From the Publisher
Deserves to take a well-merited place in Civil War and Reconstruction literature. It is a fine work of scholarship.
Journal of Southern History
Other historians have touched on this aspect of Grant's career, but Simpson's work surpasses them all.
It stands as essential reading for all those interested in that pivotal era.
Eric Foner, Columbia University
Both of these Civil War commanders led the Army of the Potomac at separate times during the war; Burnside later served under Grant's command; and both entered national politics after the war. Marvel's book is the first full-length evaluation of Burnside's military career. Burnside has always been remembered as an incompetent leader who sacrificed thousands of lives in the Battle of Fredricksburg; however, Marvel shows a more capable Burnside who managed to acquit himself creditably. Burnside's major problem was not his lack of ability as a military strategist but his laissez-faire way of delegating authority and responsibility to his subordinates. His downfall as a military leader may have been his own honest, humble, and trusting manner. Politically, Grant has been depicted as the outstanding general of the Civil War and as one of the worst presidents. Simpson argues that during the Civil War, ``Grant was both soldier and politician for military and civil policy were inevitably intertwined . . . .'' The author studies Grant's political actions during the Civil War and during President Johnson's administration, but stops with his election as president. He devotes most of the book to Grant's relations with Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, Secretary of War Stanton, and the radical Republicans in determining the policies of war and Reconstruction as well as the policies of dealing with the freed slaves. Both volumes are well written and documented and help fill a void in our understanding of two people who played a major role in the Civil War. Academic libraries will need to purchase both.-- W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Tech Univ. Lib., Ruston