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This review is from: Burnside (Hardcover)
Marvel(the author is aptly named) and greatly wonder, that was what I increasingly did reading this otherwise excellent biography of Major-General Ambrose Everett Burnside. I marvelled at the fact that it was possible that soldier's lives were ever entrusted to this man (and he wasn't even the worst one) and wondered how someone so unintelligent, insecure and mediocre succeeded in reaching such important commands.
Fredericksburg, Knoxville, the Wilderness and the Crater are the sad testament to Burnside's military abilities. Why the Lincoln administration continued to employ him is still beyond me.
As a person he was very likable: a pleasant, caring and modest fellow, a true gentleman. Everybody liked Burnside, but everybody also knew he was a failure as a general.
After the war he was very busy in veteran's affairs, which is highly laudable, but I can't help thinking that there would have been a lot more veterans alive after the Civil War if Burnside had never been given a command higher than a brigade.
A very good book, sympathetic to its subject, but not blind to his faults. Recommended.