I have read numerous Civil War books, including the prominent historical volumes by the leading scholars. Reading these volumes led me to begin reading the memoirs and books of the significant people involved in the war – Grant, Longstreet, etc. Sherman’s memoirs have been the most fascinating.
Sherman is an interesting writer. His descriptions of early California life were beautiful. It paints a great picture of 1840’s San Francisco and northern California. In other places the writing bogged down where it felt you were reading a military TO&E (table of organization and equipment).
Sherman was not a failure in anything that he did. On the contrary, I think he led a full and fascinating life that would be difficult to duplicate in the present times, even with our transportation abilities. Sherman was a brilliant military leader and you feel as though you are with him throughout his many marches and campaigns. He includes many letters and orders in the book that I believe substantiate his writing and give proof that he was one of a kind.
I was surprised to learn that he served as commanding general of the US Army from 1868 – 1884, longer than any other person. That would be like being US Army chief of staff today for 16 years!
Yes, the book did have some hubris and he did defend some of his actions. All in all a must read. Read by Jimmie A. Kepler in July – August 2006.