George Marshall

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by David Roll

George Catlett Marshall, America's most famous soldier–statesman since George Washington, whose unselfish leadership and moral integrity affected the outcome of two world wars and helped define the American century.

Winston Churchill dubbed him the "organizer of victory" in World War II. Truman was dubbed "the finest military man our nation has ever produced" by Harry Truman. Few lives are more deserving of re-examination now, in our period of failed leadership, than Marshall's fifty years of dedicated devotion to the defense of his country and its beliefs.

He was hailed as a genius even as a young lieutenant, a reputation he cemented when, during WWI, he planned and executed a midnight transfer of more than half a million troops from one battlefield to another, resulting in the armistice. Between the wars, he helped revolutionize combat training and re-staff the officer corps of the United States Army with soldiers who would command in the coming decades. But, as WWII neared, Marshall's brilliance and fortitude were put to the test in the post of army chief of staff, where his unwavering dedication to duty would collide with the reality of Washington politics. Thanks to newly unearthed materials, he appears in these pages as a man both amazing and very human, despite his reputation as an austere, almost statuesque figure.

Marshall's education in military, diplomatic, and political power, with all of its intricacies and ambiguities, runs parallel to America's growth as a worldwide powerhouse, set against the backdrop of five great conflicts—two world wars, Palestine, Korea, and the Cold War. As a result, we have a definitive biography of one of our most important leaders.

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— David Roll, George Marshall