f all the American generals in W.W.II, the story of General Marshall is the hardest to tell. He was one of those steady pluggers who shunned the living legend role that MacArthur found reasonable and that Patton consciously sought. He lacked the social ease of Eisenhower and he had no opportunity in either world war to build up a battle image. In view of all the exciting things that he wasn't the wonder is that Mr. Faber could produce a consistently interesting, explanatory biography. Some of the dignity and all of the honesty of his subject is brought to the writing. Mr. Faber makes it clear that the appointment/promotion machinery was ?died up by West Pointers when Marshall came from Virginia Military Institute. After frustrating years locked in rank as part of a peacetime army, WWI's spoils of victory were denied him because his forte, organizational work, kept him from front line promotions. Between the wars, MacArthur, who disliked him, kept him from important osts, but Pershing was his friend at court and recommended him for the General Staff. He carried the Chief's job through WWII and the Korean Police Action and was given diplomatic duty and a cabinet post under President Truman, accepting with dignity a splattering of political mud. Mr. Faber does not side step or play down the effect of Army politics or national politics on the life and reputation of Marshall. This is a book well-balanced between his quiet private life and his determined, distinguished public career with emphasis on the factors that made a retiring man a great officer.