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Stanton: Lincoln's Staunch Secretary of War

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Walter Stahr, award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Seward, tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s indispensable Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, the man the president entrusted with raising the army that preserved the Union.

Of the crucial men close to President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (1814–1869) was the most powerful and controversial. Stant
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting, sympathetic and well-written biography of Stanton. Much of the book deals with the Civil War and Andrew Johnson’s impeachment (the war takes up most of the book, actually), but this is still a great portrait of the man.

The narrative is compelling, and Stahr has a great grasp of the time period. His treatment of Stanton is balanced; while he often bent the rules and occasionally played both sides of the fence politically, he did contribute much to the Union victory. He comes off a
Steven Z.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
When one thinks of impactful figures in American history few would come up with the name, Edwin M. Stanton. However, without Stanton the North would have had a much more difficult time defeating the South in the Civil War, the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated someone else would have had to step forward to round up the conspirators and capture John Wilkes Booth and Jefferson Davis, and perhaps Andrew Johnson might not have been brought before the Senate for an impeachment trial. Lincoln’s S ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was fascinating. Before I get into the content of the book I want to note that it’s a really well made book. The binding is solid and the paper used is of excellent quality. It really gives you a sort of luxurious experience when you handle the book that made reading it an even greater pleasure.

There were three things that I found this book did a better job of illustrating than most books about this period. The book shows a special moment in the history of warfare logistics, provides a
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stanton served in the cabinets of both President Buchanan and Lincoln; was the Secretary of War for much of the Civil War; and his attempted removal triggered the Andrew Johnson impeachment. Any of these reasons make him an interesting figure for study, but all three highlight him as one of the pivotal figures in US history in the middle of the 19th century.
Stahr has written a biography worthy of Stanton's importance. Stahr looks at Stanton's roots as a Democratic political figure and his time
John Yingling
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very solid, well-researched and well-written book about a controversial figure in American history. And it's a fair assessment of Stanton, not shying away from his faults as well as discussing his accomplishments. I'm glad that the author didn't confine his story to Stanton's political life, but included his personal and family life as well. The author's writing style is highly engaging; he's writing for the general audience, but I do believe history buffs will find this book very worthwhile. ...more
Jim McCarthy
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am not a historian so I am not really in a position to question assumptions Walter Stahr makes in this expansive book. What I mean is that some assert that Stahr rehabilitates Stanton. To me we will better understand America if we really seek to become knowledgable of the times and events that took place during Stanton's life. Stanton, it turns out, has lots to do with those events, something I have always somewhat known but also something I have not explored until reading Stahr's book. Stanto ...more
Kenneth Murray
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book I knew very little about Edwin Stanton other than he was Lincoln’s war secretary and that he was present in the room when Lincoln died and was reported to have said, “Now he belongs to the ages.” However, after reading it, I have a great and new appreciation for the role Stanton played at a pivotal time in the history of the country.

While Stanton was not above manipulating the rules and laws to achieve a goal, he was certainly a man who personifies the descriptive phase,
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was one of the first biographies that treated its subject as human. From the first chapter, you knew Stahr was not simply fawning over Stanton, but still respected him. Stanton was a complex and complicated political figure who knew how to play the game and get things done. When he said he would be loyal to a person, position, or ideal, it seemed he was and would do what was necessary.

Stahr showed all sides of the major actors in Lincoln's presidential cabinet. All men, including Abe himsel
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stanton, Lincoln’s War Secretary by Walter Staub is a comprehensive study of the Civil War and the aftermath told through the life of Edwin Stanton, who was the Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. It is not light reading and is ‘not for the faint-hearted. The book is well documented and relates the challenges, setback and ultimate victory of the Great Nation over the Southern rebels. Stanton may not have been liked by all, but he was determined to give all for truth and ri ...more
Margaret Sankey
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a solid reconstruction of the life of Stanton, who climbed his way from the Ohio frontier through Kenyon college and a law apprenticeship to become a sought after criminal attorney (for Dan Sickles, for one) and politician, then a member of Lincoln's cabinet, thrust into managing the largest expansion of government power and resources in American history. Stanton's evolution from cagy straddle of Ohio and Virginia niceties about slaver to Radical Republican is an interesting one, especia ...more
Crystal Toller
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A good biography of Edwin Stanton. The author recognizes the good and bad qualities of Stanton and demonstrates this in the book. A number of primary sources were used in the research of this biography as well as secondary. A thorough examination of Stanton and very enlightening. I did not know much about Edwin Stanton before reading this book and found the book interesting and engaging. Highly recommend this book.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, civil-war
It was a little dry and at times tough to get through. Some of it was really fascinating; a lot of Stanton's legal career was a chore to get through and a few times I found myself asking "who cares?" I agree with Stahr's conclusions though that Stanton was an efficient, incorruptible war secretary that was an important piece to Union victory, yet Stanton was also a flawed, cantankerous, and overzealous man.
Adam Yoshida
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Thorough Biography of a Neglected Champion

Stahr’s work here, much like in his biography of Seward, goes a long way towards reviving the memory of a pivotal figure in the war. Works such as these are a necessary corrective to the narrative of the war that recalls only Lincoln and the Generals.

The book is well-researched and paced. It moved briskly through the life of Stanton, but while illuminating his entire life.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very excellent book on Edwin Stanton Lincoln's War Secretary. After Lincoln and Grant possible the next one who saved the Union. Stahr makes this a very enjoyable and easy book to read, similiar in scope to his Seward book a few years back. Besides his dealings with Lincoln I thoroughly enjoy the part where he was also Johnson's War Secretary and the bitterness/disagreements between these two individuals.
Porter Broyles
Of the thee books by Stahr, Seward is the best, but this is a close second. The section of the book dealing with Andrew Johnson and Johnson's impeachment process is an absolute gem. Makes reading this book worth the time and effort. His history under Buchannan and how he became involved in the Lincoln Cabinet after serving on Buchannan's helps make him real.
Dennis Brobston
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I didn't know what to expect when I began reading about Stanton. I am from Steubenville, like Stanton, and although I have seen his statue in front of the County Courthouse, I really didn't know much about him. Well, not anymore! Wonderful details and descriptions of a the most difficult time in our country's history.

A great book!
Jim Swike
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a complete biography of Stanton. His strengths helped Lincoln and the North win the Civil War. He had weaknesses and this is in the book too. A great reference book, and great read for Civil War and History fans, enjoy!
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
An interesting look at a man called to solve many logistical problems and also work with many of the great ego's during the Nation greatest crisis. American history scholars ought to read this important book to understand the period and many little known persons in our History.
John Richley
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great American whose priority was saving the Union. Stage is a wonderful writer.
Patrick Gaughan
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography! Well written and thoroughly researched.
Elizabeth Teig Von Hoffman
Too heavy on the war not heavy enough on the Freedman's Bureau and Reconstruction. Still better than the other recent Stanton bio (from what I read of that).
Brady Oberholtzer
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Oct 30, 2017
Robert C. Cochran
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Aug 31, 2017
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Mar 04, 2019
Jay Hatch
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Nov 07, 2017
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James Keenley
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Sep 20, 2018
paul j miles
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Apr 20, 2018
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Jun 28, 2018
Cindy Wahl
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Nov 01, 2017
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