Sherman is not only one of the most important generals in the American Civil War, but also one of the most famous commanders in the military annals of the western world. He has become an almost mythical character in popular memory, the embodiment of grim-visaged, implacable war. Legend has him burning a sixty-mile-wide swath of desolation across the South, and southerners still confidently assert that their ancestors were burned out by Sherman and his vandal hordes. Sherman famously said, "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it," and yet, even at his most destructive, he maintained strict limits on the degree of damage his soldiers could inflict. Sherman's wartime career makes a fascinating study of the degree to which the severity of war can be channeled, directed, and limited - especially as it relates to the current war in Iraq.
STEVEN E. WOODWORTH is a professor of History at Texas Christian University, USA, and an acknowledged expert on the Civil War. He has written a number of well-received books on the topic, including Nothing But Victory. He lives in Fort Worth, TX.