In his civil war book Commanders of the Army of the Potomac Warren Hassler Jr. fantastically recounts the events that transpired between 1861 to 1865 during which seven men were given the reigns of the North\'s Army of the Potomac and asked to lead the Union to victory. However, one of the greatest commanders in history stood in their way; Robert E. Lee, and each was pitted against this great general one by one and given the chance to make history. The first, Irvin McDowell was regarded in this book as a great soldier in his own right but a terrible leader who displayed visible gaps in his preparedness, in his tactics, and in his strategy. He was the first to take control of the northern army. Not much later towards the end of May of 1861 General Lee established a defensive hold along the small stream of Bull Run located in Manassas. During the Battle of Bull Run McDowell was crushed by Confederate generals Joseph E. Johnston and Pierre Beauregard due to weak planning and it became apparent that this in fact would not be a short-lived war. Next up was the most popular and perhaps the greatest of the commanders, George B. McClellan. After the embarrassing defeats at Bull Run he masterfully regrouped and disciplined the AOP as he himself showed outstanding military presence and was constantly increasing his knowledge of offensive tactics. From spring of 1862 till July of that year General McClellan was successful in driving the Confederates out of West Virginia and he was inching toward the southern capitol of Richmond when General Jeb Stuart under Lee encircled and outmaneuvered McClellan\'s forces who were driven back and finally held at Malvern Hill during the Seven Days Battle. During this time period there was some shifting of control and the AOP was put into the arms of General John Pope. This book regards Pope as one of the most pathetic leaders of the Civil War as he screwed up and changed his ways during the second battle at Bull Run and sacrificed his men uselessly. Meanwhile, McClellan blew an opportunity to catch the Confederates off balance after he learned of Lee\'s plans but stalled and hesitated for a day giving the southern reinforcements plenty of time to arrive and group together and the north escaped with a slight victory only after Lee decided it would be wise to withdraw his forces. This victory gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. The next commander to take the helm was Ambrose E. Burnside whose troubles lied in his stubbornness coupled with his poor judgement and lack of ingenuity. He lacked the ability to think at moment\'s notice and get things done immediately when faced with a problem. He suffered a disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia in December of 1862 and after was man enough to admit his faults and acknowledged his removal as commander. Superceding Burnside was Joseph Hooker, who was very passionate but like Burnside did not have the ability to improvise under changing conditions. He was great at grouping armies and preparing battle plans beforehand but on the field he could fall apart. During his battle of Chancellorsville the South took a mighty blow with the death of Stonewall Jackson. He was totally outmatched against the superior skills and techniques of Robert E. Lee. Replacing Hooker was George C. Meade, a brave, sound, and conscientious man who was able to outshine Lee during the battle of Gettysburg in 1863. He was able to work well with top generals as a team and as a result held his post in Gettysburg as Lee drew back his forces to Virginia, signaling the victory of the battle for the North. Unfortunately, many people criticized Meade for not following the Confederates while they were broken. He retained nominal leadership till the end of the war as Ulysses S. Grant took over as commander of the AOP in March of 1864 and was fortunate enough to take control of the army as the tide was turning favorably for the Union. After successful campaigns in 1863, as chief of all federal armies Grant was relentless and often forced inconclusive battles, which were very hazardous to the North\'s