This biography of Gen. Omar N. Bradley, one of Patton’s contemporaries, explores his personal life more thoroughly than any attempted before.
Debut author Lavoie tackles enigmatic Bradley’s storied career, attempting to unearth his more personal side, oft ignored by other scholars. Bradley was more modest and unassuming than his limelight-seeking counterparts Eisenhower and Patton, and his achievements have been comparatively neglected, despite their impressive historical significance. Lavoie charts Bradley’s rise from his inauspicious youth in Missouri through his education at West Point and service during two world wars. However, what distinguishes this account of Bradley’s life is twofold: its emphasis upon his professional contributions following World War II and the little-known details of his romantic life. Bradley’s career continued to skyrocket in the Allied victory, and he served as a key architect of the ensuing peace and as the inaugural chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While Lavoie concedes his work is not intended to be “an in-depth scholarly analysis,” he still provides well-researched insights into both Bradley and the war. “Omar later confessed that he privately considered evacuating the beachhead after getting scattered negative reports that made him rethink this decision,” Lavoie writes. “He agonized over the withdrawal decision, ‘praying that our men could hang on.’ ” Also, unlike previous biographers, Lavoie seriously examines the account of Bradley’s life penned by his mistress-turned-wife, Kitty Buhler, shedding light on his character and his inclinations to infidelity. What emerges is a portrait of a man torn between a deep sense of duty, ambition, and lust, laid out more clearly here than ever before.
A rigorous yet accessible look at a misunderstood American hero.