This exhaustive, but not exhausting, volume is eminently readable and paints a fascinating picture of this complex individual ... This book is an excellent blend of personal and national history, intertwined in the life of a man who was a master of his profession at a time when our nation’s survival depended on his being so.
Mr. McDonough’s masterly account is the product of a historian’s lifelong study, including extensive research into Civil War battles such as Shiloh, where Sherman had his first combat experience when surprised by a Confederate attack ... Mr. McDonough is especially perceptive about Sherman’s postwar policies as commanding general of the Army, which were, unfortunately, consonant with those of Southern segregationists. [He] present compelling evidence that not only did Sherman treat freed slaves with decency and even respect, he was not averse to sitting down with them, chatting and sharing his cigars ... a full-blooded narrative that is sometimes...And yet Mr. McDonough left me wanting more of Sherman, a reaction that his own men shared.
McDonough is especially good in showing the role that Sherman played in supporting Grant both militarily and emotionally. The deep trust that grew between the two became a major asset to the Union, especially when they were conducting the two major campaigns of 1864-65, with Sherman in the southeast and Grant in Virginia. McDonough is at his best in portraying Sherman’s military qualities ... Oddly, for a book of epic scale, McDonough’s recounting of Sherman’s march in November and December 1864 is a bit flat, less colorful than his lively earlier depictions of Sherman’s emergence as a leader at the battle of Shiloh and in battles for Atlanta.