American General: The Life and Times of William Tecumseh Sherman


Lt. Colonel
Retired Moderator
Honored Fallen Comrade
Apr 20, 2013
East Texas
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NAL Hardcover (October 7, 2014)

A century and a half after the Civil War, Sherman remains one of its most controversial figures—the soldier who brought the fight not only to the Confederate Army, but to Confederate civilians as well. Yet Eisenhower, a West Point graduate and a retired brigadier general (Army Reserves), finds in Sherman a man of startling contrasts, not at all defined by the implications of “total war.” His scruffy, disheveled appearance belied an unconventional and unyielding intellect. Intensely loyal to superior officers, especially Ulysses S. Grant, he was also a stalwart individualist. Confident enough to make demands face-to-face with President Lincoln, he sympathetically listened to the problems of newly freed slaves on his famed march from Atlanta to Savannah. Dubbed “no soldier” during his years at West Point, Sherman later rose to the rank of General of the Army, and though deeply committed to the Union cause, he held the people of the South in great affection.

In this remarkable reassessment of Sherman’s life and career, Eisenhower takes readers from Sherman’s Ohio origins and his fledgling first stint in the Army, to his years as a businessman in California and his hurried return to uniform at the outbreak of the war. From Bull Run through Sherman’s epic March to the Sea, Eisenhower offers up a fascinating narrative of a military genius whose influence helped preserve the Union—and forever changed war.

About the Author

John S. D. Eisenhower
(1922-2013) was a brigadier general (Army Reserves), a U.S. ambassador to Belgium during the Nixon administration, and the author of numerous works of military history and biography. He was the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Retired Moderator
Oct 17, 2012
Middle Tennessee
I have an old biography of Sherman by W. Fletcher Johnson that was written with the help of O.O. Howard. I've not read it in a long time but it's an interesting read.
Sep 9, 2016
Orlando, FL
I've read two books on Sherman: this one (American General - The Life And Times Of William Tecumseh Sherman), and William Tecumseh Sherman - In The Service Of My Country - A Life. Really enjoyed both.

I especially like this quote from the Prologue of American General:

You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how this will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it...Besides, where are you men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth – right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in you spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with [emphasis added]. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If you people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.​

He said this before the war started, while he was President of Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, which eventually became Louisiana State University. Prescient and spot on.

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