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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
This volume is a wonderful and shorter introduction to this American General that provides with helpful and necessary glimpses of his life and times. I have read other volumes in this series on Robert E. Lee and George S. Patton (who's sister Nita was one of Pershing's love interests after he became a widower) and I have found all three to be very helpful introductions to each of them.
On my scale of 1 (bad) and 5 (great) I give this book a 4 or 'good' read. An excellent book for middle school age and up.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program called Book Sneeze [...] I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.")
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. Patton delivered the bodies to Pershing's headquarters lashed to a car fender like deer, which brought him wide renown in the American press". I can just see the photo plastered all over the Internet and evening news and people up in arms about it.
I was very sad about the death of Pershing's wife and children except for one. It was a tragedy that occurred because the newly varnished floor of the Pershing residence caught fire. I cannot see how anyone could live, much less rise to greatness after such an event. I would give him an extra star just for sticking in there.
I would definitely recommend this book to any reader wishing to become familiar with Pershing's life as well as the US military. It is written in a very readable style and does not dwell too long on the actual battles themselves. You will be delighted by the tidbits of US history you probably didn't know, either because of classroom curriculum restraints or political correctness. I am sure that it is not desirable to teach how the United States colonized the Philippines with its military might and treated the natives with condescension. Yet it happened, and it deserves to be known.
I was given this book by Boooksneeze in exchange for an honest review, good or bad, of this book.
The book though is written much like Pershing himself, stiff and cold. There was a lot that the author brought to light about Pershing's personal life, but the writing lacks conviction. It's almost like the author had to pound out N number of words in order to receive a paycheck. Clinically the facts are correct (or I assume so), but there is just no "life" in the prose.