Customer Reviews for

Memoirs (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted February 7, 2009

    More than just a great civil war biography.

    I expected and got a thorough, detailed overview of the civil war period. The most pleasant surprise was the other important historical events he witnessed and described such as the gold rush in San Fransisco, the Financial Panic of 1857, and the negotiations with Indian tribes in the post-Civil War west. <BR/><BR/>Sherman's ability to read and describe men and events adds greatly to this book. He describes in vivid detail the natural beauty of Florida as a young lieutenant, the practical military problems in California as a remote outpost is overrun by dozens of thousands of gold prospectors. His well-known comptempt for politicians is humorously chronicled by his observations. Above all, his loyalty to the union and Constitution despite the sleaziness of politicans is admirable. <BR/><BR/>Very facinating (concerning issues of civilian's rights and military necessity) is his exchange of letters with the mayor and city council of Atlanta about his orders that civilians vacate the city (after he had already driven out Confederate soldiers). <BR/><BR/>My primary interest is economic history, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Sherman's observations of California's economy during the gold rush as both a soldier and then a banker after he resigned his commission. He gives a clear explanation of how a bubble in real estate developed in San Fransisco, banks lent money to anyone with a pulse, worthless securities were issued, and then the entire banking industry collapsed as some minor event popped the bubble. This was a microcosm description of how almost every financial bubble has occurred. There is nothing new about subprime mortgages. He also saw the Panic of 1857 which began a large number of banking panics up until the creation of the Federal Reserve.<BR/><BR/>Only a career historian or serious student of history could read this cover to cover. It includes large sections of primary documents, his correspondence with friends, enemies (very few personal enemies), politicians, War Dept,etc. Good coverage of his post-Civil war duties in which he professionalized the army while being clearly uncomfortable with the inevitable impact of politics when one serves as the Commander of all Army forces in Washington DC.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

    Interesting insights

    Sherman is an interesting (if prolix) author. I would consider myself to be a serious student of the Civil War, there was information contained in this book that were unknown to me. Worth reading!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    Highly recommend this book

    I'm not even finished with the book and have placed it high on my list of favorites. This book compliments Grant's memoirs handsomely. The general does not try to paint a picture of himself as a hero but rather documents the period of time as he lived it including letters to and from the general.

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