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Sherman: A Soldier's Life

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
In the crowded battlefield of Civil War commanders, William Tecumseh Sherman stands apart. Others are often summed up in a few words: the stubborn, taciturn Grant; the gentlemanly, gifted Lee; the stomping, cursing Sheridan; and the flamboyant, boyish Stuart. But the enigmatic Sherman still manages to elude us. Probably no other figure of his day divides historians so deep ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 22nd 2001 by Harper
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Jun 29, 2009 Tom rated it liked it
If you are looking for a complete biography, this isn't it. Kennett focuses most of his attentions on William T. Sherman's military career. As such, I wasn't even sure how many kids he and his wife had. What he does offer is a complex portrait of a complicated and controversial figure. He doesn't mince words or try to make Sherman anything less than what the man himself probably would have liked. He wasn't necessarily a good or evil man. He was a soldier above all, and did what he did to win his ...more
Jeff Parris
Apr 14, 2014 Jeff Parris rated it really liked it
Great in-depth biography of a man who produced accolades and scorn from Civil War era Americans. Lee Kennett examines the eccentricities of a true soldier, scabs and all. A must read for anyone interested in more than just the famous battles of the War Between the States. Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, and being a Buckeye myself I wanted to learn more about this famous Ohioan. He turned out to be an itinerant soldier who never really enjoyed his times in his home state. In his own memoir h ...more
Jun 05, 2010 Elaine rated it it was amazing
People either love him or hate him, think he's evil or that he's a hero. Certainly, as Kennett shows, Sherman was a complex and erratic person, difficult to predict, much less to categorize. Kennett, for the most part, maintains a careful neutrality, judging the man by what he himself wrote and what his contemporaries wrote about him, as well as by his actions. This biography is well-researched and interestingly written. It also sheds new light on such historical, often reviled, events like the ...more
This book details the life of William Tecumseh Sherman. Focusing mainly on his military career it briefly follows his boyhood in Ohio then his time at West Point and his pre-Civil War time in the military, unlike many of his contemporary’s he didn't fight in the Mexican war but was stationed in California. It deals with his brief career as a banker before spend the rest of the book detailing his Civil War service and his post-Civil War career as general of the Army. His hatred of politicians and ...more
Gerry Germond
Feb 24, 2016 Gerry Germond rated it it was ok
Shelves: civil-war, biography
While it cover General Sherman’s entire life, it doesn’t do so in much depth. Readers interested in his Civil War campaigns and battles are better served with actual campaign studies. Still, one gets a good idea of his personality; author Kennett attributes much of his actions (or reactions) to narcissism, an interesting take. Wonder what the next book will say? While there are end notes, they are not numbered; that is, the reader won’t know they’re there until finishing the book or glances back ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Brock rated it it was ok
This was a fine book, but i thought it would contain more about Sherman's march and instead it was definitely a biography and almost glossed over the famous march. One thing i didn't like about the book is the retrospective psycho-analysis/diagnosis or Sherman. If you're looking for a biography of Sherman, this one's pretty good, but if you're looking for information on the march to the sea, then you won't find much here.
Lisa Campbell
Feb 22, 2010 Lisa Campbell rated it it was amazing
Okay, I admit it. I think I am half in love with William T. Sherman. There...I said it.

I love Kennett's approach to both the factual details as well as psychological thoughts on the "Cump's" personality. He was a fascinating character in history and Kennett keeps the information moving seamlessly.
David R.
Sep 08, 2009 David R. rated it really liked it
Fundamentally a solid bio. Kennett tended to rush a bit through Sherman's career and over-tidily arranged his chapters into succinct nuggets of time and place, but created a deeper personal profile than is typical of treatments of Sherman. I'm still not certain I buy his portrait, but it is well worth a hearing. The Epilogue was masterful and gave even more context to the previous material.
Dec 30, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most memorable aspect of this book for me was a thought-provoking forensic psychological view of General Sherman as having a narcissistic personality disorder.

Beyond that, it reads well and seems comprehensive (without being overly voluminous) and well researched, but perhaps a bit dry.
Dec 29, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Very interesting look at one of the most important generals of the Civil War. The book tackled the rumors of insanity and why he was so hated in the South after the war. My one complaint is that even though the subtitle is "A Soldier's Life," there is a lack of coverage of his military ability.
Sean Chick
Aug 12, 2011 Sean Chick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best analysis I've read of Sherman's personality but hurt by some narrative holes.
Jeff Ball
Jun 19, 2016 Jeff Ball rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for Civil War buffs.

Many new learnings about one of my favorite Civil War generals. You need to give it a go. J. Scott Ball
May 01, 2008 Ronnie rated it did not like it
Many boigraphies are dry, but this was Sahara sand. I appreciate the attention to detail the author put forth but it was almost painful to read. I got half way thru and then had to quit.
Oct 30, 2012 Xdw rated it it was ok
short on vicksburg. more psych than military
Jennifer Rao
Jun 19, 2012 Jennifer Rao rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Fairly quick read for a historical biography. Used lots of personal correspondence which made it more insightful. Well researched.
Terri Prince
Terri Prince rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2013
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Prof. Lee Boone Kennett was a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Georgia. He lived in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina until his death in 2011 "after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease".

Kennett had a long career as a historian and a writer, in which he specialized in military history. He received many honors, prizes, and awardsincluding the University of Georgia Research Award
More about Lee B. Kennett...

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