Connelly, Donald B.
Connelly, Donald B.
Writer and educator. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, associate professor of joint and multinational operations. Retired U.S. Army intelligence officer.
Distinguished Writing Award, Army Historical Foundation, 2006.
John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2006.
Donald B. Connelly is a retired United States Army intelligence officer. He now serves as an associate professor of joint and multinational operations for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In 2006, Connelly published his first book, John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship.
"Connelly has masterfully illuminated the life and career of a lesser known but vitally important figure in U.S. civil and military affairs during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Despite winning the Medal of Honor and serving as both Secretary of War and as Commanding General of the Army, Schofield's name often escapes mention in modern military history texts," explained Chris Rein in an essay for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. Rein pointed out that Schofield's "ability to maneuver in the complex political arena of the period makes his biography a relevant and useful read," and he described the text as "a meticulously researched and highly readable narrative." Bruce Tap, also writing for H-Net Reviews and noting the context within which the biography is situated, stated: "The recognition of military professionalism was not widespread in American society during the nineteenth century. In a society that placed little emphasis on professional training, an elite corps of West Point educated officers struggled to claim its rightful place and prestige in American society." The context is important in this historical narrative, for Connelly seeks to illustrate Schofield's foresight and shrewdness during this period, as he represents Schofield's "loyalty to the U.S. Army," advocacy of "military professionalism," and view of "the army as a national institution that had the obligation of rising above state and local matters to act in the best interest of the country," according to Tap.
Connelly demonstrates how these moderate principles placed Schofield in the midst of sometimes controversial political issues, especially during the Reconstruction era, and how his employment of a temperate ideology affected his career and the political climate. Tap explained: "Connelly views Schofield as a moderate reformer who accomplished a number of important reforms," such as providing guidelines for the position of commanding general and requiring regular performance reviews for officers, "before his 1895 retirement." Tap concluded: "As Schofield was temperate and moderate in most of his actions and decisions, so is Connelly's treatment of his subject. Well written and meticulously researched, Donald Connelly has provided a timely study to an oft-neglected figure in Civil War military history as well as an informative source for nineteenth-century civil-military relations." Frederick H. Black, Jr., in an article for the Military Review, felt that "in producing an evenly critical assessment, Connelly succeeds where many biographers often fall short. While his regard for Schofield comes across clearly throughout the work, he candidly assigns blame where Schofield deserves it, especially regarding his subject's racist and elitist attitudes." In other words, Connelly approaches Schofield with an equitable balance of historical analysis and measured respect. Consequently, the result of his calculated investigation is a unique view of Schofield and the way he "used the key offices he held after the war to push for the bureaucratic reforms and heightened professionalization that positioned the postwar military to meet the much greater demands that would be placed on it beginning with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War," according to William L. Barney in his review essay for the Historian. In comparing and contrasting the general's positions and advancements, Connelly pieces together the subtle changes that, over time, led to a more cohesive military relationship with politics in place of its previous isolationist approach; it requires both spheres to organize and implement military action on behalf of the country's interests.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Army, August 1, 2006, John S. Brown, "Warfighting, Professionalism and Politics," p. 74.
Historian, December 22, 2007, William L. Barney, review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship, p. 769.
Journal of American History, March 1, 2007, Joseph G. Dawson III, review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship, p. 1243.
Journal of Southern History, August 1, 2007, Susannah U. Bruce, review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship, p. 708.
Military Review, March 1, 2007, Frederick H. Black, Jr., review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship, p. 122.
Parameters, December 22, 2007, Alan Cate, review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship, p. 135.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (January 1, 2007), Bruce Tap, review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship; (July 31, 2008), Chris Rein, review of John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship.