If you search for this on Amazon, you'll notice that it is unclear as to whether you have looked up volumes one or two, however this link will definitely take you to the new book.
The publisher's description of volume one is worth noting. I have emphasized the points that excite me:
This new survey of the war's first six months of fighting places the command decisions of the army's senior officers in the social, political, military, and economic context of their day. Thought-provoking and original (the book is based entirely on manuscript sources, many of which have never before been examined), Beatie's account and his conclusions about the actions of the Union's high command differ-often significantly-from traditional historical thinking. What emerges is a fresh understanding ... "
Now, let's put some flesh on those bones of "fresh understanding". This is merely a blog, so we cannot go too deep, but here, in full, is Beatie's introduction of George McClellan in the Dramatis Personae section of the new book:
Called from a tiny success to assume command of his country's largest and most important army, a noteworthy position, McClellan moved higher yet. Accummulating widespread support and diverse friends, he built a great base for his growing power; and he would need them for the struggle with his strongest enemy, the general in chief Winfield Scott.
I notice the reference to the base Mac built - it was not just a power base, it was everything in government he would need to create an army. There was nothing like it afterwards. Notice also the reference to Scott which goes against the grain of pop history (which has Scott removed after petty ambition has its way). Scott was McClellan's enemy and worked against him both personally and doctrinally. I will be interested to see if Beatie hits all the points on my list of Scott's double-dealings. Continuing,
McClellan worked with his political friends in the cabinet and other supporters in the government to rid himself of interference by his direct superior. Over his aged and infirm but experienced and successful superior officer he prevailed! But did he? The stakes and the consequences, he would learn to his surprise, involved far more than military rank and assignment.
I am not sure what is referred to here other than that Scott was survived by the political network that had previously sustained him.
The major general's personality would also develop in an unusual way, giving overt primacy to characteristics that would ordinarily have lain well below the surface and out of sight. These features of his personality would suffer a near mortal attack from an unseen, and for McClellan absolutely unexpected foe. At the same time a trusted friend would mount an unplanned coup to seize his position.
I think, based on my own research, I understand what is referred to here but will forego offering a spoiler.
Ignorant of all military doctrine and without knowledge born of experience, the president would transform his management style, a change that would have a profound effect on the major general. Surviving the assault on his life and his position, McClellan would attempt a change in character that few men would have found possible.
He rose, or tried to rise, to an impossible situation. We don't understand that situation because we routinely trivialize his problems and psychologize his setbacks.
The changes in both the president and the major general would coincide, but the result? A collision? A smooth partnership? Controversy? McClellan's plan for an offensive against the Confederates would run through all these explosive factors.
I've given my reasons to love Beatie in this public posting. As I said in the first listed point, I would pay 10 times the book's price just for Beatie's notes and sources.
Will pick up a log for the fire tonight; have already squirreled away a large pack of colored stickies to mark and comment on book passages. Let the winter readings begin.