Monday, May 07, 2012

The Rock keeps getting heavier


This just in from Publishers Weekly:

 The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution
Historian Slotkin (Regeneration Through Violence) moves from his path-breaking studies of America’s cultural mythology of violence to a set piece of real-life carnage in this gripping, multifaceted history of the Civil War’s bloodiest day. The author pens a fine narrative of the Battle of Antietam, balancing a lucid overview of strategy and maneuver with subtle, novelistic evocations of the chaos of combat as men “edg[ed] forward step-by-step each time they loaded and aimed, trying to get out of the smoke so they could see better how to shoot.” It’s a dramatic saga, full of coups and blunders, but it’s just the capstone of Slotkin’s searching analysis of the campaigns of 1862, when the conflict, he contends, took a “revolutionary” turn toward intense bloodshed and radicalism. (Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation immediately after Antietam.) At the center is his vivid rendition of the power struggle between Lincoln and Union generalissimo George McClellan, one of history’s great neurotics, who combined paralyzing timidity on the battlefield with grandiose ambition to become a virtual dictator and reverse the abolitionist thrust of Lincoln’s policies. Grounding military operations in political calculation and personal character, Slotkin gives us perhaps the richest interpretation yet of this epic of regenerative violence. 10 illus., 8 maps. Agent: Carl Brandt, Brandt and Hochman. (July)

Let us hope Mr. Slotkin's assessment can avoid the shopworn invective that this PW reviewer parrots in this assessment of McClellan.

Pushing that rock up the hill,

Ranger Mannie


1 comment:

Jim Rosebrock said...

I was interested until I got to that sentence. The usual McClellan bashing and pandering that makes it that much more challenging for us who walk these fields to fairly and accurately interpret McClellan's actions here. We will start to hear the word generalissimo now more and more on the field as people buy this book. Jim Rosebrock