of their work; the third deals with Sherman as a child and a man with significant attention paid to his marriage to the well-connected Ellen Ewing who was his foster sister.
What impressed me about this book was that in addition to a very readable and helpful narrative on Sherman himself, is O'Connell's observations about the second generation of American leadership into which Sherman is chronologically born and the how the strategic and tactical development the US Army of the West has influenced US military doctrine since then.
See a Problem?
And in the introduction, O'Connell also reminds us of the challenges of writing about persons long dead whose visible nature eludes us which offers both a challenge and an opportunity. While O'Connell's overall portrait of Sherman is sympathetic, he does not soften Sherman's sharp edges such as his refusal to bow to Ellen's desire for him to become a Catholic; nor does O'Connell ignore Sherman's weaknesses such as his deep depression, called 'madness' in the day during the early campaigns. He brings all of that to the page and more. Those for whom the name "Sherman" still evokes disgust and outright hostility will probably take O'Connell to task for glossing over the dark points of his "march to the sea" campaign and muting his strategy in driving back the Native Americans and exterminating the buffalo for the purpose of connecting America via the transcontinental railroad.
And it is here where O'Connell, I think, does a good job of untangling it into three distinct strands all of which is William Tecumseh Sherman. This biography is not an extremely detailed and scholarly treatment of Sherman within the context of his times but it is a wonderful and noteworthy introduction to this unique American.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it helped me gain a fresh understanding of who Sherman was. Note: I received an uncorrected advance proof of this book via Amazon Vine in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. Jul 14, Jean rated it really liked it Shelves: biography , civil-war , non-fiction , audio , history , military-history. William Tecumseh Sherman was born in in Ohio.
He was the grandson of Roger Sherman of Connecticut a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the architects of the Constitution. He fathered eleven children and died unexpectedly in WTC was adopted by Thomas Ewing a friend of his fathers and a wealthy lawyer and politician. He was a U. Senator from Ohio during the Civil War and after. The section that covers the Civil War is extremely detailed. Grant, they fought together at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga.
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Sherman was promoted to Major General and turned loose by Grant in , with an independent command, to rip out the logistical innards of the Confederacy. This is the largest part of the book and the most through. WTS over saw the Westward expansion of the Nation, including the building of infrastructure such as roads, railroads and protecting settlers. The last part of the book covers WTS personal and family life.
He married Ellen Ewing his adopted sister. They had seven children. They had seven children, one son became a priest must to the dismay of Sherman.
THE BAPTISM OF FIRE
Ellen was a devoted catholic but Sherman was a Calvinist. Ellen died in This section of the book is under developed. Currently he is a visiting Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and author of numerous military books. The book is well worth the read for those interested in Civil War history or in general history. I read this as an audio book downloaded from Audible. Andrew Garman did an excellent job narrating the book. Apr 23, Debbie rated it really liked it Shelves: autobiography-memoir , nonfiction.
I won my copy of this book in the goodreads first read giveaway. I'd like to thank the author and publisher for giving me a chance to read this fascinating biography. I appreciated how down to earth and readable this book was. The author goes into depth about Sherman's time at West Point, his fatherless childhood, and his life during and after the Civil War.
At all times the book was engaging and interesting. The balance was good and I never found the narrative boring. O'Connell actually compare I won my copy of this book in the goodreads first read giveaway. O'Connell actually compares military strategists to break surfers and explains the analogy well. He documents Sherman's difficult marriage to Ellen who he felt was spendthrift even though she probably wasn't.
He speaks of his affairs with two other women and his adjustment to retirement after the war.
He also outlines Sherman's interesting relationship with his stepfather. I'm not a huge civil war buff and yet I'm still glad that I read this book. I learned so much of the time period, Lincoln, the Civil War, West Point, military strategy that I stayed interested throughout the book.
The Project Gutenberg eBook of Life of Tecumseh, and of His Brother the Prophet, by Benjamin Drake
Jul 19, David Eppenstein rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , biography , american-history , history. While I am a voracious reader of history I can't say that the Civil War has much appeal to me. Nevertheless, I purchased this book on impulse and to satisfy a needed history fix. I am not only not disappointed but actually very satisfied. The book differs from other biographies in that it deals more about the man than his military exploits.
When it does delve into his military accomplishm While I am a voracious reader of history I can't say that the Civil War has much appeal to me. When it does delve into his military accomplishments it does so to illustrate the nature of the man and not his deeds. A very good and readable biography. Jul 04, Colleen Browne rated it it was ok Shelves: history.
The title makes you think this is going to be a complex, fascinating book and I wanted it to be. Unfortunately, I found it disjointed, under researched, and a disappointment. I would love to read a good biography of Sherman but this is not it. Sep 23, Noah Goats rated it really liked it. He divides the life of Sherman into three sections, one covering Sherman as a soldier and strategist, one covering his relationship with his soldiers, and a final section covering his relationships with his family.
This organization causes him to go over the same events three times in some cases, and by finishing with the family relationship chapter he makes sure he ends with the most boring part.
As a result, even though I liked this book, I had trouble finishing it. But the author has a good subject in Sherman, who was not only one of the greatest generals of the war, be was also one of the most colorful. Aug 15, Mike rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography. I had never read much about Sherman and this was a good book for that.
The book is divided into two parts. The first is a biography and the second more about the man and his life during pivotal periods after the Civil War up to his death--including all his affairs and his lifelong love and marriage with his step sister. It was very much a marriage of equals. He was a complex person as you would expect and a Westerner who ramrodded the transcontinental railroad after the Civil War.
The book covers I had never read much about Sherman and this was a good book for that. The book covers much more than just the war. He changed the military and put it on the path to the modern world. Tens of thousands of spectators watched 30, troops march in his New York funeral and thousands came out for the burial inSt. He was living in New York after his wife's death and an avid theater person at the time. I would have liked more of the military tactics and battle reports, but the author does a good job painting the military aspect of his life and for the general reader it is enough.
It is interesting to read about the Presidents through this book. They are not mythological figures of unlimited power and control that many think they are. They come across as politicians and people who landed in a particular place in a new nation with no rules except money and connections. The nation is changing in the early 21st century and the America and American psyche that Sherman helped shape for the 20th century is becoming something else again in the next.
Aug 13, Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing. This is a terrific biography of William Tecumseh Sherman. If one wishes to read of his military success, you will get some satisfaction. However, this is not primarily an analysis of his generalship. It is a biography--covering Sherman's life from cradle to grave, with an in-depth examination of him as a person. In that sense, we learn a great deal about him. His complex family environment provided him with great support.
He was raised by Thomas Ewing, his foster father. Later he courted Ewing;s daughter, Ellen, to the not altogether delight of her father. The book notes that he was a motormouth, wandered from subject to subject, and so on. I don't know but descriptions of him at least make one wonder. The chronology of his life takes him from West Point to the "old Army" to his marriage to Ellen to his financial career he served as a banker for awhile to his return to the military as the Civil War began to his rise in the ranks and his breathtaking decline and rise after the War began to becoming the key leader in the West to his succession of Ulysses Grant as chief military commander of the Army to his post-retirement career.
He was a complex individual and not always a sympathetic figure. He was sometimes disloyal to his wife; his views on slavery were not greatly progressive during the Civil War. But what this book excels at is giving us an in depth treatment of a complex human being--and one of the more visible and important persons of his era. Mar 26, Alisha Bennett rated it really liked it Shelves: first-reads. From the first to last page, this engrossing biography drew me in; it even required a few deep breaths as I read the final sentence.
Not since McCullough's book on Adams have I found myself so thoroughly immersed in the life of a historical figure. Rare are the moments indeed when I realize with disappointment that I have reached the end of my literary journey. O'Connell had me lusting for more Sherman the way you crave one more glimpse of an astounding panorama. And what he offers is an enlight From the first to last page, this engrossing biography drew me in; it even required a few deep breaths as I read the final sentence.
And what he offers is an enlightening panorama encompassing the known and the unknown Sherman. The three-pronged approach to the various aspects of Sherman is imaginative and potent. Nowhere do the skeins of the story become tangled or repetitive. Sherman himself would no doubt have approved of O'Connell's unconventional treatment in this regard; and he can't have failed to appreciate the order of those skeins as strategist, general and family man as a fitting one. There is much to fathom here beyond the brief contour of "Sherman as burner of the South. The respect paid to the Southern and Northern people in the detailed but compelling narrative are inclusive to a broad readership.
So indulge and dive in; after all; as O'Connell asserts Aug 19, Steven Z. According to Robert L. Instead, the author has produced a fascinating book that consists of three parts that add up to a biography, but is organized in a rather confusing manner. I understand that historians are always looking for a fresh approach toward their subjects that have been dealt with previously, but at times they should not try and reinvent the wheel.
Again, let me reiterate, I enjoyed the book and took away a great deal, but at times I would have hoped the material in the last section of the narrative could have been included in the lengthy first section to form greater coherence. The author concludes that it is almost impossible to produce a definitive one volume biography of Sherman. In addition, the difficulty is enhanced because of the many myths associated with Sherman from the accusation of being a war criminal, a racist, and a very class conscious individual who supported the business classes.
The author concludes that there is evidence for each of these myths, but there is also material that disproves them, particularly when we apply twenty-first century standards to nineteenth century figures. Florida, California, reclaiming the Confederacy, winning the west. As a result he sticks to a section describing Sherman as a military strategist, another as a general, and he concludes with a section of Sherman as a human being after retirement.
My problem is that these sections continuously overlap and there are parts of the book that the reader is told that what he is writing about will become much clearer later. He further concludes that he never wanted to be in total command during his military career, as it was difficult enough being in charge of strategy. These conclusions are well supported in the first two-thirds of the book that make up section one.
What should be apparent is that the most important activity of this time period was the Mexican War, which Sherman missed out on, while others from his graduating class at West Point began to earn their reputations. This would allow him to remember almost every aspect from each area that he transverses in his career fostering the development of a data base that in part explains his success as a strategist during the Civil War.
By the early s Sherman leaves the army and tries his hand in the private sector. His father-in-law, Thomas Ewing, a cabinet officer, politician, and wealthy individual wanted him to take over a Salt Mine he owned near his home in Lancaster, Ohio which became part of a tug of war between the Ewing family and his wife Ellen, and what Sherman wanted to do with his life. The Ewing-Sherman relationship at times dominates the narrative as Sherman tries to be his own man and continually win over his wife.
The period preceding the Civil War was probably the worst period for Sherman. His career as a New York banker ended with the crash of He returned to California as a banker but due to the economy the venture was a failure. It became increasingly clear to Sherman the only arena that he felt comfortable in was the military and after the election of Lincoln he rejoins the army and with secession his career is saved.
The author spends a prodigious amount of time discussing the major battles that Sherman was involved in. The reader witnesses how Sherman trains and develops the army of the west and making it into one of the best fighting forces in American history by the end of the war. We witness how Sherman cultivated his soldiers to believe in him and how he developed his command. The knowledge of American geography is applied and we see his strategy unfold. Grant and others and the personality conflicts that were readily apparent.
Grant would be the battering ram in the East, and Sherman would employ his mastery of operations and strategy as he marched toward Atlanta. The detail is exquisite and is one of the major highlights of the book. The burning of Atlanta, the seizure of Savannah, and the march into South Carolina for revenge against the heart of the enemy as it burns Columbia rather than Charleston and the move into North Carolina where Sherman softens his approach are all described.
The final third of the book is broken down into two parts. We learn what fighting was like at Shiloh and Vicksburg. We learn what it was like marching miles on the way to Atlanta, and fighting an insurgency through the eyes of the participants. Basically, this section is a history of the army of the west from its inception, training, skill set and application in battle, all information that could have been integrated more effectively in the first section of the book. Overall the book is quite interesting and if one can deal with its organizational flaws it is well worth reading.
View 2 comments. Jun 19, Tony and Leslee rated it really liked it. An Australian perspective of an American legend Although I have a keen interest in the causes, intricacies, battles, brutalities and the multi-layered characters of the American Civil War, my knowledge of William Tecumseh Sherman is somewhat limited.
The Project Gutenberg eBook, Life of Tecumseh, and of His Brother the Prophet, by Benjamin Drake
Before reading this book I was aware of Sherman's scorched earth purge of Georgia and the Carolinas - his greatest claim to fame. Robert L O'Connell has delved into the complex relationships between Sherman and his family, friends and the Washington e An Australian perspective of an American legend Although I have a keen interest in the causes, intricacies, battles, brutalities and the multi-layered characters of the American Civil War, my knowledge of William Tecumseh Sherman is somewhat limited.
Robert L O'Connell has delved into the complex relationships between Sherman and his family, friends and the Washington elite and the leadership of and the reassurance he gave to his loyal soldiers of his Army of the West. To his family he was 'Cump'; to his troops he was 'Uncle Billy'. The relationships I found most intriguing were those with military supremo Ulysses S Grant and Sherman's forthright wife, Ellen. He believed that he and Grant were compatible in a contradictory sort of way.
When speaking about his commander Sherman said 'He stood by me when I was crazy and I stood by him when he was drunk There were many times he thought he was losing his children to the church and its constricting dogma on the living and the afterlife. The author has also explored Sherman's attitudes to slaves and indigenous Americans. It is easy enough to employ modern ethics when trying to understand how and why he treated those without status and representation, especially when one considers how he saw to the slaughter and near extinction of the bison in order to sever the food supply of the Plains Indians to make them more compliant and be compelled to move to reservations.
Yet, quite simply, his actions reflected the prevailing attitudes of those times. Although he had a good start in life by being well-connected with those in high places, Sherman achieved fame and celebrity by being a brilliant military and civilian strategist and leader of others. This book is likely to be more appealing to those with an interest in American history and its chief protagonists.
It was that interest that drew me to this biography, and I enjoyed reading about the colourful life of a man with many salutary statues as tangible edifices of remembrance and veneration. There is one matter I found curious and that was the name of the book itself, 'Fierce Patriot'. That appellation does not seem fitting for a person who was not the fire and brimstone type the title suggests.
Doesn't matter. It is a fine read that author O'Connell has certainly researched in depth and written with great affection for one of the lions of the United States military during the 19th century. Jul 14, Adam rated it liked it. Shelby Foote spent more than twenty years researching and writing about the Civil War, and the resulting trilogy spanned nearly tightly-knit pages. Fierce Patriot is really three books in one. The first, which spans the first pages, is a biography of Sherman himself, complete with a rundown of his involvement in the Civil War and special emphasis on how our modern characterizations of him do not match the reality.
The second, which is a comparatively short fifty-some pages, concerns the men who made up Sherman's famous--and infamous--army during the Civil War, which was responsible for the burning of Atlanta along its mile march through the South, which has itself become distorted in the decades since. And the final seventy pages concern Sherman's private life, especially his dalliances with other women, and the miserable existence of his wife. By definition, a biography of any historical military figure would touch on a multitude of topics; the difference between the definition and Fierce Patriot is that O'Connell seems eager to "untangle" all three facets of Sherman's life for closer study, which makes the entire endeavor seem hurried and incomplete, as though it were rushed to print before O'Connell could reintegrate the latter two portions into the overall narrative.
Because it is that overall narrative--that first part of the book--that is by far its best, as O'Connell works to demystify not only Sherman but his legendary march through the South. The great irony is that this one event, for which Sherman is most known and most infamous, was one of the most peaceful events of his entire career. His men were stripped extraneous possessions, including most of their firearms, and were strictly warned away from the marauding ways associated with military invaders. Instead, they harassed those who supported the South's secession, burned down buildings that were representative of the Confederacy and its fighting power--railroad tracks, gun manufacturing plants, stashes of ammunition--but never killed unless in self-defense.
They established order in the small towns and large cities they occupied, and they even amassed a large and loyal following of freed slaves--a sizable group that also helped Sherman navigate the wild and otherworldly landscape of the South with veritable ease.
As O'Connell lays out, freedmen were also vital to the North's military progress, providing valuable information about troop location and backcountry pathways without being recognized as potential spies by their owners--a resource that went unappreciated then and have been largely forgotten since. One of the most nonviolent decision Sherman made in his life, to lead tens of thousands of men across miles of his enemy's backyard, has since become a symbol of the Civil War's brutality and aggression--a version of history that, while inconsistent with what actually occurred, is pretty consistent with Sherman's personality.
Within every volume of American history there is at least one chapter written in blood: the blood of those who were subjugated, slaughtered, sacrificed, or outright killed. But rarely can we find a chapter written almost entirely by a single person. This is the truth of Sherman beyond his exploits during the Civil War. After the peace agreements were signed and politicos began debating Reconstruction--a tumultuous and long-lasting problem on its own, especially after Lincoln's assassination--Sherman accepted a largely symbolic post with the federal government, then departed for the West to oversee the construction of a transcontinental railroad, which would connect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts for the first time in the nation's history.
It was a monumental task for any one person to undertake, and Sherman embraced the task with gusto--a decision that would paradoxically advance the nation's expansion while also devastating its indigenous people, landscape, and wildlife. This, not his march through the South, is Sherman's true legacy: a multi-year, multi-state project that leveled valuable landscapes, led the exploitation of natural resources, displaced thousands of Native American and their tribes, instigated wars, and almost caused the American buffalo to go extinct.
Even today, more than a century later, the buffalo has yet to recover. And throughout it all, Sherman remained keenly aware of the devastation he was causing, even encouraging much of the conflict with displaced tribes and the elimination of wildlife, because he lived his life devoted to The Cause, whatever that happened to be at the moment, and he ran down anything--or anyone--that stood in his way. O'Connell closes his afterword with a strange commentary on his subject's "tangled" lives and how we as readers perceive them: "I think my time with [Sherman] was well spent.
Tecumseh: Nature's Patriot
I liked him, he was never dull, and he grew into a make-believe friend, sitting in a recliner in his rumpled uniform, watching me compose, accompanying me on long walks--but never saying a word. That's the past for you: a pale echo of what actually happened, a bunch of factual remains of what were once human lives, and for that reason always subject to reinterpretation. So if you don't like this Sherman, wait a while, there's bound to be another. He's too important to forget. It's perfectly fine to believe a subject's life requires more than one volume, or "interpretation," because history is complicated and always revealing more of itself; but to essentially admit that your own history is incomplete is to betray the contract with your readers, who come into a book looking for answers By splitting Sherman's life into parts, you're saying you don't understand how it all fits together, regardless of how much clearer it becomes when partitioned out.
It means that, in trying to "untangle" the life and experiences of one man, you find yourself unable to see how all the pieces connected in the first place, and all you have to present to your readers are pieces to a puzzle you're unable--or unwilling--to put back together.
Aug 03, Julia Eskew rated it liked it. I read this book to learn more about Sherman's march through the South during the Civil War - and the book delivered. But the book had many other details - Sherman's unsuccessful career before that point, his role in the Native American genocide in the West, his "Uncle Billy" persona, his contentious marriage - that, while somewhat interesting, I struggled to finish reading. Oct 14, Cian O hAnnrachainn rated it really liked it. Not the most complete treatment perhaps but worth reading. May 31, Becky Loader rated it it was ok.
I will admit I have read quite a bit about General Sherman, so the basics here are not new to me. The author uses a lot of metaphors really? Not the best biography of a very complex man. Jan 04, Peter Smith rated it liked it. When you live in the South, William Tecumseh Sherman is spoken of as a boogeyman-type creature, often employed to scare young southern children into behaving by threatening a post-mortal visit in which he burns their town much like he did others. I'm originally a Yankee so I take these impressions of the Union's 2nd-in-command general with a grain of salt, but still I didn't know much about him before reading this book.
It definitely fills in the blanks for his pre and post-war years. I did not When you live in the South, William Tecumseh Sherman is spoken of as a boogeyman-type creature, often employed to scare young southern children into behaving by threatening a post-mortal visit in which he burns their town much like he did others. I did not know for example that after the Civil War, Sherman was instrumental in building the trans-continental railroad across America I also did not know he achieved this by efficiently but brutally herding up Native Americans and re-locating them against their will and by also encouraging the slaughter of buffalo.
But unfortunately this narrative is thin. It comes across as a beefed-up Wikipedia article about the man. You can get way more detail about Sherman's war years through Shelby Foote's Civil War narratives than is given here. The book tells its story out-of-order too which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but would have probably lent perspective if we knew how the hardships Sherman suffered as a young boy father died and man wife and father in law always nagging him; professional failures as a banker created one of the most effective generals this country's ever produced.
Out-of-place references such as surfing, Jack Benny and C3PO don't really add anything to this book either. I would think there are more definitive biographies of this man who had such an impact on the history of America. I have read many books about the civil war and the key individuals involved, but this is the first one devoted to William Tecumseh Sherman. It is well written resulting in an easy and engrossing read.
It also well documented with an extensive note section. This is the first book by the author that I have read, but based on this one I will be seeking out others that he has written. Sherman was somewhat of a complicated character. He actually enjoyed being around people, was theatrical in his approach at times, opinionated, a bit of a rogue and stubborn.
At the same time he struggled for control of his family and had a long memory when he felt he was slighted. O'Connell takes a different approach from most biographies in that instead of one long interwoven narrative he has broken the life of "Old Billy" into three sections dealing with different facets of his character and interactions over the course of his life. The first and lengthiest deals with his development as a military strategist. The second section deals with his interaction with his troops.
The third section is devoted to his family relationships. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about William Tecumseh Sherman, his part in the Civil War and the his involvement in the opening of the west. Jan 03, Cody rated it liked it. Approaching Robert L. O'Connell's book, "Fierce Patriot," I had hoped to find a more complete understanding of William Tecumseh Sherman, but it proved to be a more mixed bag narrative for me than anything.
O'Connell is clearly knowledgeable on Sherman, and more importantly passionate, but this idolisation I felt hindered the book at times. Sherman's relations with his family, affairs, banking ventures, complex relationships with African-Americans, the antagonistic relationship with the media, hi Approaching Robert L. Sherman's relations with his family, affairs, banking ventures, complex relationships with African-Americans, the antagonistic relationship with the media, his time at West Point, and of course the ventures in the Civil War were fascinating to uncover but offered only brief summation rather than the in-depth analysis I prefer in historical tomes.
When O'Connell wrote about Sherman's views on black voting rights being favourable or his negative views on his wife's Catholic devotion I always wanted him to go into greater depth on such topics, and when he didn't I grew frustrated. It was comparable to the series by Bill O'Reilly which I hardly enjoyed reading, but did offer neat tidbits to explore further. O'Connell clearly comes from a war historian background, and plays to his strengths on this. Several times he seems to stop the reader to go into a classroom lecture on the stratagem of battle.
I would have preferred a greater psychological understanding of Sherman rather than battlefield philosophy. I realise Sherman was a grand strategist and celebrity soldier, the Patton or MacArthur before both carved their place in American history, but I was left wanting something different from what I got here. Good nonetheless though. William Tecumseh Sherman is much more than just the general who left a trail of flames as his army marched through Georgia to the sea. He is enigmatic in many ways. Verbally he was very racist, yet was very kind in personal contact with many blacks and seemingly respected t William Tecumseh Sherman is much more than just the general who left a trail of flames as his army marched through Georgia to the sea.
Verbally he was very racist, yet was very kind in personal contact with many blacks and seemingly respected them as intelligent human beings.