In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

278CIVIL WAR HISTORY he had decided opinions on a wide range of subjects, including many about which he was learned and others concerning which he was bone ignorant. Prior to this collection, scholars had to rely on the archives and on other printed letter collections that were poorly edited and misleading, but now they, and close students of the war in general, will have a fine ocean of Shermaniana into which to dive. This superb selection of four hundred of Sherman's letters nicely captures Sherman at war—with his own society as well as with the Confederates . Tirades against the press, against politicians and democracy itself, against his military rivals, against enemy civilians as well as soldiers, and most especially against black troops and black people in general more than salt these letters—they are at the core of his output. But so too are expressions of tender feelings for his children, vivid portraits of the landscape, sometimes surprisingly sensitive letters to others in the army and elsewhere, astute analyses of complex military issues, and fascinating if twisted discussions of politics. No other general ofthat war was as vivid a writer as he, and few were as insightful about the meanings of both combat and strategy—none made psychological warfare so central and effective within their repertoires. As a selection, this volume is by definition less than a complete edition of Sherman's wartime letters, and one cannot know just which letters have been passed over silently. In addition, Sherman's sheerobsessiveness has been pruned on several subjects, which is something of a limit on the fullest possible portrait . And although the editors do excerpt a few incoming letters from others, at times the richness of the exchanges Sherman had with his wife, Ellen Ewing Sherman, his brother John, and several other Union generals is not fully fleshed out. But as it is, this is a very long book, and to present it to the general reader as well as the scholar, the editors were compelled to make choices that must have been painful for them at times. Quibbles aside, Simpson and Berlin have made a representative and incisive thick sample—they neither leave out the harsh stuff nor edit away the complexity and the sheer cussedness of the man, while they present his constructive and often loving side with equal fairness. This fat but absorbing volume ought to be placed on the Civil War shelf beside Sherman's equally salty, bright, and wellwritten memoirs, and the biography or biographies of the reader's choice. Michael Fellman Simon Fraser University The Burden of Confederate Diplomacy. By Charles M. Hubbard. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998. Pp. xvii, 253. $38.00.) The Burden ofConfederate Diplomacy assesses the failure of Confederate diplomats to achieve recognition/intervention from the European powers or to secure something approaching legitimacy from the Lincoln administration. While BOOK REVIEWS279 acknowledging that the Southern cause was lost on the battlefield, Dr. Hubbard proceeds to chronicle the missed opportunities of the Confederacy on the diplomatic front that failed to associate or reconcile the interests of an independent South with those of the European powers—a failure that contributed substantially to the Confederate defeat. As has been generally accepted, this was in large measure due to an unreasonable reliance on economic leverage in the form of King Cotton. But, as Hubbard suggests, there were also underlying problems that made the success of any policy unlikely, if not impossible. Chief among these were a general neglect offoreign policy by Jefferson Davis, the illequipped and less-than-competent diplomats that his administration fielded, and a more capable and attentive U.S. foreign policy administered by a seasoned diplomatic corps. The inexperienced Southern envoys were further hamstrung, Hubbard contends, by an unrealistic dedication to slavery and King Cotton paradoxically juxtaposed to a commitment to free trade, personal liberty, and independence . In a series of brief chapters dealing with botched diplomatic efforts ranging from frustrated attempts to prevent hostilities via prewar discussions with the Union to the desperate Duncan Kenner mission that, late in the war, offered to exchange emancipation of Southern slaves for recognition, Hubbard shows how either lack of experience, planning, or...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 278-279
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.