Written by the author of The Supreme Command and with a foreword by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, this outstanding book is Volume I of the long-awaited three-volume life of General Marshall; the other two volumes, as yet unpublished, will be The War Years and The Peace Years. Since Marshall, afraid of being unfair to former associates, refused to write his memoirs, this monumental work is based on papers and interviews in the George C. Marshall Foundation, of which the author is director; not until the Foundation was organized would Marshall permit even a trained historian to interview him. Born in Uniontown, Pa., on Jan. 31, 1880, the son of a prosperous merchant, Marshall went to Virginia Military Institute instead of West Point. A recent graduate, in 1902 he was sent with the 30th Infantry to the Philippines, to learn, among other valuable lessons, that ""there is nothing much lower than a 2nd Lieutenant"". Sent to France in 1917 he dared disagree with Pershing; as Pershing's aide after the war he tried vainly to bring order to Army chaos; in China in 1924 he faced problems he was to meet again years later. An inspired military teacher, a brilliant innovator and a perfect staff officer, he saw service in many parts of America, and for years, a victim of Army red tape and bureaucracy, was also to see his subordinates promoted over his head. In 1936 he was at last made a Brigadier General, and on Sept. 1, 1939, the day Hitler invaded Poland, became permanent Major General and Chief of Staff, with the triple task of coping with neutrality laws, building up a combat Army, and remaking an obsolete War Department. As befits its subject, this long and readable book is straightforward, concise and accurate; to say that it is also a vitally important contribution to the archives of American 20th-century military history is a crashing understatement. Frontispiece.