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Lincoln and His Admirals - Craig L. Symonds

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Abraham Lincoln began his presidency admitting that he knew "but little of ships," but he quickly came to preside over the largest national armada to that time, not eclipsed until World War I. Written by naval historian Craig L. Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals unveils an aspect of Lincoln's presidency unexamined by historians until now, revealing how he managed the men who ran the naval side of the Civil War, and how the activities of the Union Navy ultimately affected the course of history.
Beginning with a gripping account of the attempt to re-supply Fort Sumter--a comedy of errors that shows all too clearly the fledgling president's inexperience--Symonds traces Lincoln's steady growth as a wartime commander-in-chief. Absent a Secretary of Defense, he would eventually become de facto commander of joint operations along the coast and on the rivers. That involved dealing with the men who ran the Navy: the loyal but often cranky Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, the quiet and reliable David G. Farragut, the flamboyant and unpredictable Charles Wilkes, the ambitious ordnance expert John Dahlgren, the well-connected Samuel Phillips Lee, and the self-promoting and gregarious David Dixon Porter. Lincoln was remarkably patient; he often postponed critical decisions until the momentum of events made the consequences of those decisions evident. But Symonds also shows that Lincoln could act decisively. Disappointed by the lethargy of his senior naval officers on the scene, he stepped in and personally directed an amphibious assault on the Virginia coast, a successful operation that led to the capture of Norfolk. The man who knew "but little of ships" had transformed himself into one of the greatest naval strategists of his age.
Co-winner of the 2009 Lincoln Prize
Winner of the 2009
Barondess/Lincoln Prize by the Civil War Round Table of New York
John Lyman Award of the North American Society for Oceanic History
Daniel and Marilyn Laney Prize by the Austin Civil War Round Table
Nevins-Freeman Prize of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago

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A much needed reference

5

This book fills a void in the history of the Civil War. Written by a noted historian, the part played by naval forces in the Union's success in the war is thoroughly explored in this text and the extensive 'hands-on' approach Lincoln, as Commander-in-Chief, had to apply. Yet another example of the greatness of the man and his presidency.

Wollongong

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Lincoln and His Admirals

5.0 1

100.0


"Lincoln and His Admirals is that rare thing, an important Lincoln book of genuine originality."--Michael F. Bishop, Washington Post Book World


"Splendid...By the end of the Civil War, Mr. Symonds shows us the Navy, both on the oceans and on the Western rivers, had played a major role in bringing about a Union victory, thanks in no small part to Lincoln's persistent naval leadership."--The Wall Street Journal


"Outstanding...the wide-ranging naval war was fought on vast oceans and inland rivers, and Mr. Symonds restores Lincoln's passion for the Navy to its proper place."--James L. Swanson, Washington Times


"Scores of books have detailed Lincoln's struggles with reluctant generals during the Civil War, but few have examined his relationship with naval leaders. Craig Symonds, professor emeritus of history at the Naval Academy, sets out to change that in 'Lincoln and his Admirals'...Symonds delivers a fast-paced, crisply written account of the naval war and Lincoln's patient handling of Welles, Fox and the men who served them, including such famous admirals as David Glasgow Farragut, David Dixon Porter and John Dahlgren."--Seattle Times


"We know a great deal about President Lincoln's relations with his generals but much less about his dealings with his admirals and his Navy Department. Craig L. Symonds, a professor emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy, has filled this gap with a compelling tale about Lincoln's dealings with the Navy and the prickly men who ran it...Mr Symonds has provided more than a splendid study of the Civil War at sea; he offers fresh insights into Lincoln as commander in chief."--John M. Taylor, Washington Times


"Craig Symonds took the challenge, and the retired Naval Academy professor has produced a study as fascinating as it is revealing...Symonds has the rare ability to bring history alive through individuals who made it...Symonds has given us one of the year's best additions to Civil War history, whether or not you are a landlubber."--Roanoke Times


"Readers already familiar with Lincoln's experiences with the army will find much to commend in Symonds' eye-opening Lincoln and His Admirals, as McPherson attests in a dust-jacket comment on the book. The book, he says, finally gives the Union navy and its commander in chief the credit they deserve for their important role in winning the Civil War."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch


"Symonds, a prize-winning historian who taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, brings us yet another new way of looking at Lincoln - as a commander in chief who, by his own admission, knew "little about ships." Lincoln's relationship with his generals is one of the better-known side stories of the Civil War. Symonds reminds us that Lincoln had to keep his eye on the seas, rivers and admirals as well. "--Newark Star Ledger


"Solidly researched, well argued, and engagingly written. What really makes the book stand out, however, is the insight that Symonds provides into the minds and actions of the key players."--Civil War Book Review


"The definitive work on the 16th president's leadership of the navy."--Publishers Weekly


"The Civil War forced the 16th president to know a lot more, and Symonds expertly demonstrates how he learned about ships, strategy, new technologies and, above all, about dealing with the fractious personalities to whom he delegated naval operations... For scholars and the general reader alike, an insightful and highly readable treatment of a neglected dimension of Lincoln's wartime leadership."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"Superbly researched... Symonds has written an excellent work that describes both Lincoln's growing confidence and competence as a naval strategist as well as his relations with various naval commanders... This will be a fine addition to Civil War collections."--Booklist


"Lincoln's role as commander-in-chief during the Civil War is most often assessed through his dealings with his Union generals; thus, Symonds's expert and accessible work on the naval side is a real boon. He gives us a meticulous and graceful interpretive narrative, rich with primary-source anecdote, of Lincoln's relationship with the U.S. Navy and his evolution as a naval strategist... Essential for all Lincoln collections."--Library Journal


"We utter the names of Lincoln's admirals, such as Farragut and Porter, far less often than the names of his Generals, good or bad. And Craig L. Symonds' Lincoln and His Admirals is one of the relatively few books on the role of the maritime, studies focusing on Lincoln and his admirals being rarer still."--Baton Rouge Advocate


"'Lincoln and His Admirals' is an important book. It is easily the most comprehensive study to date on the development of Union naval strategy during the Civil War. Meticulously researched from primary sources, it concentrates on President Abraham Lincoln's role in the naval war...Much has been written on the relationship of Lincoln and his generals; now we have the same for Lincoln and his admirals. Anyone wishing to understand the naval Civil War and its relation to the fighting on land will want to read this book."--Journal of Military History


"We know a great deal about Lincoln and his generals, but until now very little about Lincoln and his admirals. With a compelling portrait of personalities and a sharp analysis of strategy, Craig Symonds offers a gripping narrative that finally gives the Union navy--and its commander-in- chief--the credit they deserve for the important part they played in winning the Civil War." --James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom


"Symonds is one of the finest American military historians in this generation."--Gabor Boritt, Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director, Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College


"This is an epic story--the quintessential, mal-de-mer-prone landlubber morphing into the admiral-in-chief of the mightiest armada on the planet. Spinning the yarn with resourceful scholarship and narrative verve, peerless naval historian Craig Symonds succeeds in creating an entirely new portrait of Lincoln: not only as healer of the land, but conqueror of the sea."--Harold Holzer, Co-Chairman, U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission


"Craig L. Symonds has filled a gap by giving us a superb account of Abraham Lincoln's relationship with the navy and the people who ran it. Beautifully written, the narrative is also lively and informative. He eloquently describes how Lincoln's judicious temperament complemented his irascible 'Neptune, ' Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles along with the calumny, envy, personal conflicts, and thirst for promotion that permeated the deep sea and riverine forces. This is the most complete and edifying story of Mr. Lincoln and his 'webbed-feet.'"--Frank Williams, Chief Justice, Rhode Island State Supreme Court and Lincoln Scholar


"Lincoln and His Admirals is simply superb and Craig Symonds' analysis of US Navy leadership during the Civil War is magnificent! The Lincoln-esque gems placed throughout the book made reading it a delight. The chapters on the Fort Sumter crisis and the Trent affair are incisive and the best discussions of these dramas I have ever read. Symonds brought back to life our Civil War admirals and Navy Secretary Gideon Welles and shared their triumphs and their setbacks as they richly deserved."-- David Sutherland, President, Indianapolis Civil War Round Table (2001-02 and 2007-08)


"Symonds's book is a necessary addition to the Civil War scholar's bookshelf. Casual readers will enjoy it for its wonderful prose and anecdotal style."--Centre Daily Times


"Symonds is a talented author who keeps the reader engrossed from the first page. I particularly appreciated his ability to show Lincoln's strong interest in technology, ranging from ironclads to new weapons. The book is superbly researched with a portfolio of primary and secondary sources. I recommend this book to all officers attending professional military institutions for the insights it offers to the Civil War period at sea and Lincoln as commander-in-chief."--Military Review


"Symonds is tilling some important new ground in this pioneering study.... [It is] revelatory in its scope, vivid in its characterizations of the key figures, and thought-provoking in the way a fresh story emerges from an oft-covered subject.... a strong and original contribution."--Naval History




"Lincoln and His Admirals is that rare thing, an important Lincoln book of genuine originality."--Michael F. Bishop, Washington Post Book World


"Splendid...By the end of the Civil War, Mr. Symonds shows us the Navy, both on the oceans and on the Western rivers, had played a major role in bringing about a Union victory, thanks in no small part to Lincoln's persistent naval leadership."--The Wall Street Journal


"Outstanding...[T]he wide-ranging naval war was fought on vast oceans and inland rivers, and Mr. Symonds restores Lincoln's passion for the Navy to its proper place."--James L. Swanson, Washington Times


"Scores of books have detailed Lincoln's struggles with reluctant generals during the Civil War, but few have examined his relationship with naval leaders. Craig Symonds, professor emeritus of history at the Naval Academy, sets out to change that in 'Lincoln and his Admirals'...Symonds delivers a fast-paced, crisply written account of the naval war and Lincoln's patient handling of Welles, Fox and the men who served them, including such famous admirals as David Glasgow Farragut, David Dixon Porter and John Dahlgren."--Seattle Times


"We know a great deal about President Lincoln's relations with his generals but much less about his dealings with his admirals and his Navy Department. Craig L. Symonds, a professor emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy, has filled this gap with a compelling tale about Lincoln's dealings with the Navy and the prickly men who ran it...Mr Symonds has provided more than a splendid study of the Civil War at sea; he offers fresh insights into Lincoln as commander in chief."--John M. Taylor, Washington Times


"Craig Symonds took the challenge, and the retired Naval Academy professor has produced a study as fascinating as it is revealing...Symonds has the rare ability to bring history alive through individuals who made it...Symonds has given us one of the year's best additions to Civil War history, whether or not you are a landlubber."--Roanoke Times


"Readers already familiar with Lincoln's experiences with the army will find much to commend in Symonds' eye-opening Lincoln and His Admirals, as McPherson attests in a dust-jacket comment on the book. The book, he says, finally gives the Union navy and its commander in chief the credit they deserve for their important role in winning the Civil War."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch


"Symonds, a prize-winning historian who taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, brings us yet another new way of looking at Lincoln - as a commander in chief who, by his own admission, knew 'little about ships.' Lincoln's relationship with his generals is one of the better-known side stories of the Civil War. Symonds reminds us that Lincoln had to keep his eye on the seas, rivers and admirals as well."--Newark Star Ledger


"Solidly researched, well argued, and engagingly written. What really makes the book stand out, however, is the insight that Symonds provides into the minds and actions of the key players."--Civil War Book Review


"The definitive work on the 16th president's leadership of the navy."--Publishers Weekly


"The Civil War forced the 16th president to know a lot more, and Symonds expertly demonstrates how he learned about ships, strategy, new technologies and, above all, about dealing with the fractious personalities to whom he delegated naval operations...For scholars and the general reader alike, an insightful and highly readable treatment of a neglected dimension of Lincoln's wartime leadership."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"Superbly researched...Symonds has written an excellent work that describes both Lincoln's growing confidence and competence as a naval strategist as well as his relations with various naval commanders...This will be a fine addition to Civil War collections."--Booklist


"Lincoln's role as commander-in-chief during the Civil War is most often assessed through his dealings with his Union generals; thus, Symonds's expert and accessible work on the naval side is a real boon. He gives us a meticulous and graceful interpretive narrative, rich with primary-source anecdote, of Lincoln's relationship with the U.S. Navy and his evolution as a naval strategist...Essential for all Lincoln collections."--Library Journal


"We utter the names of Lincoln's admirals, such as Farragut and Porter, far less often than the names of his Generals, good or bad. And Craig L. Symonds' Lincoln and His Admirals is one of the relatively few books on the role of the maritime, studies focusing on Lincoln and his admirals being rarer still."--Baton Rouge Advocate


"'Lincoln and His Admirals' is an important book. It is easily the most comprehensive study to date on the development of Union naval strategy during the Civil War. Meticulously researched from primary sources, it concentrates on President Abraham Lincoln's role in the naval war...Much has been written on the relationship of Lincoln and his generals; now we have the same for Lincoln and his admirals. Anyone wishing to understand the naval Civil War and its relation to the fighting on land will want to read this book."--Journal of Military History


"We know a great deal about Lincoln and his generals, but until now very little about Lincoln and his admirals. With a compelling portrait of personalities and a sharp analysis of strategy, Craig Symonds offers a gripping narrative that finally gives the Union navy--and its commander-in- chief--the credit they deserve for the important part they played in winning the Civil War."--James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom


"Symonds is one of the finest American military historians in this generation."--Gabor Boritt, Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director, Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College


"This is an epic story--the quintessential, mal-de-mer-prone landlubber morphing into the admiral-in-chief of the mightiest armada on the planet. Spinning the yarn with resourceful scholarship and narrative verve, peerless naval historian Craig Symonds succeeds in creating an entirely new portrait of Lincoln: not only as healer of the land, but conqueror of the sea."--Harold Holzer, Co-Chairman, U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission


"Craig L. Symonds has filled a gap by giving us a superb account of Abraham Lincoln's relationship with the navy and the people who ran it. Beautifully written, the narrative is also lively and informative. He eloquently describes how Lincoln's judicious temperament complemented his irascible 'Neptune, ' Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles along with the calumny, envy, personal conflicts, and thirst for promotion that permeated the deep sea and riverine forces. This is the most complete and edifying story of Mr. Lincoln and his 'webbed-feet.'"--Frank Williams, Chief Justice, Rhode Island State Supreme Court and Lincoln Scholar


"Lincoln and His Admirals is simply superb and Craig Symonds' analysis of US Navy leadership during the Civil War is magnificent! The Lincoln-esque gems placed throughout the book made reading it a delight. The chapters on the Fort Sumter crisis and the Trent affair are incisive and the best discussions of these dramas I have ever read. Symonds brought back to life our Civil War admirals and Navy Secretary Gideon Welles and shared their triumphs and their setbacks as they richly deserved."--David Sutherland, President, Indianapolis Civil War Round Table (2001-02 and 2007-08)


"Symonds's book is a necessary addition to the Civil War scholar's bookshelf. Casual readers will enjoy it for its wonderful prose and anecdotal style."--Centre Daily Times


"Symonds is a talented author who keeps the reader engrossed from the first page. I particularly appreciated his ability to show Lincoln's strong interest in technology, ranging from ironclads to new weapons. The book is superbly researched with a portfolio of primary and secondary sources. I recommend this book to all officers attending professional military institutions for the insights it offers to the Civil War period at sea and Lincoln as commander-in-chief."--Military Review


"Symonds is tilling some important new ground in this pioneering study....[It is] revelatory in its scope, vivid in its characterizations of the key figures, and thought-provoking in the way a fresh story emerges from an oft-covered subject....[A] strong and original contribution."--Naval History


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; INTRODUCTION; 1861: GETTING UNDER WAY; 1. "WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG?" LINCOLN AND THE FORT SUMTER CRISIS; 2. "A COMPETENT FORCE" LINCOLN AND THE BLOCKADE; 3. "NO AFFRONT TO THE BRITISH FLAG" LINCOLN AND THE TRENT AFFAIR; 1862: CHARTING A COURSE; 4. "I WONT LEAVE OFF UNTIL IT FAIRLY RAINS BOMBS" LINCOLN AND THE RIVER WAR; 5. "IT STRIKES ME THERE'S SOMETHING IN IT" LINCOLN AND THE MONITOR; 6. "WE CANNOT ESCAPE HISTORY" LINCOLN AND THE CONTRABAND; 1863: TROUBLED WATERS; 7. "THE PENINSULA ALL OVER AGAIN" LINCOLN, CHARLESTON, AND VICKSBURG; 8. "I SHALL HAVE TO CUT THIS KNOT" LINCOLN AS ADJUDICATOR; 9. "PEACE DOES NOT APPEAR SO DISTANT AS IT DID" LINCOLN AND WARTIME POLITICS; 1864: FULL SPEED AHEAD; 10. "IT BECOMES IMMENSELY IMPORTANT TO US TO GET THE COTTON" LINCOLN AND THE RED RIVER CAMPAIGN; 11. "A VOTE OF THANKS" LINCOLN AND THE POLITICS OF PROMOTION; 12. "I MUST REFER YOU TO GENERAL GRANT" LINCOLN AND THE FORT FISHER EXPEDITION; 1865: FINAL HARBOR; EPILOGUE: "THANK GOD I HAVE LIVED TO SEE THIS"; ABBREVIATIONS USED IN NOTES; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX

ISBN: 9780199751570
ISBN-10: 0199751579
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 448
Published: 15th October 2010
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.62