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Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War

de Charles Bracelen Flood

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384949,534 (4.17)11
"We were as brothers," William Tecumseh Sherman said, describing his relationship with Ulysses S. Grant. They were incontestably two of the most important figures in the Civil War, but until now there has been no book about their victorious partnership and the deep friendship that made it possible. Heeding the call to save the Union, each struggled past political hurdles to join the war effort. Taking each other's measure at the Battle of Shiloh, they began their unique collaboration. Often together under fire on the war's great battlefields, they shared the demands of family life, the heartache of loss, and supported each other in the face of mudslinging by the press and politicians. Their growing mutual admiration and trust set the stage for the crucial final year of the war and the peace that would follow. Moving and elegantly written, Grant and Sherman is a historical page-turner: a gripping portrait of two men whose friendship, forged on the battlefield, would win the Civil War.… (més)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The most fascinating chapters are at the start, the successive professional failures of Grant and Sherman prior to the war and their more or less stumbling into positions of command. The mid-bits are a gloss of Civili War history, rehash for anyone who's already soaking in this stuff anyway. Picks up again at the end with a vivid picture of the last weeks of the war, the atmosphere in Washington following Lincoln's assassination and the Grand Review of the victorious Union armies. Rapid fire epilogue blasts through Grant/Sherman's post-war careers as an obligation. Makes me want to read their memoirs for more detail. ( )
  tmdblya | Dec 29, 2020 |
Very interesting description of the friendship between Grant and Sherman during the Civil War, and their key roles in winning the war. Charles Bracelen Flood has attempted to explore this unique relationship in "Grant and Sherman: The Friendship that Won the Civil War." Beginning with their backgrounds, he shows their similarities. He then goes on to demonstrate the growing trust between the two generals during the early years of the war. ( )
  buffalogr | Nov 4, 2018 |
The writer of a thesis paper is typically admonished to narrow the topic sufficiently so that it can both bring fresh perspective and be covered comprehensively in a finite number of pages. I would guess that when Charles Bracelen Flood conceived a book about the special relationship between Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman during the Civil War, he felt that he had such a narrowed topic. As every thesis writer knows, the next step is to place that narrowed focus within the context of a wider arena that can be quite unfamiliar to the reader. Tough decisions must be made as to what to include to establish this contextual element while suitably limiting the overall scope. The problem with Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War is that neither the author nor his editor seems to have made these critical decisions. The result is a book that in a mere four hundred pages attempts a dual biography of Grant and Sherman and the history of the American Civil War, which compels Flood to cherry-pick telling episodes and oversimplify the war in order to place his twin protagonists in the appropriate milieu to suit the narrative. Significantly, this structure also imperils a deeper character analysis of his subjects within and without their unique friendship.
I am fairly well-read in Civil War historiography, and I have some familiarity with Grant’s story. The primary reason I picked up Grant and Sherman was that I wanted to learn more about Sherman without reading an entire volume dedicated to his biography. This book was recommended to me by a fellow Civil War enthusiast, and I had read Flood before; his 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History is an outstanding work in my estimation. The topic is indeed attractive: Grant and Sherman are the two most iconic Union generals and their successful collaboration was a chief ingredient to the final victory of the United States.
Both Sherman and Grant were essentially pre-war failures with West Point backgrounds, although on the eve of the war Grant’s future seemed far more dismal than Sherman’s. Still, the war made both of them, but not without some bumps in the road. Sherman, over-reacting to the size of enemy forces, was deemed insane. Grant was accused of drunkenness and dereliction of duty. Sherman had powerful political connections that included a brother in Congress which kept him from the abyss. Grant was stubborn and determined; he scored too many victories to be sidelined. The two men had much in common but also much that set them apart. Still, they bonded almost immediately and Sherman became Grant’s loyal subordinate throughout the war. Grant reciprocated that loyalty absolutely, and rescued Sherman when he went off course. Sherman’s famous quotation, taken from a letter he wrote to Grant, sums it up well: “I know wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come – if alive.” Sherman was to get in more than one tight place, and Grant was indeed to come. The most significant episode was in the closing days of the war, after Appomattox and the Lincoln assassination, when Sherman stepped way beyond his bounds while accepting the surrender of Joe Johnston’s army by making unauthorized promises for the restoration of political rights to former Confederates. Overnight, Sherman’s political capital went from hero to zero, and without Grant’s tactful intervention he might have ended the war in disgrace.
I had always assumed that accusations of Sherman’s insanity were hyperbolic attacks by forces unfriendly to him, but Flood’s chronicle reveals friends and relations alike worried about a mental illness that apparently ran in the family manifesting itself. That Sherman sometimes jumped to conclusions, made rash judgments and occasionally saw enemies everywhere underscores the concerns of those who knew him best. He was indeed a brilliant general with often uncanny instincts in the field, but without Grant’s steady guidance one wonders what might have become of Sherman.
Flood is a gifted author and despite its flaws much of this book benefits from a well-written narrative that never grows dull. Those without a strong background in the Civil War and less acquaintance with the main characters will likely enjoy this effort more than I did. Still, I think it would have been far more effective had Flood taken a less macro approach and simply focused upon the specific aspects of the relationship between Grant and Sherman that contributed to ultimate Union victory. A deeper analysis of each of the men would have been welcome, as well. As it is, there is little new material here, just a new way perhaps to relate a familiar story. To those who already possess a strong foundation in Civil War studies, I would recommend skipping this book.

http://regarp.com/2015/10/16/review-of-grant-and-sherman-the-friendship-that-won... ( )
1 vota Garp83 | Oct 16, 2015 |
Very interesting description of the friendship between Grant and Sherman during the Civil War, and their key roles in winning the war. Also covered are their common backgrounds as West Point graduates who both left the Army before the Civil War and had undistinguished careers in civilian life. Good detail on the key battles they were involved in: Shiloh, Ft Donelson, Vicksburg, Chattanooga,Sherman's victory at Atlanta, Sherman's March to the Sea, Sherman's March thru the Carolinas, and Grants final battle with Lee. Very well written - it's a fairly quick read. ( )
  wrjensen382 | Feb 14, 2015 |
Union generals Grant and Sherman shared a similar background of failure and frustration, though at the beginning of the War Between the States, Grant was probably the bigger failure of the two. Both men were very dependent upon their families for support of one sort or another, be it as simple as Grant working in his father's leather shop or a bit more complicated like Sherman benefitting from the political influence of his politically-connected family.

Just four years later, the pair was largely credited with winning the war and preserving the Union. They would go on to worldwide and national fame, something they could hardly have imagined possible in 1860 when the coming war was still brewing. Grant, of course, would become president of the United States (although his presidency is seen as somewhat of a failure due to the scandals occurring during his years in office), and Sherman would become head of the U.S. Army and would remain a soldier for almost five decades before finally retiring on his 64th birthday.

Theirs was a special bond, one that involved true friendship and a melding of two very different military minds into one mindset that overwhelmed all the resistance that Robert E. Lee and the rest of the South could throw at them. They were exactly what the Union needed and they came along at precisely the right moment to save that Union. "Grant and Sherman" tells their story in just over 400 pages; it's a story well worth considering. ( )
  SamSattler | Aug 28, 2014 |
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As soon as real war begins, new men, heretofore unheard of, will emerge from obscurity, equal to any occasion.
--William Tecumseh Sherman, six weeks before Bull Run

I knew whereve I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come if alive.
--Sherman to Grant, March 10, 1864, summing up their successful Western campaigns

But what next? I suppose it will be safe if I leave General Grant and yourself to decide.
Abraham Lincoln to Sherman, after congratulating him on his capture of Savannah, Christmas 1864

He stoof by me when I was crazy and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now, sir, we stand by each other always.
--Sherman, speaking of Grant

I know him well as one of the greatest purest and best of men. He is poor and always will be, but he is great and magnanimous.
--Grant, praising Sherman in a letter to Jesse Grant, his father

We were as brothers, I the older man in years, he the higher in rank.
--Sherman, summing up their friendship
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To my wife, Katherine Burnam Flood, and to our children, Caperton, Lucy, and Curtis
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In the early hours of April 7, 1862, after the terrible first day of the Battle of Shiloh, Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman came through the darkness to where his superior, Major General Ulysses S. Grant, stood in the rain.
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"We were as brothers," William Tecumseh Sherman said, describing his relationship with Ulysses S. Grant. They were incontestably two of the most important figures in the Civil War, but until now there has been no book about their victorious partnership and the deep friendship that made it possible. Heeding the call to save the Union, each struggled past political hurdles to join the war effort. Taking each other's measure at the Battle of Shiloh, they began their unique collaboration. Often together under fire on the war's great battlefields, they shared the demands of family life, the heartache of loss, and supported each other in the face of mudslinging by the press and politicians. Their growing mutual admiration and trust set the stage for the crucial final year of the war and the peace that would follow. Moving and elegantly written, Grant and Sherman is a historical page-turner: a gripping portrait of two men whose friendship, forged on the battlefield, would win the Civil War.

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