Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Booknotes - "Lincoln and his Admirals"

This arrival was a pleasant surprise. Abraham Lincoln's relationships with his army generals have received far more attention in the literature than his interactions with his admirals. Craig L. Symonds's new book Lincoln and his Admirals (Oxford Univ. Press, Sept. 2008) will attempt to fill the void. One of the author's major themes appears to be the president's growth as a naval strategist. A quote from the dust jacket stating that Lincoln had "transformed himself into one of the greatest naval strategists of his age" is an extremely bold contention from the marketing department. Some fairly critical accounts exist (e.g. Robert Browning's conclusion is that the Lincoln-Welles team provided basically no strategic coordination of blockading squadrons), and it will be interesting to see how well Symonds supports his case.

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