Books: Booty & the Beast

LINCOLN'S SCAPEGOAT GENERAL by Richard S. West Jr. 462 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $7.50.

He looked like Ben Turpin in uniform: a massive head, topping out at 5 ft. 4 in., rimmed with wild auburn hair and set with droop-lidded eyes that flashed balefully in opposite directions. He was called "the Beast," and "Old Cockeye"—though rarely to his face. For Benjamin Franklin Butler was one of the Civil War's toughest and most hated Northern generals.

Author West, professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and a Southerner himself, was not attracted to...

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