Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book review: Sherman - a ruthless victor by A. von Hassell and E. Breslin

Since I am history buff and have read books about the Civil War long before the Ken Burns series came to PBS, I selected this book about Sherman. I should start off with the disclaimer that I approach each book open minded and have enjoyed books about the Civil War that can be construed to favor the North and the South, as long the facts check out and the interpretation of the events and sources can be backed up by facts, I acknowledge that each author approaches the topic of the Civil War with their own bias and that is fine with me. I just hope to learn some new facets about the era and the people in it.
This book by von Hassell and Breslin is not the typical book that I read about the Civil War. Two things set this book apart. It is a relatively short book, only 163 pages. The second fact is that it has more religious statements in it than my usual reading material. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book. It provided some interesting tidbits about the man that Sherman was. There are no references attached to the book, so fact checkers are out of luck and need to look elsewhere for confirmation. But the book overall presents a nice insight into the complex character that Sherman was. The drive to excel, while at the same time harboring deep doubts about his military ability. The difficult upbringing of Sherman the foster child that may in part explain his drive to convince others that he was able to succeed.
The book did present insights into Sherman's character that were unexpected, the differences on religion between him and his wife. The relationship with Grant that was difficult at times and the constant fear of failing or having another nervous breakdowns that could derail his career. Sherman was a complex character and despite the rather brief insight provided in this book, the authors understand well to make the book interesting and provide insights for all readers, no matter what their familiarity with the Civil War may be.
This book is not for people that want an overview of battles and military strategy. Although any book about Sherman will have some insights into his military style. Battles are mentioned, but almost in passing since the authors clearly focus on the personality of Sherman.
Overall, an enjoyable book about one of the major players in the Civil War with some interesting insights into
his person.

I was provided this book through for free in exchange for an honest review of the book. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

No comments: