General John Pope

General John Pope : A Life for the Nation

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Ambitious and outspoken, John Pope was one of the most controversial figures to hold high command during the Civil War, Reconstruction, and in the American West. "General John Pope: A Life for the Nation" is the first full biography of this much maligned figure, who played crucial roles in both the Eastern and the Western Theaters of the Civil War. Renowned Civil War scholar Peter Cozzens has mined Pope's own memoirs and a wealth of other primary sources to provide a complete picture of this gifted strategist. Uncovering new information about Pope's pre- and postwar career and his path to power, Cozzens delineates the political environment that surrounded Pope and provided the context for his actions. Cozzens examines Pope's early career first as commander of the Army of the Mississippi and then as leader of a hastily formed Army of Virginia against Robert E. Lee. After his famous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Pope was sent to the frontier. There, he held important commands on the western plains over the next twenty-four years, all the while struggling to clear his reputation of the events at Second Bull Run. A principal architect of the Red River War, which broke the resistance of the Southern Plains Indians, Pope espoused humanitarian treatment of subjugated tribes and was recognized as one of the army's leading authorities on Indian affairs. In place of the simplistic caricature that has satisfied most historians, Cozzens has crafted an accurate, humane, balanced portrait of a complex man involved with the most complex issues of his day. A monumental work on a long-neglected figure, "General John Pope" offers a fresh look at a key nineteenth-century military leader as well as the most detailed analysis available of Federal leadership during the Second Bull Run campaign.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 440 pages
  • 161.3 x 241.6 x 32.3mm | 905.72g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252023633
  • 9780252023637

Review quote

"Most students of American history remember John Pope only as one of several mismatched Union commanders decisively defeated by Robert E. Lee, and so he was at Second Bull Run in 1862. But Cozzens shows in this finely balanced biography that there was more to Pope's life. He reintroduces readers to a talented man with big strengths and big weaknesses whose ambition and overbearing personality were his worst enemies." -- Choice "Best and most complete Pope biography to date... Although the present volume provides a balanced coverage of Pope's entire life, of most interest is the analysis of his role at Second Manassas... An especially valuable addition to every Civil War enthusiast's bookshelf." -- Robert Wooster, Journal of Southern History "One of the great military men of American history is sensitively but candidly portrayed here, from his famous defeat at the Battle of Bull Run to his subsequent successful campaigns in the West and his advocacy for the humane treatment of Indians." -- Forecast "Cozzens, a talented and prolific writer, has finally provided a balanced view of Pope's life and long military career... Scrupulously researched ... this book is an important addition to the body of Civil War literature." -- Eric Wittenberg, Civil War News "A distinguished entree into the crowded library of Civil War literature." -- Stephen E. Towne, Indiana Magazine of History "A finely nuanced portrait of a controversial officer. Using abundant primary sources, Cozzens submits the first dispassionate account of Pope's accomplished career and challenges traditional assumptions concerning his capacity for leadership." -- Ray Brown, Civil War History "Cozzens examined an impressive body of evidence in writing what is easily the best and most detailed biography of Pope. Moving well beyond common caricatures of Pope as a vainglorious failure, Cozzens deals effectively with the intensely political context within which his subject, a rare Republican among top Northern military leaders, operated in Virginia... With this biography, Cozzens has closed one of the few gaps in the military historiography of the Civil War." -- Virginia Quarterly Review "In this exhautively researched and well-written volume, [Cozzens] examines the career of one of the most enigmatic figures of that era." -- Lowell H. Harrison, Journal of Illinois History "Thorough, well-balanced, and exhaustively researched... The full story as Cozzens presents it gives depth, texture, and context to a man mainly remembered today for one lost battle." -- Stephen Currie, American History ADVANCE PRAISE "No major army commander of the Union has been as much misunderstood and unknown as General John Pope. For over a century his career has lived in the realm of cliches and apocryphal jokes. Peter Cozzens discovers a full man, with great strengths and great weaknesses, in one of the most important and needed military biographies in a generation. This is certainly Cozzens's finest book yet." -- William C. Davisshow more

Rating details

14 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 36% (5)
4 43% (6)
3 21% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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