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Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea

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Southern Storm:  Sherman's March to the Sea by Noah Andre Trudeau

 

 

Hardcover: 688 pages
Publisher: Harper (August 5, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0060598670

 

Before studying the March to the Sea historians must first confront an army of ghosts, including Scarlett O'Hara, The Bummers, and a host of crafty great-grandmothers who hid the family silverware in their corsets.  Like Peter Cozzens with Stonewall Jackson, Noah Andre Trudeau sweeps away the dust of popular memory and examines Sherman's campaign from Atlanta to Savannah by looking at diaries and letters of soldiers and civilians.  The real story is more fascinating that the myths that once obscured it. 
 
One legend from the campaign remains true - in November of 1864 a Union army of 60,000 men went completely off the information grid, and disappeared into what seemed like thin air to most of the country.  Where, when, and if they would ever reappear was the source of painful anticipation for the whole country; and when they did emerge at Savannah, victorious and jubilant, people across the country began to realize that a corner had been turned, and the end of the war might be in sight.  In Southern Storm Trudeau effectively describes a campaign that changed the very nature of warfare for Americans.
 
For other good titles on Sherman and his March to the Sea begin with B. H. Liddell Hart's Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American for a great biography.  Theodore Upson's With Sherman to the Sea provides a soldier's-eye view of the campaign, which was useful to Trudeau, but also widely quoted in Ken Burns' film The Civil War.  John Walter's Merchant of Terror provides a unique view of Sherman's March as an act of terror, comparable to the Mai Lai Massacre in Vietnam.
 
The Collectors' Corner features two scarce primary sources from our campaigns.  Mrs. Cornelia McDonald kept a diary of her life in Winchester, Virginia during the war that gives us an intimate account of the trials and tribulations of Confederate women in the Shenandoah Valley.  While the diary has been cited in many histories (including Cozzens), her vivid color oil paintings (see above) have not been reproduced since.  Click through to our web site to see a couple of the more interesting examples.  William T. Sherman is, of course, the primary source on his own life, and the most controversial.  We offer a bright copy of Sherman's Memoirs in its 4th and best edition, featuring a response to the general's critics by James G. Blaine.  It seems that every author that takes on the subject of Sherman wishes to write the last word on the subject.  However, they consistently end up creating fodder for millions more words on the life of this fascinating warrior.

 

*Book review provided by
Abraham Lincoln Book Shop
357 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60610
http://alincolnbookshop.com/