New book on Thomas adds to Franklin-Nashville understanding

Author Benson Bobrick has recently completed a biography on Union General George H. Thomas titled Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas.

It has been many years since an authoritative and reliable biography on George H. Thomas has been published. Bobrick’s work will fill that gap. The author considers Thomas to be one of the best Union generals.

Here is a link to a recent interview with Bobrick about his new book. Look for a book review coming soon.

General George H. Thomas

General George H. Thomas

One thought on “New book on Thomas adds to Franklin-Nashville understanding

  1. Mr. Bobrick’s book is the first modern biography of Thomas to really take his 19th century detractors to task, and he does that in detail. His work is more than the recitation of Thomas’ life, and the most interesting of the Thomas biographies since the Piatt/Boynton work of the 1890s. If you assume that his facts concerning Thomas’ interactions with superiors and subordinates and his tactical analysis of Thomas’ military experience are all accurate, he makes a winning case for the idea that Thomas was, by far, the best practitioner of the military arts on the federal side during the Civil War.
    Prof. Bobrick effectively contrasts Thomas’ never-failing effectiveness with the simple-minded, callous “slug it out” mentality of Grant, and, the self-serving, rash and dishonest conduct of Sherman. If the book has a weakness it is the singular focus on Grant and Sherman as protagonists. Although he obviously dug deeply into contemporary criticisms of Thomas’ most well known detractors in Grant and Sherman, his bibliography and text both indicate that he did not go beyond the surface in researching Thomas’ most pointed, manipulative and longest speaking critic, John Schofield.
    Athough the bibliography is otherwise unusually exhaustive, there is no indication that Prof. Bobrick looked at Schofield’s extensive papers in the Library of Congress which are replete with anti-Thomas materials. Simple factual errors such as saying that Schofield obtained his Medal of Honor while he was Secretary of War (1867 – 68), when in actuallity it occured when Schofield was Commanding General of the Army (1893), or, the erroneous assignment of the villian’s role to Jacob Cox as the author of the infamous March 12, 1870 New York Tribune letter directly associated with Thomas’ death (- although Cox was no better than a “lip-service” supporter of Thomas in comparison to his almost synchophantic life-long allegiance to Schofield, the actual author of the Tribune article was Schofield’s long-time aide William Wherry), leads to the suspicion that by the time Prof. Bobrick got to Schofield he was simply tired of the minutia and petty criticism leveled at Thomas.
    That said, the book is an excellent exposition on Thomas’ life-long superior performance as a military officer for the nineteeth century American Army, and presents a compelling and eye-opening analysis of the personal bias against Thomas of both Grant and Sherman.

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