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New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1916. Pp. xx+ 330. 1

The New Statesman, 9 (21 Apr 1917) 69

In this volume there are nine portraits of Union leaders in the American Civil War–Sherman, McClellan, Hooker, Meade, Thomas, the generals; Stanton, Seward, Sumner, the Cabinet Ministers; and Bowles, the journalist. 2 Mr. Bradford has chosen his material with admirable discretion; the portraits are short, and bring out the important traits most skillfully. In sparing purely biographical or historical matter, the author attains a most effective economy, but thereby supposes some familiarity on the part of his reader with the general period. Those two rejected heroes, McClellan and Hooker, receive a slight rehabilitation at his hands, but in the main he treats his models without mercy. 3 They accordingly become more interesting. It is made strikingly evident that these men were not stern, self-controlled Puritans; several were men of most passionate, ungovernable disposition, unashamed in rages and tears; several were men in whom were mixed greatness and vanity, devotion and pusillanimity; and the whole group, in their energy and their mixture of motives, are not unworthy of comparison with figures of the French Revolution.

One regrets the omission of certain figures–of Phil Sheridan, of Franz Sigel, 4 of some of the antebellum abolitionists–or rather one hopes for their inclusion in a later volume. The writing is good, except for a few personal appeals to the reader (“Hooker did mean things and made false statements. So have you” [40].), which will jar upon the English ear.

Published By:   Johns Hopkins University Press