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Tried by War

Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief

James M. McPherson - Author

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ISBN 9781440652455 | 352 pages | 07 Oct 2008 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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The Pulitzer Prize–winning author reveals how Lincoln won the Civil War and invented the role of commander in chief as we know it

As we celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, this study by preeminent, bestselling Civil War historian James M. McPherson provides a rare, fresh take on one of the most enigmatic figures in American history. Tried by War offers a revelatory (and timely) portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. Suspenseful and inspiring, this is the story of how Lincoln, with almost no previous military experience before entering the White House, assumed the powers associated with the role of commander in chief, and through his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union.

"Few historians write as well as McPherson, and none evoke the sound of battle with greater clarity. . . . McPherson draws on almost fifty years of research to present a cogent and concise narrative of how Lincoln, working against enormous odds, saved the United States of America."
-Jean Edward Smith, The New York Times Book Review

"It is hard to do justice in a short review to how convincingly and compellingly McPherson narrates Lincoln's simultaneous mastery of the political, strategic and moral challenge of his historical moment."
-Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times

"Masterful. . . . Destined to become a classic."
-Jay Winik, The Boston Globe

"The definitive portrait of Lincoln as war leader."
-The Washington Post


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