In this final book in a quartet focusing on our 16th president in the Civil War—following Mr. Lincoln Goes to War; Lincolns' Darkest Year: The War in 1862; and The Great Task Remaining: The Third Year of Lincoln's War—William Marvel takes us from the Virginia and Atlanta campaigns in May 1864 and closes with the final surrender of Confederate forces in June 1865. In the end, it seems that Lincoln's early critics, who played such a pivotal role at the start of the series, are proven correct: victory did require massive bloodshed and complete conquest of the South. It also required decades of occupation to cement the achievements of 1865, and the failure of Lincoln's political heirs to carry through with that occupation squandered the most commendable of those achievements, ultimately making it a tarnished victory.
"Finely written, minutely researched.... Marvel culls evidence from a wide variety of sources, from the lowliest private's letters to his sweetheart to Gen. Grant's communiqués with Lincoln. It is this breadth of perspectives, both personal and contextual, that differentiates this chronicle from the many dry recitations of battles and their attendant losses that characterize a particular genre of Civil War history."—Kirkus Reviews