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General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman Paperback – June 6, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the first one-volume portrait of Marshall (1880-1959), FDR's wartime chief of staff, who raised an army of nearly seven million, was the principal architect of Allied victory, and did much to shape the postwar world as secretary of state and secretary of defense under Truman. Cray's stirring narrative traces Marshall's apparently selfless career under 10 presidents, and shows that during the 1940s he was the most powerful figure in government after the president. An austere and forbidding man, he had a tender side as well,, which Cray, history professor at the University of Southern California, brings into focus. In this well-balanced biography Marshall emerges as a person of integrity, nobility and greatness, both of vision and of character. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

General of the Army enhances our ability to perceive both the man and his monumental reputation....Cray's biography commends itself not least because he does not paper over Marshall's errors. (Russell F. Weigley The New York Times Book Review)

Cray's biography ...tells you everything you want to know about Marshall....[It] will serve as the standard 'popular' biography and reference. (Clay Blair, Jr. Chicago Sun-Times)

The comprehensive, masterful biography that Marshall deserves....Cray gives us insight into the private man as well as an understanding of his crucial role in an extraordinary period in world history. (Digby Diehl Playboy)

Impressively researched, delightfully written, and judiciously argued, General of the Army is the best one-volume life of Marshall to date. It deserves to be read by anyone interested in recent American history. (Robert Dallek, Author of Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant:Lyndon B. Johnson and his Times )
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Press (June 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815410425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815410423
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 101 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book following a visit to the Marshall Museum at VMI. I opened it this past autumn and began to read. As some other reviewers have indicated, 700+ pages is a daunting read. I am very glad that I sat down to read it. I didn't know very much about Marshall prior to my visit to VMI. I knew about the European Recovery Program that bore his name; I knew about his remaking of the Infantry School, and his elimination of the seniority system in promotions. That's about it.
This book is far more than a biography; it's an excellent study of the make-over of the US Army's personnel and educational system, under Marshall's guidance at the Infantry School. It's a study of the interplay between Churchill and Roosevelt. It's a study in the subbordination of the military to civil rule in America. It's a fine summary of "how we lost China," as if anything could have saved the Nationalists from their own venality and ineptitude.
It's a study in how a man of personal fortitude, rectitude, and character made such a contribution in service to his nation. We are blessed to have such figures on occasion in American life. Marshall goes into my personal list of heroes in American public-life alongside George Washington, George Mason, and Robert E. Lee.
This book is excellent in every way. The prose is well-written, and the compelling narrative keeps things moving along at a brisk pace.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J. Reynolds on July 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a fine companion piece to Leonard Mosley's "Marshall: Hero For Our Times." Together, the two volumes provide a managable portrait of a man who conceivably can be considered the most influential American of the 20th Century. Forrest Pogue's volumes are far more comprehensive, though not from a human-interest standpoint. Cray's and Mosley's works explore Marshall's more sensitive facets.
Marshall's towering integrity (he wrote no memoirs because he wanted no one profiting from them) has kept him in history's shadow, though he wasn't exactly cloaked in anonymity during WWII (since he reported to Roosevelt, and gave orders to MacArthur and Eisenhower). I hope more young people will read about him, and emulate his character.
[H]is name was placed upon one of the largest public assistance programs in history, the European Reconstruction Plan.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on July 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
George Marshall is arguably the greatest man of what has come to be known as the Greatest Generation. Only George Washington commanded a similar level of veneration and awe from his contemporaries as Marshall. And, like Washington, Marshall was revered mostly for his irreproachable integrity and honor.

In this solid, single volume life of the celebrated Army Chief of Staff, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, Ed Cray captures the essence of a man who was at once Olympian, yet, in a sense, quite common and whose special qualities should have been, in an ideal society, unexceptional. Marshall became a legend by being a world-class manager (one might even say a highly skilled bureaucrat) and earning a reputation for incorruptibility and almost unnatural selflessness. He was a larger-than-life figure who got that way through hard work and honesty, rather than uncommon genius or death-defying battlefield heroics. That has been Marshall's reputation since his lifetime, and Cray's biography generally endorses that image.

But this is no hagiography. As Cray tells the story, Marshall was, in fact, deeply ambitious; the prospect of being passed over for Chief of Staff drove the future five-star general to fits of despair and he fretted over his slow career advancement during the 1920s and 1930s. Moreover, Cray argues that Marshall didn't shy away from using connections and influence to advance his own cause and engaging in self-promotion when necessary, especially early on his career. In one memorable anecdote, Cray writes how a young Marshall literally elbowed his way into the Oval Office to talk President McKinley into giving him a shot at taking the Army Officer's commission test (it worked and Marshall passed).
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey M. Hyder on October 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
General George Marshall deserves to be as well know as Patton or Ike. He more than anyone else is responsible for America's victory in WWII. He could have been Surpreme Commander of all forces in Europe but out of duty and honor he stayed in Washington where he was needed. No person wielded more power during the war years except perhaps FDR. He was responsible for promoting such men as Ike, Patton, and Bradley. Who knows how history might have changed if he had sought the fame and glory that Ike received as Surpreme Commander. In this book Ed Cray follows Marshall from his childhood through his WWI and WWII service, including his later positions as Secretary of Defense and Secertary of State. I don't know of any other man who did as much in his life as Marshall. Best of all, he did it all with complete honesty and integrity. He had the absolute trust of all mjor players in WWII including FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. This book derserves to be on the shelf of all WWII buffs as well as anyone who wants to know what true leadership is about.
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