A MAN UNDER ORDERS: Lieutenant General William K. Harrison, Jr. by D. Bruce Lockerbie

A MAN UNDER ORDERS: Lieutenant General William K. Harrison, Jr.

Email this review


A competent, pedestrian biography of a competent, pedestrian person. Harrison is a noteworthy figure in modern American military history, for several reasons. Early in the Second World War he devised a plan for reorganizing the Army High Command under a single chief, which greatly expedited the war effort. As Assistant Commander of the 30th Division he led his men (the Commander, Leland Hobbs, habitually stayed behind the front lines) in the Allied breakout from Normandy at St. Lo, through the crucial battle of Mortain, and all the way on to Magdeburg. He displayed phenomenal courage, was wounded, and won medals galore. Finally, he was head negotiator for the UN Command at the armistice talks in Panmunjom from January 1952 till the cease-fire 18 months later. Apart from his military accomplishments, Harrison also happens to be a sincere, conservative Christian of rocklike integrity, who has long been lionized in Evangelical circles. So a more or less hagiographical treatment like this one was bound to come along. The problem is that Harrison doesn't make a very colorful--or quotable--saint. Basically he's a bluff, unassuming stoic--selfless, devoted, the straightest of Straight Arrows. He gets his politics from West Point and his religion from the First Baptist Church of Junction City, Kansas. His imagination seems to shut off as soon as he leaves the battlefield: a man you'd trust your life to, but avoid at a dinner party.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row