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Publishers WeeklyAs if it weren't hard enough to win the Civil War, Generals Grant and Sherman labored under the knowledge that if they failed, Lincoln would lose his bid for a second term as President-he knew the weary citizens of the North despaired of victory after several defeats and Jubal Early's demoralizing attack on Washington. In the political arena, he struggled against The Radical Republicans who threatened to split the party, as well as the leading Democratic candidate, failed head of the Army of the Potomac, George McClellan-the "Virginia Creeper." The Confederacy recognized that it couldn't beat the Union, but if they could outlast them until a new president was elected in 1864, victory would be theirs. At the same time, Grant knew that his advantage in terms of manpower and resources would ensure success-if his troops could hold out long enough. In the summer of 1864, two rays of hope shone on the Union Army: Rear Admiral David Farragut took Mobile Bay, the last major port on the Gulf Coast, and General Philip Sheridan-following orders from Grant to "make all the Valley south of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad a desert"-drove Early out of the Shenandoah Valley, and destroyed the Confederacy's breadbasket. By September, Lincoln's victory had been "decided on the battlefield." In a fascinating epilogue, Johnson illustrates the dire implications of a McClellan win. Historians will appreciate this excellently researched book for its level of insight, while casual readers will enjoy Johnson's deft narrative management of battles and strategy. Photos.
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