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Gary W. GallagherWert is best at capturing the spirit of triumph against enormous internal and external obstacles. Campaigning in the shadow of Washington, the army was whip-sawed by political forces, made all the more intrusive because congressional Republicans distrusted McClellan and his subordinates. McClellan's timidity and the formidable Army of Northern Virginia posed additional threats to easy success. Sometimes the soldiers "despaired of the outcome and cursed their leaders," Wert concludes, but "resiliency became one of their defining characteristics." Their hard-won reward came with Lee's surrender, which they justifiably could describe as the death of the rebellion. Readers conversant with existing literature do not need to be reminded that the Army of the Potomac played a leading role in restoring the Union, but anyone new to the topic, as well as veteran students seeking a convenient one-volume treatment, can turn with confidence to Wert's narrative.
— The Washington Post