- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.; Unabridged edition (1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0788725122
- ISBN-13: 978-0788725128
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5 x 2.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,792,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Until the Last Trumpet Sounds : The Life of General of the Armies John J. Pershing Audio, Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged
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General John J. Pershing may not be as honored as American military heroes Washington, Lee, Grant, and MacArthur, but he outranked them all: He's the only man ever to hold the rank of six-star general. And he certainly earned each one, with a career spanning from the final frontier wars of the 18th century to his leadership in the Spanish-American War in 1898 to his pursuit of Mexican bandit Pancho Villa in 1916. Pershing is best remembered, of course, for commanding the American Expeditionary Force in the First World War, which helped bring the conflict to a successful conclusion for the Allies. Gene Smith is a skilled biographer with an eye for detail and a knack with anecdotes. His Pershing--often misunderstood as a cold and brutal character--comes alive on the pages of Until the Last Trumpet Sounds.
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From his birth in 1860, through his days at West Point (class of 1886), to his various US Cavalry assignments across the American west and the early 20th century Pacific, to his leading the American Expeditionary Forces in World War 1 (WW1), till his death in 1948, John Pershing was well-respected, and often feared, icon determined to perform his duty. Pershing moved slowly through the Army ranks until he met Teddy Roosevelt. After their Spanish American War acquaintance Captain Pershing (only a Captain after 16 years!) was catapulted into a history-making career. By the end of the Great War Pershing achieved 6 stars as General of the Armies (unique to American history)!
Smith tells Pershing family celebrations and tragedies, it acquaintances with future history makers, and the General's "Americans fight as Americans" philosophy during WW1. Readers learn about Pershing's mentoring George Patton, George Marshall, and many more. We hear of his close WW1 friendship with France's Marshal Petain (who became the chief voice in the Nazi-Vichy government of World War 2, to Pershing's horror). The General was firmly and verbally anti-Kaiser in 1915 and anti-Nazi in 1940.
Smith closes the book with interesting chapters about "Black Jack" Pershing's (an appellation from his pre WW1 days commanding an African American Army division in Texas) son's and grandsons' careers. Each respective had his army career in World War 2, Cold War Europe, and Viet Nam (the youngest grandson was killed during the 1968 Tet Offensive). Unfortunately, General Pershing had no great-grandchildren. The book ends with a feeling of "Taps" for an influential 20th century American family.
Although Smith tends towards run-on sentences and the occasional sentence fragment this 320-page book's conversational style makes it an easy read. It is recommended to all military historians, US Cavalry buffs, World War 1 students, and 20th century Americana aficionados.
I understand that up to and during WWII, Pershing had some comments and input regarding generals serving in that conflict. According to other books, I believe both Marshall and Patton had related contacts with Pershing during this period. These details did not get addressed with any significant content.
If the book would have stopped before getting into the lives of his son and grandsons, it would have been a very good book. Unfortunately, as written, the 2nd half got weighted down and took away from a very positive reading experience.