Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Abraham Lincoln is my cousin...

Tried By War – Abraham Lincoln as Commander- In- Chief by James M. McPherson appealed to me because Abraham Lincoln is in my family tree. Oh yes, that’s right, he’s wayyyyy back there, but never the less I traced that kick ass guy back and there he was.

That’s the reason why I picked this book up, but the reason you should is because it is really interesting. Writers, musicians, film directors and TV documentaries have chronicled Abraham Lincoln's greatness far more than four score and seven times. McPherson's Tried By War is a concise, well-written plow that cuts into a narrow stretch of previously harvested themes, ideas and anecdotes.

This book is not crazy long, and wont bore the hell out of your mind. It obviously is not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive. Yes, there are some curious errors of omission, (Example: McPherson notes the importance of Mobile, Alabama, as a supply port for Confederate blockade runners, but he fails to close that subplot and note even briefly Mobile Bay's shut down by the Union in the politically critical summer of '64.) but whether this book serves as an introduction to or a reminder of Lincoln's contributions as a military and political leader, it should not be faulted so much on what it fails to mention. It is intended to be an illustrative, modestly analytical case summary of Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief, and within those limited parameters, it succeeds.

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