Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Grant’s Lieutenants: From Chattanooga to Appomattox

Edited by Steven E. Woodworth

If eight people went to a theatrical event staged in the round, depending on where they were seated, you may have eight slightly different descriptions of the same show that each just witnessed.  By assembling each of these descriptions and forming them into a single narrative one is able to get a more complete, detailed and nuanced account of the show they have just seen.

As the editor of “Grant’s Lieutenants,” Steven E. Woodworth has done something very much similar.  Picking up from where the first volume, “From Cairo to Vicksburg,” left off, the second volume, “From Chattanooga to Appomattox,” follows Ulysses S. Grant as he moves from the Western theater of operations to the Eastern theater, from his relief of the besieged city of Chattanooga Tennessee to accepting the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse.

As with the first volume, this book is a collection of essays written by prominent historians.  Each essay is a mini-biography, of one of Grant’s subordinates and his relationship with them.  Those of featured in the book, are William T. Sherman (making a 2nd appearance), George H. Thomas, George G. Meade, Franz Sigel, Benjamin F. Butler, David Hunter Lew Wallis, Horatio Wright, Philip H. Sheridan, Edward O. C. Ord and Henry Halleck.  And the historians writing about them are John F. Marszaleck, Steven E. Woodworth, Ethan S. Rafuse, Earl J. Hess, Mark Grimsley, Benjamin F. Cooling, Steven E. Nash, and William B Feis.

Neither in the first, nor in the second volume, is there an essay dedicated to Ulysses S. Grant alone.  Neither is there is no final essay tying all of the essays together.  Mr. Woodworth has left his readers to put all the narrative pieces together and draw their own conclusions about the evolution of Grant’s leadership style.  Taken together both volumes form a biography in the round.

ISBN 978-0700615896, University Press of Kansas, © 2008, Hardcover, 263 pages, Endnotes & Index. $34.95

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