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General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army

Mark T. Calhoun

8 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0700620699 / ISBN 13: 9780700620692
Published by University Press of Kansas
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect ...

Publisher: University Press of Kansas

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


George C. Marshall once called him othe brains of the army.o And yet General Lesley J. McNair (1883-1944), a man so instrumental to AmericaAEs 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 oMarshallAEs forgotten meno to his rightful place in American military history. Because McNair contributed so substantially to AmericaAEs 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 McNairuoWhiteyo by his classmates for his blond hairugraduated 11th of 124 in West PointAEs 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 McNairAEs considerable influence on Army doctrine and training, equipment development, unit organization, and combined arms fighting methods developed. By looking at the whole of McNairAEs careerunot just his service in WWII as chief of staff, General Headquarters, 1940-1942, and then as commander, Army Ground Forces, 1942-1944uCalhoun reassesses the evolution and extent of that influence during the war, as well as McNairAEs, and the ArmyAEs, wartime performance. This in-depth study tracks the significantly positive impact of McNairAEs 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; com


"Provides a wealth of new information about a largely marginalized, when not maligned, figure in the historical accounts of World War II. The book is an excellent reference on American preparations for World War II and U.S. Army professional military education. Calhoun's well-written book provides the best look to date at McNair and illustrates the value of organizational leadership in an institution that often places a premium on direct leadership at the expense of those who lead the systems and processes that create institutional-level success."--Army History

"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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