GEORGE C. MARSHALL: ORDEAL AND HOPE, 1939-1942 by Forrest C. Pogue
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This is the second volume of a projected exhaustive biography of the man Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called ""the supreme American professional soldier of this century."" Author Pogue is the head of the Marshall Research Center in Virginia. His first volume, Education of a General (p. 769, 1963), was received well by both historical and military audiences. The current volume opens with Marshall taking the oath as Army Chief of Staff and closes with the Allied invasion of North Africa four years later. The major theme, Marshall's growth to leadership, runs concurrent with his struggle with a recalcitrant Congress and intransigent President Roosevelt to beef up an army unprepared for the coming battle with the Axis. This is played out against the rising tide of war, in Europe, at this time more pressing, and in the Pacific as well. All of it is a scholar's model, but several chapters emerge more fully than others out of the weight of their own dramatic material. Specifically, the narration of events in Marshall's Washington leading up to December 7, 1941 is superior theatre. The man's dedication, purpose and humanity are evident in a sympathetic, yet objectively presented, portrait. It is clear that Pogue, despite his loyalties, is serving no other Commander than Clio, and what comes of it is a piece of major American biography.

Pub Date: Dec. 7th, 1966
Publisher: Viking