Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Crucible Of Command: Usysses S. Grant And Robert E. Lee - The War They Fought, The Peace They Forged
Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review in the Washington Times of William C. Davis' Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee - The War They Fought, The Peace They Forged.
For serious historians of the Civil War, William C. Davis is the ultimate go-to source for reliable information on a conflict that spawned a staggering amount of mythology. He is the author of more than 50 books on the war and the South, and until recently was director of the Virginia Center for Civil War History at Virginia Tech.
At hand is a thick — and very readable — volume that culminates a life of serious research into all aspects of the war, including personalities, strategies and politics. Mr. Davis, fortunately for all of us, is a stickler for original and contemporaneous sources, rather than long-after-the-fact memoirs. And, indeed, the chapter notes (112 pages of them) should be read along with the text.
An example: The popular depiction in “history” of Gen. Ulysses Grant as a drunk? After studious research, Mr. Davis concludes, “This is all based on a considerable array of mythology, and virtually no contemporary evidence.” Previous biographers relied on 60-year-old “recollections.” One so-called source was an officer who was “dismissed from the service in 1863 for disloyalty,” and vainly pleaded with Grant for reinstatement. Mr. Davis also demolishes a sensational story in the Union press that Gen. Robert E. Lee personally horsewhipped a runaway slave woman.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link: