Academic journal article Military Review

ROGUE: A Biography of Civil War General Justus McKinstry

Academic journal article Military Review

ROGUE: A Biography of Civil War General Justus McKinstry

Article excerpt

ROGUE: A Biography of Civil War General Justus McKinstry, John K. Driscoll, McFarland and Company, Jefferson, NC, 2006, 193 pages, $39.95.

In the contemporary context of financial fraud and abuse cases plaguing the Department of Defense, it is instructive to be reminded that unethical practices and self-serving crooks in uniform are not a modern invention. This is exactly what John K. Driscoll does in his compact biography of West Point alumnus Justus McKinstry, who eventually rose to the temporary rank of brigadier general of volunteers in the Union Army.

In the modern vernacular, to be a "rogue" most often means an underdog fighting the good fight (think Marcinko's Rogue Warrior series, for instance, or political references to John McCain's roguish streak). The author intends no such flattery in detailing the life of a dishonest knave, incapable of adhering to the duty-honor-country values of his alma mater.

After a tough road to graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 1838 (he entered as a plebe in 1832), McKinstry followed a typical career for his generation that took him from Florida to Mexico to California, ending in 1861 with a final posting at St. …

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