After reading Zachary Taylor's campaign biography I decided to tackle something on Winfield Scott next. Old Fuss and Feathers by Arthur D. Howden Smith was published in 1937 and runs for 376 interesting pages.
The book is well written and moves along well as it covers Scott's life from birth to death. The author presents a very realistic picture of his subject. General Scott's strengths and flaws are mentioned and explained. While his shortcomings are not minimized he still comes across as a great man who almost lives up to his own ambitions and expectations.
Being familiar with Scott's connection with the Civil War and somewhat with his deeds in Mexico I was particularly interested in his early service. I was unaware that he was a lawyer prior to entering the military. His service on the Canadian border during the war of 1812 was well detailed in the book and was the springboard for his later career.
I found Mr. Smith's assessment of Scott as a good regular army general who distrusted volunteers to be interesting. In part this accounted for his clashes with Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor. The clashes also sprang from each man's ambitions and from political differences with Jackson.
Old Fuss and Feathers was an easy and informative read. The one drawback was the lack of documentation and footnotes. Still, Arthur D. Howden Smith deserves and thumb and half up on this interesting book.