The White Tecumseh: A Biography of General William T. Shermanby Stanley P. Hirshson
Best remembered as the man who burned Atlanta and marched his army to the sea, cutting a swath of destruction through Georgia, William Tecumseh Sherman remains one of the most vital figures in Civil War annals. In The White Tecumseh, Stanley Hirshson has crafted a beautiful and rigorous work
"Extraordinarily readable." --Paul D. Casdorph, author of Jackson and Lee
Best remembered as the man who burned Atlanta and marched his army to the sea, cutting a swath of destruction through Georgia, William Tecumseh Sherman remains one of the most vital figures in Civil War annals. In The White Tecumseh, Stanley Hirshson has crafted a beautiful and rigorous work of scholarship, the only life of Sherman to draw on regimental histories and testimonies by the general's own men. What emerges is a landmark portrait of a brilliant but tormented soul, haunted by a family legacy of mental illness and relentlessly driven to realize a powerful military ambition.
"Sympathetic yet excellent . . . insight into how Sherman's own troops felt about him and his relationships with fellow generals, especially Grant. . . . Highly recommended." --Library Journal
As Hirshson (History/Queens Coll.; The Lion of the Lord, 1969, etc.) himself notes in his preface, this is hardly the first recent study of Sherman. In fact, the general has been poked and prodded quite a lot of late, and Hirshson compares his experience watching various works emerge to "the academic equivalent of having the contents of a six-shooter slowly emptied into one's body." Still, he has tried to turn this to his advantage, showing where his predecessors failed to use all available sources while at the same time culling from their works what he found useful. The result is a competent biography that, to justify its existence, stresses the importance of regimental histories of the Civil War, on which Hirshson relied most heavily. The problem is that while he spotlights them, it's clear that the more personal interactions of the Sherman family, especially the relationship between Sherman and his wife, Ellen, seem to be closest to his heart. The Sherman who emerges is a tormented man who, like his friend Ulysses S. Grant, tried his hand at a number of (mostly unsuccessful) ventures in the private sector but returned to the army during the Civil War to claim his share of glory. Sherman's record during that conflict is more difficult to categorize than Grant's, and it would be hard to point to a battle that he actually won. More impressive, claims Hirshson, were Sherman's marches, especially his famous (or infamous) March to the Sea through Georgia in 1864, which the author claims could have been accomplished only by a superbly skilled officer.
Not the most comprehensive biography, but a good supplement for those eager to understand the "firebug" in all his somewhat dubious glory.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.22(w) x 9.69(h) x 1.28(d)
Meet the Author
STANLEY P. HIRSHSON is Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York, and the author of Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans and the Southern Negro, 1877-1893. He lives in Closter, New Jersey.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews