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George B. McClellan : the young Napoleon / Stephen W. Sears.

By: Sears, Stephen W.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Da Capo Press, 1999Edition: 1st Da Capo Press ed.Description: xii, 482 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.ISBN: 0306809133 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780306809132 (pbk. : alk. paper).Subject(s): McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885 | Generals -- United States -- Biography | United States. Army -- Biography | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- CampaignsAdditional physical formats: Online version:: George B. McClellan.; Online version:: George B. McClellan.DDC classification: 973.7/41/092 | B
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E467.1.M2 S43 1999 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001440676
Browsing University of Texas At Tyler Shelves , Shelving location: Stacks - 3rd Floor Close shelf browser
E467.1 .L55 M46 2008 Confederate struggle for command : E467.1.L55 P57 1987 Lee's tarnished lieutenant : E467.1 .M2 A4 1989 The Civil War papers of George B. McClellan : E467.1.M2 S43 1999 George B. McClellan : E467.1 .M36 S48 2009 John Bankhead Magruder : E467.1 .M3744 M36 2001 A soldier's general : E467.1.M38 C45 1991 Meade of Gettysburg /

Originally published: New York : Ticknor & Fields, 1988.

Includes bibliographical references (p. [458]-468) and index.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Sears finds serious faults with McClellan's generalship in each of the Civil War campaigns, especially in 1862 in Virginia and at Antietam, Maryland, perhaps the turning point battle of the war. He concludes that the general's personality problems, poor leadership, and failure to realistically evaluate Confederate forces should have precluded him from holding the Union's top commands. Sears's views sharply contrast with Warren Hassler's more favorable evaluations in General George B. McClellan: Shield of the Union (1957; Greenwood, 1974. reprint). Engagingly written and thoroughly researched, Sears's persuasive critique is the best and most complete biography of this controversial general. Joseph G. Dawson III, Texas A&M Univ., College Station (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Sears's biography devotes all but 100 pages to the Civil War. Like most recent scholars, he contends that on the battlefield McClellan suffered "a near paralysis of will." By 1861, McClellan was graduated from West Point, served with the corps of engineers, tasted combat in Mexico, observed European armies in the Crimean War, and had a short but successful career as a civilian railroad executive. When the Civil War began, McClellan made a name for himself by saving western Virginia for the Union, thereby gaining command of all the Union armies. As commanding general, McClellan never conceived a coherent strategy to defeat the Confederacy; instead of fighting, McClellan preferred to posture with his army, threatening to crush secession and restore the Union with slavery intact. Sears argues that McClellan's fatal shortcoming was his "messianic complex," which made it impossible for him to share authority. Although most McClellan detractors would credit him with administrative and logistical talent, Sears's biography presents a general flawed in planning and logistics. His criticism of the "Young Napolean" might have been tempered had he consulted Rowena Reed's Combined Operations in the Civil War (CH, May '79), the best recent defense of McClellan's strategy. Public and undergraduate libraries. -E. K. Eckert, St. Bonaventure University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

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.

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