Victory in Destruction: The Story of William Tecumseh Sherman

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the annals of the American Civil War, perhaps no other figure elicits such divergent opinions than Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. A strong commander who engineered several critical Federal victories, Sherman was also one of the primary proponents of "destructive war." Sherman's campaigns in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina were an example of 19th century total war. The "March to the Sea" featured significant destruction and dislocation as Sherman's forces burned their way across the heart of the Confederacy. A commander who was responsible for the burning of cities, the dislocation of populations, and the bombardment of civilians Sherman lives on in scorn in the psyche of the South. However, Sherman was also a man who spent a considerable portion of his life living in the American South, a part of the republic that he loved. All in all, Sherman was a complex figure whose contemporaries saw as a contradictory force. In this biography the author adopts a narrative style that includes frequent anecdotes and quotes and readers are afforded a glimpse into not only the military life of General Sherman but also his family. This multi-faceted portrait of Sherman reveals a brilliant man who was dogged by personal idiosyncrasies. In the end, Sherman, like this biography, was a success. 2005, Morgan Reynolds Publishing, Ages 12 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Whitelaw traces the general's young years, graduation from West Point, and a number of jobs he held that never brought him the success or financial security that he desired. Much like Ulysses Grant, his success came in the field he least pursued-the military. Sherman proved his worth fighting in the western theater of the Civil War, capturing key locations, including Atlanta. However, stress brought on a nervous breakdown and spawned newspaper stories about his mental stability. This text is chock-full of material about the times in which Sherman lived, which occasionally overwhelms the biographical information. Average-quality, color reproductions and black-and-white historical photographs, maps, and excerpts from Sherman's memoirs appear throughout. It should be noted that Lincoln's "House Divided Speech" was given in Springfield, IL, not in New York.-Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10A spare, straightforward biography of the infamous Union general. Whitelaw traces her subject's Ohio childhood, his graduation from West Point, and his brief and undistinguished early military career. She documents the fact that he re-enlisted in the army, not because of an abolitionist stance, but because he felt the Southern states had no right to secede. It was during his stint as general that he achieved immortality for his "March to the Sea." After the war, he was a popular lecturer and was promoted for the presidency several times (which he declined with the famous line, "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.") Average-quality archival reproductions appear throughout. Students writing reports will find all they need in this well-documented account. Unfortunately, the word "Chattanooga" is consistently misspelled in the captions and one chapter is named "The Smokey (sic.) March."Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
Susan Dove Lempke
Sherman is remembered today for carrying out the ruthless destruction of the South's morale and its property, helping to bring about the end of the Civil War. Using many contemporary quotations and photographs, Whitelaw presents both the personal and the military sides of the man who was loved and hated with equal intensity. She creates sympathy for her subject (who suffered several humiliating failures in life before the war) but also shows his more repellent side, including his disregard for African Americans. She avoids intrusive psychologizing, and because she neither excuses nor condemns, she gives readers a chance to come to their own conclusions. More maps would have been helpful, but the photographs are plentiful; notes and a bibliography are included.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931798310
  • Publisher: Morgan Reynolds Pub
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.62 (d)

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