Grant & Sherman
Charles Bracelen Flood
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Buy *Grant & Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War* online

Grant & Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War
Charles Bracelen Flood
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
480 pages
October 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Before the Civil War, Grant and Sherman were considered failures; Grant was viewed as a drunk and Sherman as insane. As is often the case, both men were written off for their weaknesses without any of their strengths being taken into account. As Flood states: "Both of them failures before the war, the two men, alike in some ways and so different in others, discovered their strengths and talents in the crucible of great national crisis."

Grant and Sherman met at West Point. They were nodding acquaintances rather than friends, but that changed in 1862. While their friendship didn't actually win the war, their deep respect and regard for each other impelled them to cooperate their efforts toward a common goal - winning the war. Grant was clearly the leader, despite pleading with Lincoln to never put him in a leadership position; Sherman was his most excellent subordinate, valued beyond price and willing to walk through fire for Grant.

Flood concentrates on their cooperative efforts in bringing the South to her knees rather attempting a dual biography of each individual. Nevertheless, he acknowledges the strong relationship each had with his wife and family and the effect of the war on those most intimate relationships. Grant, for example, never drank when his wife Julia was at his side; Sherman and his wife, Ellen, lost a son to illness during the war. Both women believed in their husbands implicitly and used all their resources to support the paths they chose.

The book is easy to follow and moves along without a dull page. Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy it, and I believe anyone with the slightest interest in this period of American History will find it fascinating.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Pamela Crossland, 2005

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