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They met in person only four times, yet these two men determined the outcome of the Civil War and cast competing styles for the reunited nation. Each the subject of innumerable biographies, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee have never before been paired as they are here.
Exploring their personalities, their character, and their ethical, moral, political, and military worlds, William C. Davis finds surprising similarities between the two men as well as new perspectives on how their lives prepared them for the war they fought and influenced how they fought it. Davis reveals Lee's sense of failure before the war, Grant's optimism during disaster, and the sophisticated social and political instincts that each had when waging a war between democracies.
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By Orson on 02-24-15
Plutarch looks at Grant and Lee ...
If you could sum up Crucible of Command in three words, what would they be?
Grant, Lee, Parallel
What other book might you compare Crucible of Command to and why?
Davis follows the approach of Plutarch's classic "Lives". While he skips a vast amount of biographical material, he does show important similarities and differences in the upbringing, training, early military experience, and eventual command styles and grasp of strategy and tactics of the two great Civil War commanders.
What about Traber Burns’s performance did you like?
Burns's reading was expressive, moved along at a good clip, and was always clear. History should always be read like this.
Any additional comments?
When you write about figures as prominent and often-written-about as Lee and Grant, you have to bring something new to the discussion, and Davis does exactly that. Of course, some will be outraged that Davis is not worshipful to Lee (the normal treatment) but instead measures his mistakes against Grant's, and shows ways in which Grant's command style was more effective than Lee's. Davis admires what is admirable about both men, and deals candidly with their flaws. An excellent addition to military history and to Civil War evaluation.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful