Book Review: Lincoln, the Cabinet, and the Generals


by Chester G. Hearn

Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010. Pp. xii, 357. Notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 0807136379

Interest in the politics of high command during the Civil War never seems to wane, and in Lincoln, the Cabinet, and the General, Chester G. Hearn helps us see why that is the case. 

Hearn, author of When the Devil Came Down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans, Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All,  The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and a good many other works in Civil War and military history, gives us a look at the unusually complex mix of politics, personality, and performance that underlay the selection of many senior officers during the war.  He follows their fortunes in the field, and how that influenced, in turn, the course of the war.  In this way, Hearn helps bring us to a better understanding of Lincoln’s approach to decision making, his willingness to make – and tolerate – mistakes, and his ability to take responsibility for the consequences of his decisions.

A very useful read for those interested in policy, strategy, and command during the Civil War.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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