George B. McClellan

by Stephen W. Sears. Ticknor & Fields, $25.00. McClellan may not have been absolutely the worst of all Federal commanders in the Civil War, but he surely ranks high in that class. With numbers, supplies, and resources heavily in his favor, the Young Napoleon, as the Army of the Potomac (or was it really the press?) inexplicably called him, managed to lose every major engagement he ever fought. Mr. Sears’s well-researched and well-written biography covers both the awkward character traits that led to McClellan’s incompetence and the battlefield actions that he regularly bungled. In addition to its merit as Civil War history, the book is of great interest as the portrait of an intelligent man working at what he failed to realize was the wrong profession.
—Phoebe-Lou Adams