Generals American Military Command from World War II to Today

ISBN-10: 1594204047

ISBN-13: 9781594204043

Edition: 2012

Authors: Thomas E. Ricks

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From the #1 bestselling author ofFiascoandThe Gamble, an epic history of the decline of American military leadership from World War II to IraqHistory has been kinder to the American generals of World War II—Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley—than to the generals of the wars that followed. Is this merely nostalgia? InThe Generals, Thomas E. Ricks answers the question definitively: No, it is not, in no small part because of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During the Second World War, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”InThe Generalswe meet great leaders and suspect ones, generals who rose to the occasion and those who failed themselves and their soldiers. Marshall and Eisenhower cast long shadows over this story, but it has no more inspiring single figure than Marine General O. P. Smith, whose fighting retreat from the Chinese onslaught into Korea in the winter of 1950 snatched a kind of victory from the jaws of annihilation. But Smith’s courage and genius in the face of one of the grimmest scenarios the marines have faced in their history only cast the shortcomings of the people who put him there in sharper relief.If Korea showed the first signs of culture that neither punished mediocrity nor particularly rewarded daring, the Vietnam War saw American military leadership bottom out. The My Lai massacre, Ricks shows us, is the emblematic event of this dark chapter of our history.In the wake of Vietnam a battle for the soul of the U.S. Army was waged with impressive success. It became a transformed institution, reinvigorated from the bottom up. But if the body was highly toned, its head still suffered from familiar problems, resulting in tactically savvy but strategically obtuse leadership that would win battles but end wars badly from the first Iraq War of 1990 through to the present.Thomas E. Ricks has made a close study of America’s military leaders for three decades, and in his hands this story resounds with larger meaning: about the transmission of values, about strategic thinking, about the difference between an organization that learns and one that fails. Military history of the highest quality,The Generalsis also essential reading for anyone with an interest in the difference between good leaders and bad ones.
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Book details

List price: $32.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/30/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 576
Size: 6.50" wide x 10.00" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 1.980
Language: English

Thomas E. Ricks lives outside Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

Prologue: Captain William DePuy and the 90th Division in Normandy, summer 1944
World War II
General George C. Marshall: The leader
Dwight Eisenhower: How the Marshall system worked
George Patton: The specialist
Mark Clark: The man in the middle
"Terrible Terry" Allen: Conflict between Marshall and his prot�g�s
Eisenhower managers Montgomery
Douglas MacArthur: The general as presidential aspirant
William Simpson: The Marshall system and the new model American general
The Korean War
William Dean and Douglas MacArthur: Two generals self-destruct
Army generals fail at Chosin
O.P. Smith succeeds at Chosin
Ridgway turns the war around
MacArthur's last stand
The organization man's Army
The Vietnam War
Maxwell Taylor: Architect of defeat
William Westmoreland: The organization man in command
William DePuy: World War II-style generalship in Vietnam
The collapse of generalship in the 1960s
At the top
In the field
In personnel policy
Tet '68: The end of Westmoreland and the turning point of the war
My Lai: General Koster's cover-up and General Peers's investigation
The end of a war, the end of an Army
DePuy's great rebuilding
"How to teach judgment"
Iraq and the Hidden Costs of Rebuilding
Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, and the empty triumph of the 1991 war
The ground war: Schwarzkopf vs. Frederick Franks
The post-Gulf War military
Tommy R. Franks: Two-time loser
Ricardo Sanchez: Over his head
George Casey: Trying but trading water
David Petraeus: An outlier moves in, then leaves
Epilogue: Restoring American military leadership
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