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Tried by war: [Abraham Lincoln as commander in chief]

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James McPherson, a bestselling historian of the Civil War, illuminates how Lincoln worked with—and often against— his senior commanders to defeat the Confederacy and create the role of commander in chief as we know it. Though Abraham Lincoln arrived at the White House with no previous military experience (apart from a couple of months spent soldiering in 1832), he quickly established himself as the greatest commander in chief in American history. James McPherson illuminates this often misunderstood and profoundly influential aspect of Lincoln’s legacy. In essence, Lincoln invented the idea of commander in chief, as neither the Constitution nor existing legislation specified how the president ought to declare war or dictate strategy. In fact, by assuming the powers we associate with the role of commander in chief, Lincoln often overstepped the narrow band of rights granted the president. Good thing too, because his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union. For most of the conflict, he constantly had to goad his reluctant generals toward battle, and he oversaw strategy and planning for major engagements with the enemy. Lincoln was a self-taught military strategist (as he was a self-taught lawyer), which makes his adroit conduct of the war seem almost miraculous. To be sure, the Union’s campaigns often went awry, sometimes horribly so, but McPherson makes clear how the missteps arose from the all-too-common moments when Lincoln could neither threaten nor cajole his commanders to follow his orders. Because Lincoln’s war took place within our borders, the relationship between the front lines and the home front was especially close—and volatile. Here again, Lincoln faced enormous challenges in exemplary fashion. He was a masterly molder of public opinion, for instance, defining the war aims initially as preserving the Union and only later as ending slavery— when he sensed the public was at last ready to bear such a lofty burden. As we approach the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth in 2009, this book will be that rarest gift—a genuinely novel, even timely, view of the most-written-about figure in our history. Tried by Waroffers a revelatory portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. How Lincoln overcame feckless generals, fickle public opinion, and his own paralyzing fears is a story at once suspenseful and inspiring.
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 423f2fd5-c79d-65cb-216b-dc3d25ae0af6
Grouping Title tried by war abraham lincoln as commander in chief
Grouping Author mcpherson james m
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2020-05-27 22:43:30PM
Last Indexed 2020-05-27 23:51:20PM

Solr Details

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author McPherson, James M.
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Main Library - Adult Audiobook
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display_description Evaluates Lincoln's talents as a commander in chief in spite of limited military experience, tracing the ways in which he worked with, or against, his senior commanders to defeat the Confederacy and reshape the presidential role.
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id 423f2fd5-c79d-65cb-216b-dc3d25ae0af6
isbn 9781436155533
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literary_form Non Fiction
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local_callnumber_catalog 973.7092 M4789t
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owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Edmondson Pike
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primary_isbn 9781594201912
publishDate 2008
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
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ils:CARL0000312021 Book Books English Penguin Press, 2008. xv, 329 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm.
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subject_facet Executive power -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Military leadership
Presidents -- United States -- Biography
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865
title_display Tried by war : Abraham Lincoln as commander in chief
title_full Tried by War Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief
Tried by war : Abraham Lincoln as commander in chief / James M. McPherson
Tried by war [sound recording] : [Abraham Lincoln as commander in chief] / by James M. McPherson
title_short Tried by war :
title_sub [Abraham Lincoln as commander in chief]
topic_facet Executive power
Lincoln, Abraham
Military leadership
Politics and government