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All about "Marshall"


Title: Marshall: Lessons in Leadership (Great Generals)
Authors: H. Paul Jeffers and Alan Axelrod
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0230614161, 224 pages

Review: Marshall
By Thomas Bergen, getAbstract

George Catlett Marshall, Jr., a revered soldier and statesman, served as US Army chief of staff during World War II and later as secretary of state and secretary of defense. A born leader, Marshall was, as Sir Winston Churchill described him, "the noblest Roman of them all." He stood resolute for what he believed and, as authors H. Paul Jeffers and Alan Axelrod make clear, the world is a better place because he did. Indeed, Europe would not exist in its present state if not for the Marshall Plan that rebuilt its shattered nations after World War II. getAbstract recommends Jeffers and Axelrod's short, readable biography to those interested in the attributes that leadership demands, as demonstrated by the luminous life of George Marshall.

The "Wizard"
George Catlett Marshall Jr. was born in 1880 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He attended the Virginia Military Institute, graduating as the top cadet officer. To win an Army officer's commission, Marshall traveled unannounced to the White House, managed to meet with President William McKinley, asked for a commission and got it--even though McKinley had no idea who Marshall was.

Marshall held numerous U.S. Army staff assignments and developed a sterling reputation as a "teacher, a planner, a brilliant tactician, a peerless logistical manager--in short, the ideal staff officer." Some of his men called Marshall "Dynamite." One referred to him as the "Wizard." A senior officer's efficiency report cited Marshall as a "military genius."

During World War I, General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing commanded the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in France. Marshall became Pershing's "fastest-rising officer" while he worked on preparing America's untested forces for action. He spoke bluntly, always telling the formidable Pershing exactly what the AEF needed to do to improve its operations. He never pulled his punches. After the war, Marshall continued to work for Pershing in the United States. Because Pershing did not care for administrative routine, Marshall "functioned as the true head of the army." Marshall later ran the academic department at Fort Benning, Georgia. There Marshall tested "new infantry techniques and battlefield mobility" tactics. His work would "lay the foundation of warfighting doctrine for World War II."

Army Chief of Staff
In 1938, Marshall worked for the Army's chief of staff, General Malin Craig. The U.S. Army was small (fewer than 200,000 men in uniform), poorly equipped and underfunded. If war came, the nation would be in big trouble. Rapid expansion was in order. Craig quickly made Marshall his deputy chief of staff. That same year, Hitler threatened war in Europe unless Germany was permitted to annex the Sudetenland. In response, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought $500 million to modernize and expand the military.

In 1939, Roosevelt nominated Marshall as Army chief of staff. He began his duties on July 1, the day the Nazis invaded Poland. By 1940, Marshall commissioned the creation of the so-called "RAINBOW" war plan, designed to fight "a two-ocean war." The U.S. would soon need Marshall's plan. The next year, on December 7, the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval fleet at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Americans demanded instant, all-out retaliation against Japan. Marshall successfully counseled the tactic of "Europe-first" military operations...

Click here to read on and receive a free summary of this book courtesy of getAbstract, the world's largest online library of business book summaries. (Available through January 19, 2011.)

By getAbstract

 |  January 12, 2011; 3:37 AM ET |  Category:  Books Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

There's a good reason why more than fifty years after General Marshall's death people still write about him. His exceptional leadership style was so personal, direct, clear, concise and consistent that he remains a model for others to emulate.

Marshall worked hard to develop his leadership skills. Yet his trademark traits: candor, courage, commitment, integrity and selflessness all emanated from his strong character.

This is an excellent biography.

Two recently published books about Marshall's leadership style also come to mind. They are The Art of Command: Military Leadership from George Washington to Colin Powell, ed. Harry S. Laver and Jeffrey J. Matthews and Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons From George C. Marshall by Jack Uldrich.

See www.marshallfoundation.org for more information.

Posted by: edrake1 | January 13, 2011 3:37 PM

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