George Marshall: Defender of the Republic

With David Roll

As a young officer in World War I, George Marshall’s sterling reputation started forming when he planned and executed a nighttime movement of more than a half million troops from one battlefield to another, leading to the armistice. Between the world wars, he helped modernize combat training, restaffed the U.S. Army’s officer corps with future leaders such as Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and George Patton, and served as army chief of staff in the run up to Work War II, when his commitment to duty came face-to-face with the realities of Washington politics.

Roll sets his biography of Marshall against the backdrop of five major conflicts—the two world wars, Palestine, Korea and the Cold War—and focuses on the nuances and ambiguities of Marshall’s education in the use of military, diplomatic and political power while watching America emerge as a global superpower. Roll’s conclusion could hardly be clearer: Principled leadership matters.