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Tom reviews Moten’s ‘Presidents and Their Generals’ in new Jrnl of Mil Hist

Tom Ricks reviews Matthew Moten's Presidents and Their Generals.

Thousands Of Civil War Veterans Buried In Brooklyn's Green Wood Cemetery
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: A headstone to a man who served in the American Civil War is viewed at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on the 149th anniversary of the ending of the Civil War on April 9, 2014 in New York City. Green-Wood Cemetery holds over 5,000 veterans of the war, including 75 Confederates and women who served as nurses. While New York was not the sight for any Civil War battles, it was home to numerous arms manufacturers, Confederate prisons, tens of thousands of volunteers and was a major center for the financing to the Union Army. The Civil War ran from 1861 to 1865. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

I liked it. My review begins:

“In Presidents and Their Generals, Matthew Moten sets out to provide an episodic history of what he calls American ‘political-military relations,’ by which he means the relationship between military leaders and their civilian overseers. He succeeds admirably, jumping from the Revolution through the War of 1812 to the Civil War, the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the 1991 Gulf War, and the Iraq war.

This book is well done: Well considered, well structured, and well written. Moten, a former head of West Point’s history department, is a clear and pleasant writer, with an assured style. He favors making bold statements and then backing them up with persuasive analyses. . . .”

To read the rest, you’ll need to subscribe to the Journal of Military History, or hop on down to a good library, mayhap.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at @tomricks1

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