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George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon download epub

by Stephen W. Sears

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To ‘the young Napoleon,’ as McClellan’s troops dubbed him, abolition was an ‘accursed doctrine. Fond of conspiracy plots, he insisted that the Lincoln administration had traitorously conspired to set him up for military defeat.

To ‘the young Napoleon,’ as McClellan’s troops dubbed him, abolition was an ‘accursed doctrine. Although he constantly anticipated one big, decisive battle that would crush the South, he squandered one military opportunity after another, and, if Sears is correct, he was the worst strategist the Army of the Potomac ever had. Based on primary sources, letters, dispatch books, diaries, newspapers, this masterly biography is an astonishing portrait of an egotistical.

By age 35, General George B. McClellan (1826–1885), designated the Young Napoleon, was the commander of all the Northern armies. He forged the Army of the Potomac into a formidable battlefield foe. McClellan (1826–1885), designated the "Young Napoleon," was the commander of all the Northern armies

By age 35, General George B. McClellan (1826–1885), designated the "Young Napoleon," was the commander of all the Northern armies. He forged the Army of the Potomac into a formidable battlefield foe, and fought the longest and largest campaign of the time as well as the single bloodiest battle in the nation's history. Yet, he also wasted two supreme opportunities to bring the Civil War to a decisive conclusion. In 1864 he challenged Abraham Lincoln as the Democratic candidate for the presidency.

George B. McClellan book. and yet the "Young Napoleon" has been relegated to the shadows by historians of that great conflict. McClellan: The Young Napoleon, Ticknor & Fields, NY, 1988. To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign, Ticknor & Fields, New York, New York, 1992. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Sears, Stephen . Gettysburg, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston-New York, 2004, rear cover. McClellan (1826-1885), designated the Young Napoleon, was the commander of all the Northern armies. Stephen W. Sears proves once again that he is a master of Civil War histories. A must ead for students of America's greatest conflect. No one Knows McClellan Bettter than Sears. Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 14 years ago. Perhaps no one was a better organizer of an Army during both sides of the Civil War than George McCellan.

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Home Sears, Stephen W. George McClellan, The Young Napoleon. We carry important rare and out-of-print books in many fields in the Humanities, mostly out-of-print hardcovers with 75% of our stock dated before 1960. Visit Seller's Storefront. Sears, Stephen W. Published by Ticknor & Fields C. New York, 1988. Condition: Fine Hardcover. From Bibliodisia Books (Chicago, IL, .

Stephen W. Sears is the author of The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan, Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam, To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign, and Chancellorsville. He lives in Connecticut. Country of Publication. Biography: Historical, Political & Military.

Biography of the Civil War general for the Union who presided at Antietam, ran for president against Lincoln, and was called, by some, Young McNapoleon

Comments: (7)

Sears does it again in this excellent biography of the "Young Napoleon." McClellan comes off as a brilliant but troublesome and arrogant man, with a sense of himself as a man of destiny ("Once again, I have been called upon to save the country," he wrote to his adoring wife.) Sears does give McClellan credit where it's due when he cites McClellan's organizational genius for building the Army of the Potomac from the ground up into the best fighting force in the world. But Sears is also unsparing in his critique of McClellan's deficiencies as a combat general: his timidity, his willingness to believe "intelligence" reports that the Army of N. Virginia ALWAYS outnumbered him greatly, when in fact McClellan always enjoyed superior numbers, McClellan's disrespect towards Lincoln, bordering on insubordination, McClellan's Messiah complex, etc. Generally even-handed biography of McClellan, warts and all.
Great book on a sorry Union commander. He could never get over his problems with pride, blaming others for his defeats and failures and had a fear of putting others in harms way. Not a good recipe for a commanding general. He should have never been elevated to this position but Lincoln's options were few at the beginning of the conflict.
I've been facinated with McClellan for several years now and Stephen Sears's book is without question the best ever written about the Young Napoleon. He follows Mac's life as a child prodigy at West Point, through his Civil War years and beyond.
George McClellan to me is perhaps one of the most fascinating man of the Civil War. He commanded the AOP for only 18 months but his shadow hung over it for the entire war. Very Charismatic and a brilliant administrator but also a man who suffered from bouts of paranoia and indecisiveness to the point that he would become incapable of taking any action with his army. Twice being put in charge of the Army of the Potomac he was the Civil War version of a deer in the headlights being frozen into an inability to take any action.
One thing I like about this book is it's fair. It's critical of McClellan when it needs to be such as his time on the Peninsula but also shows how brilliant he was in his whipping the Army of the Potomac into a proper fighting force. Sears makes special point for example to talk about how successful McClellan is after the war as Governor of New Jersey and as a railroad executive. At the same time Sears looks at the darker parts of McClellan, especially his paranoia which at times would lead him to see enemies at every corner and a Confederate army many times it's actual size.
Lastly with Stephen Sears you get a very well written book. No dry writing here. Sears is a talented writer whose books read like a good novel.
When I read military history I make a serious effort not to pass judgment on the commanders or soldiers for perceived mistakes or poor judgment (Barring the committing of atrocities). I have never been in combat, much less led men in combat, and I think it is unfair to sit in the safety of my home 150 years after the fact and condemn someone as a fool or a coward. Generally there is a lot going on beyond the popular narrative that has emerged over the years that can explain away, or at the very least mitigate the decisions these soldiers and officers made that have been scrutinized and condemned as the years pass. And so, after reading both Shelby Foote's Narrative of the Civil War and Stephen Sears' (The author of this book) books on Antietam, The Peninsular Campaign and Chancellorsville, I was determined to give McClellan a fair shake.

Despite his youth and owing to his charisma, successes in a minor campaign in Western Virginia at the very beginning of the war, and reputation in the pre-war Army as a man of ability and intellect (He had written a cavalry manual, invented a saddle that had been adopted by the cavalary, and been selected as an observer in the Crimean War), McClellan was granted control of the Army of the Potomac, which was badly demoralized following a major loss at First Bull Run.

Even General McClellan's detractors credit him with turning a green and freshly whipped army into an impressive and proud professional army in these early days of the war. Sears is no different and gives credit where credit is due, painting McClellan in these days as an inspiring and gifted organizer and motivator. McClellan was the toast of the Union, and seemed poised to enter the pantheon of triumphant American heroes (At least in the view of the North).

But as we all know, it was not to be. McClellan dragged his feet despite repeated urgings forward by superiors, the press and his colleagues. Suggestions, and later orders, by no less than the President of the United States were second-guessed, ignored or mocked. When McClellan finally did move the army forward, "to the gates of Richmond" he hesitated at the critical moment, and shrunk away from the challenge in front of him, largely in part because of his mistaken belief that the Confederate Army in front of him was three times the size it really was. A second chance at glory on the battlefield of Antietam presented itself months later, and despite winning a great victory, a lack of boldness and the general mismanagement of several components of the campaign, as well as the ever-present greatly miscalculated size of the army opposing prevented McClellan from landing the knockout blow against the CSA many were expecting. It was his last military command, and the glory would go to Grant, Sherman and Lincoln, while McClellan was forgotten in the grand scheme American history, and vilified by those who cared to study deeper.

What could explain this? In all my Civil War readings the facts are clear enough, but the reason was always a mystery. Was McClellan a coward? A fool? Was he, as some have suggested, attempting to preserve the Confederacy to force a peace and discredit Lincoln and his administration?

Sears' book does a great job of letting us get to know McClellan the person. Using McClellan's private correspondence, which was prolific, we get a wonderful sense of who he was. Unfortunately, the man that emerges is a braggart, overly sensitive to criticism, petty, and prone to delusions of grandeur. He insults and slanders all those whom he is subordinate too, attributing their short-sightedness, incompetence and selfishness as the cause for all his setbacks and mistakes both in his private and public careers. He is unable to admit any faults or mistakes and even in his best moments he sees himself as the one man smart enough and brave enough to lead the nation through it's darkest hour. It is not all negative, as McClellan comes across as extremely intelligent, a doting father and husband, and truly concerned for the lives of all the men under his command.

Sears' book also does a stellar job at allowing us to understand the political climate of the time through newspaper articles, columns and political correspondence. Central to understanding McClellan as a general and as a man is understanding the conflict between Northern Democrats (McClellan was a staunch Democrat and anti-abolitionist) and Republicans (Lincoln's party). It is an important dimension of the Northern war effort that is all too often overlooked. I found this aspect of the book the most illuminating in understanding why McClellan behaved the way he did: He was paranoid that Lincoln and his administration were setting him up for failure to discredit him as a future political opponent by withholding proper reinforcements and logistical support and forcing him into battle before he was fully equipped.

This book will not vindicate McClellan, but it does give him a fair shake. For all the pomposity and mistakes, Sears firmly dispels the notion that McClellan was attempting negotiate a peace with the CSA. McClellan was a patriot through and through. Furthermore, McClellan suffered from malaria he contracted in the Mexican-American war and was probably dealing with the illness during his campaigns. The much-referenced "Quaker Guns"-logs painted to look like artillery the CSA used to prevent a Union advance on the thinly held Bull Run battlefield-that have been cited as a major embarrassment for McClellan were not as important as it seems. The Union war plan had long-since ceased to include an advance in that direction. Furthermore, McClellan is shown to be a brilliant administrator and motivator, able to get the massive Army of the Potomac organized and in fighting shape and winning the love of his men even after their defeats on the battlefield.

I found this book to be among the most important I have read on the Civil War, and I think it is essential reading for a deeper understanding of the Eastern Theater. I would also say I believe this book is important to read even if you have no interest in the Civil War. I think many of the lessons of McClellan's career in the Army of the Potomac are universal. Despite all the talent and momentum that McClellan had he always believed he was the smartest man in the room and refused to take accountability for anything. This lack of perspective and critical thinking led to his inability to accept honest advice and counsel, an inability to learn from his mistakes, his refusal to delegate appropriately, and eventually his growing paranoia that lesser minds were working to discredit him. Were I a CEO I would make this book mandatory reading within my company.

The only thing keeping me from giving this book a full 5 stars is that Sears does not go into detail when it comes to the actual fighting and battles of McClellan's campaign. I know that is unfair, as Sears has written remarkable books that go very much in detail about the Peninsular and Maryland campaigns, and that the point of this book was to focus on McClellan the man and general. However, I think if the battles were more fleshed out and we were made to understand how truly awful the combat was and how badly casualties and survivors of the Army of the Potomac were suffering and enduring it would have given the book a greater weight. As is stands, this book succeeds brilliantly as a supplement to Sears' other works, as well as other books on the Eastern Theater.
George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon download epub
Leaders & Notable People
Author: Stephen W. Sears
ISBN: 0899192645
Category: Biographies & Memoris
Subcategory: Leaders & Notable People
Language: English
Publisher: Ticknor & Fields (August 1, 1988)
Pages: 482 pages