Cover: Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies: A Life of General Henry W. Halleck, from Harvard University PressCover: Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies in HARDCOVER

Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies

A Life of General Henry W. Halleck

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$47.50 • £38.95 • €43.00

ISBN 9780674014930

Publication Date: 12/17/2004

Short

352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

26 halftones, 1 line drawing

Belknap Press

World

In the summer of 1862, President Lincoln called General Henry W. Halleck to Washington, D.C., to take command of all Union armies in the death struggle against the Confederacy. For the next two turbulent years, Halleck was Lincoln’s chief war advisor, the man the President deferred to in all military matters. Yet, despite the fact that he was commanding general far longer than his successor, Ulysses S. Grant, he is remembered only as a failed man, ignored by posterity.

In the first comprehensive biography of Halleck, the prize-winning historian John F. Marszalek recreates the life of a man of enormous achievement who bungled his most important mission. When Lincoln summoned him to the nation’s capital, Halleck boasted outstanding qualifications as a military theorist, a legal scholar, a brave soldier, and a California entrepreneur. Yet in the thick of battle, he couldn’t make essential decisions. Unable to produce victory for the Union forces, he saw his power become subsumed by Grant’s emergent leadership, a loss that paved the way for Halleck’s path to obscurity.

Harnessing previously unused research, as well as the insights of modern medicine and psychology, Marszalek unearths the seeds of Halleck’s fatal wartime indecisiveness in personality traits and health problems. In this brilliant dissection of a rich and disappointed life, we gain new understanding of how the key decisions of the Civil War were taken, as well as insight into the making of effective military leadership.

Awards & Accolades

  • Finalist, 2005 Peter Seaborg Award, George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University
Who’s Black and Why? A Hidden Chapter from the Eighteenth-Century Invention of Race, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Andrew S. Curran, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: A Brief History of Equality, by Thomas Piketty, from Harvard University Press

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality

In his surprising and powerful new work, A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. We asked him about his impassioned new book: why he wrote it, how it’s optimistic, and what we need to do to continue making progress on creating an equitable world.