Sunday, January 27, 2013


"Sherman: The Ruthless Victor" (Agostino Von Hassell and Ed Breslin) - This was a short book at 115 pages.  Before becoming a Christian, I was never much interested in biographies.  Now, I am finding them really intriguing.  I do enjoy those that use more first hand accounts, but that does tend to drive up the book size.  This book uses more second and third hand accounts, and works as a good overview of the life of Sherman.

I also like to evaluate the theological angle of these accounts, but it seems pretty clear that Sherman was an atheist (he certainly lived his life that way).  He was also a pretty unlikeable guy, and it makes for an unpleasant experience just reading a description of him.  That is no slight on the authors, it's who he was.

Sherman is famous for saying "War is Hell".  What few people realize, is that he was one of the people instrumental in bringing about the Hell of total war.  I will leave further discussion of that for another post.

What I found most interesting was that Sherman nearly became a banker.  After that failed, he was a teacher at an army academy, which ended in the run up to the Civil War (the school was nationalized by the South, and Sherman returned to the North in preparation for returning to the Army).

His performance in the war was actually pretty unimpressive.  He did a lot of damage, but didn't face a whole lot of actual combat.

I think the clearest revelation of Sherman's character comes from how he treats others.

The press was initially critical of him, and he of them.  Later in life, he became famous and he warmed to the coverage then.  He also sought to manipulate the media.

General Grant clearly thought well of him, and went out of his way to protect Sherman's position and reputation (not in a combat sense).

How does Sherman repay him?  By belittling the man in his private notes (p 94).

Overall, a good book about a wicked man.

This does make me want to read about Grant...

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