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15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century Paperback – May 6, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Reprint edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451223926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451223920
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Weintraub, who has written many World War II histories, here inspects the interrelationship of the U.S. Army's three highest-ranking generals of that war: Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, and Dwight Eisenhower. Ike's story bounces between those of the other two, for he served directly under them before Marshall selected him in mid-1942 to command American forces in Europe. MacArthur, by then already a military celebrity, was commander in the Southwest Pacific; Marshall managed the two from the newly built Pentagon. This geography makes Weintraub's narrative resemble a Venn diagram, existing at the intersections of the three generals' activities during the war. These took various forms, including visits from Marshall; messages about strategy and allocation of resources; and Marshall's disposition of personnel decisions that Ike or MacArthur referred to him. After the war, as the three assumed posts in the developing cold war, each took on an aura of presidential possibility. Culminating with the Korean War's ramifications for the trio, Weintraub's densely detailed chronicle can prime readers for future reading, whether individual biographies or battle histories. Taylor, Gilbert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, and the author of numerous histories and biographies, including Silent Night (available from Plume).

Customer Reviews

Of course, one will not read that in 15 Stars.
Warren C. Matha
George Marshall was Chief Of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1939 onward and was hailed by Winston Churchill as the architect of the Allied victory.
Jerry Saperstein
A good book for folks who have previously read bio's on all of these Generals.
C. Bump

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By David Emery on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read this shortly after "Partners in Command"Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace. "Partners in Command" succeeds where "15 Stars" fails, by -relating- the individuals and their relationships to the actual execution of WWII. My reaction to "15 Stars" was that it's a collection of anecdotes, much of it salacious gossip, without relating the personality quirks/issues so revealed to the execution of the war itself. How much did MacArthur's willingness to manage his persona contribute to his success in WWII?

On the plus side, the post WWII era was handled much better than WWII, where there was much more discussion on the accomplishments and impacts of each individual and their relationships.

Buy "Partners in Command" instead of "15 Stars" unless you're particularly interested in MacArthur or are interested in Post-WWII politics.

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Truthteller on June 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"15 Stars" is an examination of how the careers, personalities, and goals of America's first 5-star Army Generals, George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur, intersected and intertwined at critical moments.

(Previous Generals of the Army were limited, at most, to 4-stars, however, it is generally considered that the highest military rank in the U.S., regardless of the number of stars associated with it, was that of General of the Armies of the U.S. Only two soldiers ever held this title: George Washington and John J. Pershing.)

The 5-star rank was created by Congress in late 1944. Before then a British Field Marshal was considered to outrank a 4-star U.S. General, regardless of his title or how many troops he commmanded. As the Second World War progressed British Field Marshals were being placed in positions of inferiority to U.S. Generals and the British Field Marshals were thus, technically, taking orders from their subordinates. The 5-star rank was intended to remedy this touchy situation.

(There is an apocyphal story that George Marshall objected to the new U.S. 5-star rank being called "Field Marshall" because, as its first recipient, he would then be known as "Field Marshal Marshall".)

The author tracks these three great American icons as they become America's premier soldier leaders during World War II (while often engaging in not always friendly maneouvering against each other): Marshall as America's top career soldier in the U.S.; Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe; and MacArthur as commander in the Pacific.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Tucker on August 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The author is an important historian of WWII. He looks in this volume at the of the first three five star generals. Their dates of rank were seperated by two days. Marshall, first, followed by MacArthur and then, Eisenhower. Their elevation put them on an equal footing witht the Field Marshals of other countries they commanded. I found the study balanced and interesting although I wouldn't consider it as profound as some of the author's other works. Some reviewers have remarked on the unfavorable comments about MacArthur. They are, as far as my own reading is concerned, as well as several lengthy discussions while an undergraduate with a member of the Army's historians assigned to the Southwest Pacific during WWII, accurate. This individual was a professional historian with his Phd prior to the outbreak of the war.

Each of these men in their own way played an important role in the execution of the war plan and organization. Despite his shortcomings, MacArthur was a force and managed a theatre with limited resources. Some students of war call him one of our best fighting generals. It's hard to weigh that evaluation against history, but it's important to measure his accomplishments rather than focus on his personality.

This book is recommended for anyone's collection of military history. It shows the range of individuality in the execution of senior command, and the army's felxibility in allowing such different personalities to get the job done. One has to reflect on John Eisenhower's comment about his father. Ike was far more jealous of his place in history among the great military leaders than his role as president.

The further we get from those years, the more amazing it is that such a man as Marshall was available for the key position he played.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Bump on August 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read several Bio's of for each of these men, but never one which covered all 3 before. The books author is quite comprehensive in detailing the professional lives of all 3 generals from the 1930's forward. Author definitely is fond of Gen. Marshall, lukewarm on Eisenhower, and clearly dislikes MacArthur. With Mac and Ike the details of their foibles and errors come through clearly in the book. The author is much gentler on the essentially colorless G.C. Marshall. Definitely not a canonization piece for any of the 3 men, lots of behind the scenes information. A good book for folks who have previously read bio's on all of these Generals. I would not recommend this book to someone who knows little about the professional accomplishments of these men or WW2. Enthusiasts will enjoy it beginners in this area of history should look elsewhere first.
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