Synopses & Reviews
James McPherson, a bestselling historian of the Civil War, illuminates how Lincoln worked withaand often againsta his senior commanders to defeat the Confederacy and create the role of commander in chief as we know it.
Though Abraham Lincoln arrived at the White House with no previous military experience (apart from a couple of months spent soldiering in 1832), he quickly established himself as the greatest commander in chief in American history. James McPherson illuminates this often misunderstood and profoundly influential aspect of Lincolnas legacy. In essence, Lincoln invented the idea of commander in chief, as neither the Constitution nor existing legislation specified how the president ought to declare war or dictate strategy. In fact, by assuming the powers we associate with the role of commander in chief, Lincoln often overstepped the narrow band of rights granted the president. Good thing too, because his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union.
For most of the conflict, he constantly had to goad his reluctant generals toward battle, and he oversaw strategy and planning for major engagements with the enemy. Lincoln was a self-taught military strategist (as he was a self-taught lawyer), which makes his adroit conduct of the war seem almost miraculous. To be sure, the Unionas campaigns often went awry, sometimes horribly so, but McPherson makes clear how the missteps arose from the all-too-common moments when Lincoln could neither threaten nor cajole his commanders to follow his orders.
Because Lincolnas war took place within our borders, the relationship between the front lines and the home front was especiallycloseaand volatile. Here again, Lincoln faced enormous challenges in exemplary fashion. He was a masterly molder of public opinion, for instance, defining the war aims initially as preserving the Union and only later as ending slaverya when he sensed the public was at last ready to bear such a lofty burden.
As we approach the bicentennial of Lincolnas birth in 2009, this book will be that rarest giftaa genuinely novel, even timely, view of the most-written-about figure in our history. Tried by War offers a revelatory portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. How Lincoln overcame feckless generals, fickle public opinion, and his own paralyzing fears is a story at once suspenseful and inspiring.
and#160; "Marveland#8217;s account of the yearand#8217;s smaller engagements is unusually full and insightful...a fluent narrative." --Publishers Weekly
"Finely written, minutely researched...Marvel culls evidence from a wide variety of sources, from the lowliest privateand#8217;s letters to his sweetheart to Gen. Grantand#8217;s communiquand#233;s with Lincoln. It is this breadth of perspectives, both personal and contextual, that differentiates this chronicle from the many dry recitations of battles and their attendant losses that characterize a particular genre of Civil War history." --Kirkus "Marvel is a first-rate scholar." --Booklist
A bestselling historian of the Civil War illuminates how Lincoln worked with--and often against--his senior commanders to defeat the Confederacy and create the role of commander in chief as we know it. "Tried by War" offers a revelatory portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis America has ever endured.
The Pulitzer Prize?winning author reveals how Lincoln won the Civil War and invented the role of commander in chief as we know it
As we celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln?s birth, this study by preeminent, bestselling Civil War historian James M. McPherson provides a rare, fresh take on one of the most enigmatic figures in American history. Tried by War offers a revelatory (and timely) portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. Suspenseful and inspiring, this is the story of how Lincoln, with almost no previous military experience before entering the White House, assumed the powers associated with the role of commander in chief, and through his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union.
A master Civil War historian re-creates the final year of our nationand#8217;s greatest crisis.
With Tarnished Victory William Marvel concludes his sweeping four-part seriesand#8212;this final volume beginning with the Virginia and Atlanta campaigns in May 1864 and closing with the final surrender of Confederate forces in June 1865. In the course of that year the war grows ever more deadly, the home front is stripped to fill the armies, and the economy is crippled by debt and inflation, while the stubborn survival of the Confederacy seriously undermines support for Lincolnand#8217;s war.
In the end, it seems that Lincolnand#8217;s early critics, who played such a pivotal role at the start of the series, are proven correct. Victory did require massive bloodshed and complete conquest of the South. It also required decades of occupation to cement the achievements of 1865, and the failure of Lincolnand#8217;s political heirs to carry through with that occupation squandered the most commendable of those achievements, ultimately making it a tarnished victory. Marvel, called the and#8220;Civil Warand#8217;s master historical detectiveand#8221; by Stephen Sears, has unearthed provocative details and rich stories long buried beneath a century of accumulated distortion and misinterpretation to create revisionist history at its best.
A critical look at the the fourth year of Lincoln's administration and the conclusion of the author's four-volume re-examination of the Civil War.
About the Author
"Few historians write as well as McPherson, and none evoke the sound of battle with greater clarity. . . . McPherson draws on almost fifty years of research to present a cogent and concise narrative of how Lincoln, working against enormous odds, saved the United States of America."
-Jean Edward Smith, The New York Times Book Review
"It is hard to do justice in a short review to how convincingly and compellingly McPherson narrates Lincoln's simultaneous mastery of the political, strategic and moral challenge of his historical moment."
-Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
"Masterful. . . . Destined to become a classic."
-Jay Winik, The Boston Globe
"The definitive portrait of Lincoln as war leader."
-The Washington Post
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsand#8195;ix
List of Mapsand#8195;ix
Part Iand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;Like Snows the Camps on Southern Hills
and#160;and#160;and#160;1.and#160;and#160;and#160;Inscription Rude in Virginiaand#8217;s Woods
and#160;and#160;and#160;2.and#160;and#160;and#160;The Mouldering Coat and Cuddled-up Skeleton
and#160;and#160;and#160;3.and#160;and#160;and#160;From Their Graves in the Trenches
Part IIand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;The Bravest Pressand#8217;d to the Front and Fell
and#160;and#160;and#160;4.and#160;and#160;and#160;She with Thin Form Presently Drest in Black
and#160;and#160;and#160;5.and#160;and#160;and#160;Horseman and Horse They Knew
and#160;and#160;and#160;6.and#160;and#160;and#160;From Charred Atlanta Marching
Part IIIand#8194;and#8226;and#8194; Like a Tireless Phantom
and#160;and#160;and#160;7.and#160;and#160;and#160;With Burning Woods Our Skies Are Brass
and#160;and#160;and#160;8.and#160;and#160;and#160;Forests of Bayonets
and#160;and#160;and#160;9.and#160;and#160;and#160;No More to Know the Drum
Sources and Acknowledgmentsand#8195;420