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Pershing: Commander of the Great War (The Generals) Hardcover – October 10, 2011

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About the Author

John Perry graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University, with additional studies at University College, Oxford, England. Before beginning his career as an author in 1997, he was an award-winning advertising copywriter and radio producer. John has published 21 books as an author, collaborator, or ghostwriter. He is the biographer of Sgt. Alvin York, Mary Custis Lee (wife of Robert E. Lee and great granddaughter of Martha Washington), and George Washington Carver. Among other books, he has also written about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial (Monkey Business, with Marvin Olasky, B&H Publishing, 2005) and contemporary prison reform (God Behind Bars, Thomas Nelson, 2006). He is a two-time Gold Medallion finalist and Lincoln Prize nominee. He lives in Nashville.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Generals
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159555355X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595553553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times best selling author John Perry was the fifth generation of his family to be born in Greensburg, Kentucky. He grew up in Houston, where he played basketball, ran track, and starred in musical productions. After serving in the army he attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville and University College, Oxford, England. John graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt with a BA in English and a minor in piano, then tried to figure out how to earn a living with them.

He began his career in Houston as an advertising copywriter and radio producer, winning several national awards for creative excellence. His interest in music took him to Nashville, where he co-founded American Network Radio Productions and worked with country music greats including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Larry Gatlin, Kathy Mattea, and Tanya Tucker.

An advertising project in Nashville introduced John to the world of books. A bookstore chain he had done radio spots for commissioned him to write dust jacket copy for their publishing division. Then, they requested a ghostwritten foreword. One thing led to another, and over the next several years John made the transition to full-time author.

Today John divides his time between books of his own and collaborations with a variety of writers and public figures. His biographies of Sergeant Alvin York and of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver were CBA Award finalists. His biography of Mary Custis (Mrs. Robert E.) Lee, Lady of Arlington, was nominated for the Lincoln Prize for books about the Civil War era.

In the spring of 2010, his co-authored novel Letters to God, written with Patrick Doughtie and based on Patrick's feature film, debuted at #7 on The New York Times Best Seller List.

John is represented by literary agents Wolgemuth & Associates, Orlando.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James J. Kane VINE VOICE on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"To most of the millions of men he commanded during his career, John J. Pershing was not likeable in the least. He was instead an insufferable nitpicker obsessed with the smallest detail of military regimentation. Troops dreaded the sight of the massive limousine flying the four-star general's flag. Its arrival meant a long list of deficiences in need of correcting immediately..."

So writes John Perry in the introduction of his biography of John J. "Black Jack" Pershing who commanded the American Expeditonary Force in World War One.

Born prior to the Civil War (and able to recall a battle that came to his home personally in Laclede, Missouri in 1864 near to his 4th birthday) and dying after the Second World War, Perry's telling of Pershing and his life and accomplishments makes clear to this reviewer that he was a military officer who was a bridging figure in the conduct of war whose use of coordinated attacks and innovations such as the Military Police in World War 1 was the precursor of modern 20th century warfare.

Part of Thomas Nelson's series The Generals, Perry introduces us to an American General he believes has fallen to either the "second or third tier of America's historical consciousness" in part of because of his nitpiking ways. As he does so he also re-introduces us to the developments both domestically and internationally as well as militarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sympathetically and firmly written, Perry brings to the fore a portait of really two men: the demanding task master in uniform and the devoted and passionate man, husband, father, and... dancer who was rarely seen by those in uniform. In doing so he provides a diverse picture of Pershing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I am thankful that I read this book because before I did, the only thing I knew about General Pershing was that he was a general (obviously), and that the Pershing missile, at least I surmised, was named after him. I didn't even know his first name or what wars he fought in. It just goes to show that what I learned in school was but a brief summary of American history.

Now war is a dirty word. With it, thousands of people die. And much to my dismay, humankind cannot seem to live without it. Therefore, the military is in a strange position. When war is imminent, the Armed Forces are built up and soldiers and sailors are sent to do their duty. At the time, they are rewarded and often glorified. However, when America is at peace, her citizens often forget the relevance and importance of her men and women in uniform.

This book is not only about the military career of John Pershing, it is also about the making of the United States of America in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is also heartening to catch more than a glimpse of Pershing's private life. Pershing's most conspicuous attainment was to be named General of the Armies, a rank only achieved by George Washington, and posthumously at that. He was a decisive factor in winning World War I and was steadfast in not allowing the French Army to use US soldiers in a joint effort, but rather stuck to his guns and fought as a separate, distinct American army.

To show you how times change, I am going to quote a passage from the book that would be outlandish and grounds for court marshaling if it happened in Afghanistan today: "Lieutenant Patton led a squad of ten men who killed two Mexicans leaders including Julio Cárdenas, commander of Villa's personal bodyguard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Green VINE VOICE on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you were asked to name important American generals of the 20th century who would you come up with? MacArthur? Eisenhower? Maybe Patton, or even Marshall for helping to rebuild Europe after WWII? I don't think Pershing would have come to my mind, which is a shame because he's arguably greater than any of them.

John J. Pershing led the American forces in WWI (and MacArthur, Patton, and Marshall all served under him). He resisted all pressures to integrate American soldiers as replacements for casualties in French and British units, insisting they fight instead as American units. He then refused to rush his new and untested soldiers into battle until they were prepared to fight, and once they joined the offensive his units defeated the Germans in only six months of action. But his military career began long before the first World War. Pershing also served in the Spanish American War in Cuba and in the Philippines where he managed to subdue the Moro tribes using minimal military force. Instead, he treated them with respect and turned enemies into friends.

In fact, one characteristic of Pershing I found particularly admirable was that he didn't allow racism to affect his judgment. He led units of black soldiers in Cuba and in the American West which was how he got his nickname - "Black Jack" Pershing - which was originally meant derogatorily. But he was much more than just a soldier and general. He originally planned to go into law and his early jobs were as a teacher - he only joined the military to pay his way through school.
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