George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon

Stephen W. Sears, Author
Stephen W. Sears, Author Stan Clark Military Books $24.45 (482p) ISBN 978-0-89919-264-2
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Controversial commander of the Northern army in the Civil War, Gen. George McClellan saw himself as God's chosen instrument for saving the Union. Self-aggrandizing, with a streak of arrogant stubbornness, he set himself above President Lincoln, whom he privately called ``the Gorilla.'' 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. Although he constantly anticipated one big, decisive battle that would crush the South, he squandered one military opportunity after another, and, if Sears ( Landscape Turned Red ) is correct, he was the worst strategist the Army of the Potomac ever had. Based on primary sourcesletters, dispatch books, diaries, newspapersthis masterly biography is an astonishing portrait of an egotistical crank who could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sears is editor of McClellan's Selected Letters. (August)
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