Minecraft Adventures B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays, Recipes | August 19, 2015

    Cara Nicoletti: IMG Ramona Quimby Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Thighs

    Note: Join us at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing on Wednesday, September 16, for an author event with Cara Nicoletti. As a kid, I read for... Continue »
    1. $19.60 Sale Hardcover add to wish list


On Order

New Hardcover
Currently out of stock.
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Qty Store Section
- Local Warehouse US History- 1800 to Civil War

Other titles in the Modern War Studies series:

The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and Generalship During the Civil War (Modern War Studies)


The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and Generalship During the Civil War (Modern War Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With Union armies poised to launch the final campaigns against the Confederacy in 1864, three of its five commanders were "political generals"—appointed officers with little or no military training. Army chief of staff Henry Halleck thought such generals jeopardized the lives of men under their command and he and his peers held them in utter contempt. Historians have largely followed suit.

Thomas Goss, however, offers a new and more positive assessment of the leadership qualities of these Northern commanders. In the process, he cuts through the stereotypes of political generals as superfluous and largely inept tacticians, ambitious schemers, and military failures. Goss examines the reasons why the selection process yielded so many generals who lacked military backgrounds and explores the tense and often bitter relationships among political and professional officers to illuminate the dynamics of Union generalship during the war. As this book reveals, professional generals viewed the war as a military problem requiring battlefield solutions, while appointees (and President Lincoln) focused more emphatically on the broader political contours of the struggle. The resulting friction often eroded Northern morale and damaged the North's war effort.

Goss challenges the traditional idea that success was measured only on the battlefield by demonstrating significant links between military success and the achievement of the Union's political objectives. Examining commanders like Benjamin Butler, Nathaniel Banks, John McClernand, John Fremont, and Franz Sigel, Goss shows how many filled vital functions by raising troops, boosting homefront morale, securing national support for the war—and sometimes even achieving significant success on the battlefield. Comparing these generals with their professional counterparts reveals that all had vital roles to play in helping Lincoln prosecute the war and that West Pointers, despite their military training, were not necessarily better prepared for waging war.

Whether professional or appointed, Goss reminds us, all generals could be considered political inasmuch as war is a continuation of politics by other means. He shows us that far more was asked of Union commanders than to simply win battles and in so doing urges a new appreciation of those appointed leaders who were thrust into the maelstrom of the Civil War.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 273-281) and index.

Table of Contents



1. "Military Knowledge or Political Affinity"

The Legacy of a Dual Military Tradition

2. "The Necessity of Time"

The Need for Political Generals

3. "Reducing Chaos to Order"

The Need for Regular Officers

4. "Applying the Guillotine"

Union Generals and the Test of Battle

5. "The Government Demands Action"

The Politics of Generalship

6. "Political Policy Rather Than Military Strategy"

Diverging Views on Generalship

7. "The Responsibility Will Be Yours"

Ulysses S. Grant and a New Faith in Military Expertise

8. "War As an Instrument of Policy"

Expanding the Study of Generalship


Works Cited


Product Details

Goss, Thomas Joseph
University Press of Kansas
United states
Military - United States
United States - Civil War
Military art and science
Command of troops
United States - History - Civil War, 1861-
United States Military policy.
US History-1800 to Civil War
United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Modern War Studies
Publication Date:
9.46x6.28x1.05 in. 1.33 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign... Used Hardcover $16.50
  2. Kitchener Enigma Used Hardcover $9.95
  3. Victory in Tripoli: How America's...
    New Hardcover $31.95
  4. Hell Is Upon Us: D-Day in the... Used Hardcover $5.95
  5. Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty... Used Hardcover $10.95

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Civil War » General
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
History and Social Science » US History » 1800 to Civil War
History and Social Science » World History » General
Travel » General

The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and Generalship During the Civil War (Modern War Studies) New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$45.50 Backorder
Product details 320 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700612635 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 273-281) and index.
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.