Lincoln and his Generals, by T. Harry Williams

Lincoln and his commandersThis is a fine and concise introduction to Lincoln and the course of the American Civil war. The focus, as the title indicates clearly, is on one of the major themes of the war – Lincoln’s efforts to obtain an effective commander for the Union armies, and Lincoln’s own role as chief Union strategist and Commander in Chief.

In the course of this there is some notable insight into the necessary qualities of good generals, and generalship and war-making in the context of a democratic state. Many of the wider issues of the war including the experience of slaves, emancipation, and the actual experiences of the the fighting for the ordinary soldiers are only lightly touched upon. Nevertheless this remains a fine overview of the war and a good introduction to some of its key controversies.

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