Monday, October 28, 2013

halloween reading on a dark and stormy night

grab a cup of some warm delight, settle down in your leather chair, open your tablet and read these stories ...

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Visit to read your favorite Edgar Allen Poe story or poem
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
The Pale Man by Julius Long

Monday, October 7, 2013

the savior generals: william tecumseh sherman

i've already reviewed a previous chapter about sherman in another book written by vdh (link here).

the main point the savior generals makes that is different from the soul of battle is sherman's concept of total modern war.  let me begin by quoting sherman along with hanson's assessment.

sherman said, "they dared us to war, and you remember how tauntingly they defied us to the context.  we have accepted the issue and it must be fought out.  you might as well reason with a thunder-storm.  war is the remedy our enemies have chosen."  sherman was a "missionary ... bent on teaching the entire south his version of a moral lesson."

hanson further assesses sherman, "no civil war commander possessed a more astute appraisal of the nature of contemporary warfare, how to form and pursue grand strategy, and the critical nexus between war, civit society, popular support, and electoral politics.  and few american generals have since."

words to describe sherman's thoughts on war: modern, total and merciless war; cruelty, hell, ruin, howl, smashing, breaking and ravaging.  in sherman's words, 'the only principal in this war is, which party can whip.'  he further states, 'i propose to demonstrate the vulnerability of the south, and makes its in habitants feel that war and individual ruin are synonymous terms.'

on actual fighting, sherman chose a different calculus.  while grant looking only at body count and population base, sherman focused on the north's superiority in many other aspects: in manufacturing 23-1; in arms production 10-1; in rail and telegraph infrastructure 2-1 ... these stats bolstered the known population ratio 22-9.  sherman chose to focus on the prior stats rather than the latter, especially in light of the north's public opinion of the death rates grant was suffering.

it's funny how many native southerners still feel slighted by what sherman did.  there is no doubt the natives still value gallantry over the value of life itself.  sherman rather chose to value life and by stabbing at the pride of the south, won a war and saved a nation.