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Generals in the Making: How Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Their Peers Became the Commanders Who Won World War II

Benjamin Runkle



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Stackpole Books
15 August 2019
History; Second World War
After World War II, Winston Churchill wondered how the U.S. found and developed the generals who won the war. German commanders expressed similar amazement over the dynamic change in American military leadership from World War I to World War II. Despite the obstacles of the 1920s and 1930s, when a national preference for isolationism and eventually the Great Depression left the U.S. military diminished and impoverished, the interwar army was nevertheless the incubator of future leaders such as Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, and Patton. In a book of extraordinary insight, Benjamin Runkle shows how these men emerged - in anything but predetermined fashion - from the ashes of the interwar army to become the greatest generation of senior commanders in military history. Generals in the Making begins with World War I, in which, most notably, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and George Marshall served with distinction: Marshall on General Pershing's staff, MacArthur as a decorated field commander, and Patton as a tank leader. Over the next two decades, these men and their contemporaries - Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Lucian Truscott, Matthew Ridgway, Lightning Joe Collins, Walter Bedell Smith, Joseph Stilwell, and more - frequently crossed paths in the small army of the 1920s and 1930s, attending the same professional schools, serving under the same commanders, even living as neighbors. These were lean years for the army, years in which promotions came slowly, and service often meant far-flung postings at isolated Midwest bases or in the Philippines. For some these years brought personal tragedy, such as Eisenhower's loss of a young son and Marshall's loss of his wife; for others they brought professional setbacks, from academic failure to even court-martial. The closest these budding commanders got to combat was the unfortunate assault on the Bonus Army in 1932 and the 1941 Louisiana Maneuvers, but during these years, the future commanders not only learned, but innovated and reformed - and set the U.S. Army as well as themselves on the road to success in the coming war. Part military history and part group biography, Generals in the Making is the first comprehensive history of the United States' World War II generals between the wars, covering not only the lives and careers of this brotherhood of officers, but also the crucible of military ideas and innovation in which they served.
By:   Benjamin Runkle
Imprint:   Stackpole Books
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm, 
ISBN:   9780811738507
ISBN 10:   0811738507
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   15 August 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Benjamin Runkle is a former paratrooper and presidential speechwriter who holds a doctorate from Harvard and a Bronze Star from Operation Iraqi Freedom. His government posts included the National Security Council, the House Armed Services Committee, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. He has previously been a political scientist with the RAND Corporation and now is a senior fellow with Artis International, a think tank working at the intersection of behavioral science and political violence. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, the Jerusalem Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Tablet Magazine, Joint Forces Quarterly, The Weekly Standard, The Hill, RealClearDefense.com, WarOnTheRocks.com, and Small Wars Journal. Runkle is the author of Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to Bin Laden. The Washington Times called it colorful, fast-paced ; his writing is readable without be

Reviews for Generals in the Making: How Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Their Peers Became the Commanders Who Won World War II

Going behind the headlines, Runkle provides worthwhile background and context for understanding current wars and how they are fought.--Kirks Reviews The best book on manhunting that I have read combining detailed research into a fast-paced story that reads like a novel of similar genre.--Small Wars Journal Although there is no shortage of books about bin Laden, Runkle breaks new ground by putting his story in the context of earlier manhunts that are surely less familiar to most readers. . . . Wanted Dead or Alive may be most appealing to those with an interest in military history, but should also find favor with a broader readership drawn to lesser known episodes in the nation's past.--Army Times In Wanted Dead or Alive, Mr. Runkle accomplishes two seemingly contradictory feats. His colorful, fast-paced accounts of each manhunt appeal to those who enjoy a good adventure story, but his keen strategic insight provides ample material for further reflection. His writing is readable without being breezy, meaty without being ponderous. Mr. Runkle's book deserves attention from both policymakers and the general public.--Washington Times

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