Monday, October 30, 2006

Book Review: The Sword of Lincoln

576 pages

The Sword of Lincoln is not a hard book to read. I know that a lot of historical non-fiction is, and I've trudged through my fair share of them as a history buff and political science graduate. This is a very lucid, easy to read account of the formation and life of the Army of the Potomac. There are thousands of Civil War accounts out there, so what makes this different? I think that one of the things that it tries to explain is the link between the army and its generals. Because of the political pressure on the army to take care of the South and do it quickly, the Army of the Potomac was always under pressure to do something. This led to the undoing of a whole host of generals, the most notable of whom was William McLellan.
There are times when The Sword of Lincoln can get confusing, mainly because it doesn't have a nice set of maps to follow the battleground strategy. There are some in there, but as with any war book, you really need to have good maps to be able to tell what maneuvers are being done and why they are. Nevertheless, that doesn't prevent the book from being a fascinating read and really making the history of this army more accessible. I highly recommend it.

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