Lincoln and McClellan: The Troubled Partnership between a President and His General
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Author: John C. Waugh
This is an interesting book about the relationship of two major and enigmatic characters of the Civil War. Lincoln, often criticized and mocked when he came to office, but who grew into greatness and George McClellan, initially perceived to be great but now seen as an arrogant failure and procrastinator whose failure to act (according to many) extended the civil war.
Author Waugh does not demonize McClellan. Indeed, he gives him high credit for being a brilliant engineer and organizer who whipped the Army of the Potomac into shape in 1861. In boxing parlance though, McClellan sculpted a fine fighting animal which rarely fought or was inclined to throw the first punch (any punch?). McClellan had many supporters in the military and Washington. Helmuth Von Moltke, Chief of Staff of the Prussian army stated that firing McClellan was a mistake.
Ultimately though, Lincoln did not have a choice. McClellan’s level of insubordination was extraordinary and extraordinary that he was allowed get away with it for so long. Some historians suggest that Lincoln’s ability to accept McClellan’s behavior was a sign of great leadership and ability to work with a team of rivals. I personally don’t buy that and believe that Lincoln showed weak leadership at that stage of his presidency. General Stanley McChrystal was sacked for but one tenth of what McClellan went on with.
Waugh is a good writer. This is not a long book, but it is interesting and enjoyable.
Book review written by Conor Cunneen who is a Chicago based keynote speaker, Emcee / Master of Ceremonies, motivational humorist and business humorist. Here are two clips from an inspirational business speaker to Associations, Healthcare and Corporate.
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