Friday, October 14, 2016

William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life

Nicely colorized version of the famous Mathew Brady photograph
Wednesday I finished reading William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life, by James Lee McDonough.  This is a quite readable biography of Sherman, which draws substantially from the prolific correspondence that Sherman conducted with his wife, family, and others.  Through this book I learned several new things about Sherman's life, particularly the period during which he lived in California, first as an army office, and then as a banker in boom-town San Francisco.  I was also unaware of the political connections of his family, his father-in-law serving as a Senator, and then Secretary of the Interior, and his brother as Senator from Ohio.

As is usual with this sort of book, it would have been nice to have more and better maps of campaigns and battles, and this book also uses the frankly antiquated practice of putting photos together in the middle of the book, rather than interspersed chronologically.  Another drawback was the lack of information from Confederate correspondence, of which I assume there is a large volume.

These few complaints outstanding, I quite enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone interested in American Civil War personalities.