How can I say I enjoyed a book about war and an American general? Because it is a well crafted story which carries you through the career of General Pershing, a man who has been somewhat neglected by history. Pershing began his Army service in the Philippines, Mexico and Cuba. This served as a critical training ground for Pershing. When President Roosevelt promoted him to general in 1906, Pershing, who had been one of the army's oldest captains, was now one of its youngest generals. Pershing became a legend in his own time and was the first man to be appointed General of the Armies.
To rescue France and England, Pershing used the lessons he learned in other theatres of war to establish an aggressive strategy against the Germans that incorporated overwhelming numbers and comprehensive engagement. Not only were there honor and order in his methods, there was victory. Attentive to the last detail, rigid in his expectations of drill and execution, and fiercely protective of every man he commanded, at one time more than a million soldiers followed him into battle and to victory.
I just finished reading another book about the Great Wars from a Canadian perspective, Marching to War by Pierre Berton. I was surprised by the similarities between General Pershing and several Canadian generals which leads me to believe that those that work hard and do the right thing are often overlooked in favour of leaders who are flashier and more reckless in their ideas and actions. Perhaps a lesson should be learned from this.