The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, & the Americans

by Charles Royster

Hardcover, 1991




Knopf, (1991)


From the moment the Civil War began, partisans on both sides were calling not just for victory but for extermination. And both sides found leaders who would oblige. In this vivid and fearfully persuasive book, Charles Royster looks at William Tecumseh Sherman and Stonewall Jackson, the men who came to embody the apocalyptic passions of North and South, and re-creates their characters, their strategies, and the feelings they inspired in their countrymen. At once an incisive dual biography, hypnotically engrossing military history, and a cautionary examination of the American penchant for patriotic bloodshed, The Destructive War is a work of enormous power.

User reviews

LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
A dual biography of two efficient warriors. Evenly balanced to demonstrate that the War was a process all by itself, perhaps outside the politics involved. I don't really think so, as both men did wrack up victories, Sherman in the long run successful. Royster doesn't deal very effectively with Jackson's occasional time-outs, where he would go into a light coma, as he did at the start of the Peninsula fighting. His inaction that day was probably not simply fatigue...there were other instances... someone should go into that...
Sherman, was excitable, and a less skilled leader, but gives the impression, even in his own memoirs, of being "On the Job", rather than enjoying a mystical experience.
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