STANTON: Lincoln's Secretary of War by Fletcher Pratt

STANTON: Lincoln's Secretary of War

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a book that begins with a man and swells to include a country at the time of its most rending crisis. Mr. Pratt claims that his is a work of correction, giving the much misused Stanton his due, especially in face of the McClellan claque. We see the Steubenville lawyer as he makes a name for himself in court -- a name as a man of terrific application, honesty, lightning penetration, unique in the ability to relate a general principle to a specific case, thus influencing law as Marshall had done. Then comes the term as Attorney General under Buchanan, followed by the great service as Lincoln's Secretary of War. Here we almost lose sight of Stanton's personal life -- he becomes an official so devoted to the preservation of the Union that only the heartwise Lincoln can equal him. We follow the Civil War from the capital as Stanton and Lincoln work together to weld effective leadership and manpower into a fighting army, from the difficulties with McClellan to the victories of Sherman. Communiques, anecdotes, facts carry the narrative to its close with Stanton's death after his removal from the Johnson cabinet. A man to make things happen, to strike fire in his opponents, this was Stanton, and we learn to admire him. An appendix is given to the controversies he sparked. As the biography of a brilliant legal figure and as the history of the Civil War as fought from the capital this will have a double pull and a lasting value.

Publisher: Norton