Sherman: The Ruthless Victor
on the Price of Success
I've whole heartedly enjoyed the Generals series because each book has opened my eyes to the story of an heroic historical figure and detailed some practical and important leadership practices. And I'm honestly glad the editors included this entry in the series as well as it reveals the other side of leadership - one I'm far more familiar with.
Sherman was something of a scoundrel. One of those weaselly folks we all work with at some point in our lives who does everything they can to take credit for anything good that happens while disappearing completely when things go awry. Sherman did this at pretty much every turn of his career, military and otherwise. He failed time and time again in business and avoided military assignments he deemed destined for defeat. However, on the positive side, he did persist and he did eventually succeed. Unfortunately, even in his success, he failed as a leader - possibly because he was so determined to be loved by all and paranoid that he was hated by all. Despite his acumen for leadership, he chose to let his soldiers cross the line of humanity time and time again, justifying it as best he could.
Another great read from the series and another reminder that we need better History curriculum in schools.
- from trudatmusic[dot]com[slash]raw
February 28, 2013
i just dont like it...
"William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. Sherman was not an abolitionist before the war and, like others of his time and background, he did not believe in "Negro equality." Before the war, Sherman at times even expressed some sympathy with the view of Southern whites that the black race was benefiting from slavery" this type of book usually have some shards of sympathy in dealing with the person under study, Sherman will have some insights into his military styles. I'm not a pro-war... A great read for someone who wants another view of Sherman and I could see this being a great resource for the older middle school student who needs to research the Civil War or Sherman himself. It gives a lot of insight into what Sherman's life was like from a young age as he just started out making his military career all the way to the battles that ultimately ended the war. I won't recommended the book but I won't also discourage you to read this.
September 26, 2012
Full of information, but tough read
When I had an opportunity to read Ã¢ÂÂSherman: The Ruthless VictoryÃ¢ÂÂ I was intrigued and ready to read an engrossing tale of the history of General Sherman. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs a ton of information in the book, but unfortunately itÃ¢ÂÂs just not an engaging read.
General William Tecumseh Sherman led a controversial and contradictory life. (Introduction)
Agostino Von Hassell and Ed Breslin have compiled this history of Sherman that paints the picture of man fiercely loyal to his country and strangely at odds with her cherished roots. Sherman didnÃ¢ÂÂt believe in God, he was an atheist. He did not fight the Civil War to free the slaves. He fought the war to save the Union and punish the rebels.
Ã¢ÂÂThe punishment for this rebellion had to be severe.Ã¢ÂÂ (Introduction)
Hassel and Breslin, in the introduction, tell us that Sherman was logical, self-serving, and crazy. ShermanÃ¢ÂÂs behavior was extreme in the war and the proposed that it was partly due to the a history of mental illness in his motherÃ¢ÂÂs family. Sherman as much as admitted to being as crazy as Grant was a drunk.
All this would seem to lend itself to an exciting story if not morbidly so, but this book drags along. Maybe IÃ¢ÂÂm too accustomed to overly dramatized events, but the writing in this book is dry and I had a difficult time getting through it. However, for the avid Civil War buff I can testify that this book holds a lot of information and it is all about Sherman. There is no straying into other stories, or events, everything in this book is about Sherman.
The authors make a sobering point about what can be learned from ShermanÃ¢ÂÂs life. ShermanÃ¢ÂÂs legacy inspired the generals of World War II and the naming of the Sherman tank was not simply to honor Sherman, but was a reflection of ShermanÃ¢ÂÂs character; unstoppable and indiscriminate.
Ã¢ÂÂIn remembering this troubling man, both his greater and his lesser nature must be kept in view. He was right in saying that Ã¢ÂÂWar is hell.Ã¢ÂÂ Statesmen and military leaders should remember this phrase and take it as certainty that war is indeed an unleashing of the bloody, unrestrained passions of humanity. If statesmen heed this advice, then pondering the life of William Tecumseh Sherman will have borne fruit worthy of the labor, especially in light of Ernest HemingwayÃ¢ÂÂs bulls-eye observation that in modern wars there are no winners.Ã¢ÂÂ (Aftermath and Legacy)
June 5, 2012
Many people have made the point that, for all their alleged disdain for Ã¢ÂÂrevisionistÃ¢ÂÂ history, those who hold to a Ã¢ÂÂSouthernÃ¢ÂÂ view of the war are themselves embracing an explicitly revisionist historical narrative. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a narrative that was carefully crafted in the decades following the Civil War to exonerate the Confederate cause, depict Southern leaders in the most flattering and noble way possible, and to undermine or denigrate the Union effort to highlight the contrast. This effort, which lies at the core of the Lost Cause, probably reached its zenith in the second decade of the 20th century. But with a few concessions to modern sensibilities Ã¢ÂÂ e.g., Ã¢ÂÂfaithful slavesÃ¢ÂÂ have now become Ã¢ÂÂblack Confederate soldiersÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ the narrative remains largely as it was a century ago, and is held dear by many. But great longevity doesnÃ¢ÂÂt make a revisionist narrative any less revisionist.
Despite having read most of major accounts of the American Civil War, I had not fully understood the central role played by Sherman until I read the book. It makes it clear that Sherman's appreciation of the futility of attacking entrenched positions and his consequently developed strategy and tactics turned the tide for the North, salvaged the 1864 election for Lincoln, and saved perhaps tens of thousands of Union and Rebel lives. He also points out that the same insight accounts for most of Lee's success, i.e., Lee won battles in which he enticed the North to attack entrenched positions (e.g. Fredricksburg) and lost when he attacked entrenched positions himself (e.g. Gettysburg). Hart fully disposes of the popular prejudice held widely in the South that Sherman's approach to war was more inhumane than the alternative of massive blood letting which was by virtually every other Civil War general. It is rare to find a historical account containing so much insight.
April 12, 2012