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Generals in the Making

Generals in the Making - Benjamin Runkle

Generals in the Making

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.
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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.
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