Lincoln and His Generals Book Report

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Lincoln and His Generals Book Review

Lincoln and His Generals is a book by Thomas Williams that focuses on the Civil War as being the first modern war and the way President Lincoln lead his divided nation during this dark historic time. Williams introduces the Union army as one that has no shape to it. This includes the lack of any plan of attack, as the thought of war had not been converted into any type of scheme. The armies lacked organization and communication, and existing generals were old and incompetent. The first task that Lincoln had was the immediate selection of Generals. Lincoln's selection process was sometimes based on political and personal grounds, and he was in the position of selecting from a pool of generals that had no experience leading a large army. Williams tells us that even if the selection was for political reasons, Lincoln had the best interest of the nation in mind. It appears that control was an important factor in Lincoln's selections, however, Williams continually argues that if Lincoln had had generals who were more competent he would not have interfered as much. In Lincoln, one sees a willing amateur, one who had the ability to bring out the best in some men, and also learn from them. Williams gives us insight into Lincoln's thought process. Williams supports this with various examples and numerous interactions that Lincoln had with his Generals. One example of this is Lincoln's selection of General Scott, the first General of the Union forces. When Lincoln interacted with Scott, he showed an admiration for Scott's age and knowledge. This allowed Scott to show his skills, this humility was shared by General McClellan. Lincoln later changes his approach towards McClellan, trying to boost his confidence and courage. Williams continually shows McClellan as an egotist, who eventually replaced Scott as General in chief. McClellan is depicted as unsure, indecisive, self-centered and fearful of declaring war....
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