General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army (Hardback)
  • General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army (Hardback)
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General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army (Hardback)

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£43.50
Hardback 464 Pages / Published: 15/05/2015
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George C. Marshall once called him "the brains of the army." And yet General Lesley J. McNair (1883-1944), a man so instrumental to America's military preparedness and Army modernization, remains little known today, his papers purportedly lost, destroyed by his wife in her grief at his death in Normandy. This book, the product of an abiding interest and painstaking research, restores the general Army Magazine calls one of "Marshall's forgotten men" to his rightful place in American military history. Because McNair contributed so substantially to America's war preparedness, this first complete account of his extensive and varied career also leads to a reevaluation of U.S. Army effectiveness during WWII.

Born halfway between the Civil War and the dawn of the 20th century, Lesley McNair-"Whitey" by his classmates for his blond hair-graduated 11th of 124 in West Point's class of 1904 and rose slowly through the ranks like all officers in the early twentieth century. He was 31 when World War I erupted, 34 and a junior officer when American troops prepared to join the fight. It was during this time, and in the interwar period that followed the end of the First World War, that McNair's considerable influence on Army doctrine and training, equipment development, unit organization, and combined arms fighting methods developed. By looking at the whole of McNair's career-not just his service in WWII as chief of staff, General Headquarters, 1940-1942, and then as commander, Army Ground Forces, 1942-1944-Calhoun reassesses the evolution and extent of that influence during the war, as well as McNair's, and the Army's, wartime performance. This in-depth study tracks the significantly positive impact of McNair's efforts in several critical areas: advanced officer education; modernization, military innovation, and technological development; the field-testing of doctrine; streamlining and pooling of assets for necessary efficiency; arduous and realistic combat training; combined arms tactics; and an increasingly mechanized and mobile force.

Because McNair served primarily in staff roles throughout his career and did not command combat formations during WWII, his contribution has never received the attention given to more public-and publicized-military exploits. In its detail and scope, this first full military biography reveals the unique and valuable perspective McNair's generalship offers for the serious student of military history and leadership.

Publisher: University Press of Kansas
ISBN: 9780700620692
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 771 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"An important read for anyone interested in the U.S. Army in the twentieth century."--NYMAS Review

"A fascinating and genuinely meticulously researched study of one of the Second World War's most senior Allied commanders."--Second World War Military Operations Research Group

"A thoroughly researched, critically analytical account of the impact General Lesley J. MacNair had on the Army, particularly from World War I to his death in July 1944."--Journal of Military History

"An important addition not only to the existing literature on the US Army but also that of World War II."--Washington Book Review

"Calhoun provides a detailed study of McNair--justifying his inclusion as one of the key leaders of World War II--and points out that many historians may have been unfairly critical of him. . . . Through diligent research, the author managed to uncover a large collection of papers that provide compelling evidence of McNair's achievements and enhance the historical understanding of both the man and his contributions."--Military Review

"Among military historians, McNair is known and his role is fairly well understood, but Calhoun provides a depth and breadth that was previously unavailable."--U.S. Military History Review

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