Academic journal article Military Review

Lincoln and His Admirals

Academic journal article Military Review

Lincoln and His Admirals

Article excerpt

LINCOLN AND HIS ADMIRALS, Craig L. Symonds, Oxford University Press, New York, 2008, 430 pages, $27.95.

Distinguished author and historian Craig Symonds has written a gripping and insightful book about President Abraham Lincoln, his Department of the Navy, and the Union admirals who won the Civil War. While highlighting the Union naval strategy and key personalities of the war, the book is really an intensive examination of Lincoln--his role as commander-in-chief, his decision-making processes, and his exercise of civilian control and management of the military in time of war.

By his own admission, Lincoln knew little of ships, but over four years, he evolved into a wartime commander-in-chief who was able to effectively manage the Navy and coerce and cajole its chiefs into action, either alone or in joint operations with the Army. Despite possessing a coterie of strong-willed naval advisors with divergent opinions, Lincoln often had to make some subtle and difficult decisions alone. …

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