One of the more fascinating arguments put forth by Bradley and Dahlen is the questioning of whether conducting a conciliatory policy was even possible considering the composition of Civil War armies -- masses of undisciplined, democratically minded soldiers and lower ranked officers unable or unwilling to restrain them; all the while being bombarded with an often vicious language of revenge by the media, politicians, and citizens back home. It's interesting stuff.
On another note, Ethan Rafuse wrote a nice review recently for Civil War News. The following paragraph near the bottom caught my attention
Moreover, more attention could have been devoted to Buell's experience implementing a conciliatory policy in Nashville. It was so successful that an agent from the War Department virtually begged Washington, without success, to drop its plan to send Andrew Johnson to Tennessee as military governor on the grounds that it would ruin the success Buell was having with the local population.
It strikes me that static garrisons controlling cities and towns behind the lines were in a much better position to implement a conciliatory policy than roving armies on campaign. I would like to read more about Rafuse's contention. If he visits here, perhaps he will drop by with some recommended reading.
Anyway, read this book and listen to the radio interview on the 18th. I can't imagine an open minded person being disappointed.