This huge book is a great read on the Civil War Union Army of the Tennessee.
Steven E. Woodworth begins his story of this contingent before it became known as the Army of the Tennessee, when various volunteer units came together from the old Northwestern states (a Confederate army with a similar name - Army of Tennessee - came into contact with this Union army). Many of these volunteers were full of enthusiasm for the war effort, thinking they could quickly put down the rebellion - but they found out that this was not going to be an easy war.
The phrase “seeing the elephant” was to these soldiers the codeword for the experience of war and all its horrors. This conflict turned into the biggest war ever fought in North America. Woodworth uses many primary sources to create this narrative - diaries, letters, official reports and other sources. His style of writing makes this book such a joy to read, not just a dry textbook history. He brings the story alive with all kinds of stories from those who made up the Army, enabling the reader to visualize what he is writing about, a glimpse of the mud, the rain, the swamps, the bleeding, and all the horrors of the war. One sees why U.S. Grant and William T. Sherman were such great generals, how they moved the Union’s war efforts to eventually defeat the Confederacy. The Confederacy had its great general in Robert E. Lee and a few others, but he Union took longer to find its great generals.
Steven Woodworth provides a huge section of endnotes and a bibliography of both published and unpublished works. He finishes the book with an index, after providing many drawings and more photographs, many of which are portraits of Union generals or admirals. There are also a few photos of battlefields on which the Army of the Tennessee. A single large map that shows the theater of operations of this army is located in the introduction of the book; more maps might have been useful. The paperback version of this book is due out in October 2006.
Steven E. Woodworth is a professor of history at Texas Christian University. He and Mark Grimsley co-authored the book Shiloh: A Battlefield Guide (2006) and he co-authored with Kenneth J. Winkley The Oxford Atlas of the Civil War (2004). Woodworth is the sole author of While God is Marching On (2003), A Scythe of Fire (2003), Beneath a Northern Sky (2003), Loyal, True, and Brave (2002), Grant’s Lieutenants (2001), This Grand Spectacle: The Battle of Chattanooga (2000), Six Armies in Tennessee (1999), and several other books and articles. He establishes himself further as one of the bright new lights in Civil War history with this book. Nothing But Victory is recommended to all Civil War enthusiasts who want to read a lively history book.