An intriguing collection of essays covering much familiar ground, but with enough new insights and fresh perspectives to interest both Civil War buffs and casual readers. Boritt (Civil War Studies/Gettysburg College; Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992) assembles five essays by top specialists in the field, exploring the relationship of wartime Commander-in-Chief Lincoln to his leaders on the battlefield. The common denominator in those relations, the volume argues, was conflict, in part because of the inherent tension between civil and military authorities but also due to the personalities of Lincoln and those he chose to command. Stephen Sears (George B. McClellan, 1988) again examines ``little Mac,'' a supremely cautious man who never thought he had enough men or matÇriel to fight the Confederates; Lincoln removed him from command after he failed to exploit the narrow Union victory at Antietam. Mark Neely (The Last Best Hope of Earth, 1993) assays ``Fighting Joe'' Hooker, who led Union forces into a blundering defeat on bad terrain at Chancellorsville. Boritt looks at George Meade and the Battle of Gettysburg; like McClellan, Meade was cautious and slow, a trait that infuriated Lincoln and led him briefly to consider leaving Washington to take command of the Army himself. Michael Fellman (History/Simon Fraser Univ., British Columbia) writes about William Tecumseh Sherman, with whom Lincoln had distant and infrequent contact. Lincoln counseled Sherman to show mercy to Southerners—advice the general ignored, but his March to the Sea helped clinch Lincoln's re-election, which for a time seemed doubtful. Finally, John Y. Simon (History/Univ. of Southern Illinois) discusses Ulysses S. Grant, the general with whom it is often assumed Lincoln had the best relationship: The volume makes it clear that was true only in comparison with the president's other fractured ties. Five thoughtful and well-written essays, further grist for the mill of seemingly endless fascination with America's costliest war.
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