The Pendulum Swings Again: Benson Bobrick’s Master of War
I’ve noted in the past the rather predictable pattern that dominates most biographies of George H. Thomas. With the exception of Christopher Einorf’s recent biography, Thomas’s biographers (including Freeman Cleaves, Francis McKinney, and Thomas Buell) have not only given their subject high marks, but also have accused Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman (and their biographers) of conspiring to deprive Thomas of his due.
Well, here we go again. The New York Civil War Round Table recently was treated to a presentation by Benson Bobrick, the author of a new biography of the Rock of Chickamauga. Form your own opinion as to whether Bobrick’s said anything not already argued by Cleaves, McKinney, Buell, or, to a lesser extent, by Al Castel in his study of the Atlanta campaign.
By the way, judging from his bibliography, Mr. Bobrick did not consult my biography of Grant, so clearly he does not include me among the Grant/Sherman conspirators who were out to get Thomas.
It would have been nice had he used footnotes. Indeed, it would have been very helpful, given Mr. Bobrick’s case, had he pointed other historians and biographers to the sources that might help them change what he deems to be the unfair prevailing take on Thomas. However, I do think it’s a mistake to compose a biography of Thomas by taking shots at Grant and Sherman. It’s as if some people believe that Thomas can’t stand on his own merits.
So click on the link, let Mr. Bobrick advance his own case, and then react to it.