George Marshall: Defender of the Republic

Dutton. Jul. 2019. 704p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781101990971. $34; ebk. ISBN 9781101990995. BIOG
George C. Marshall (1880–1959)—best known for the U.S. Marshall Plan, the post–World War II economic assistance package aimed at boosting Western Europe’s recovery—had a long and distinguished career ranging from staff positions during the First World War to serving as secretary of defense during the Korean War. Roll (The Hopkins Touch) recants Marshall’s life, particularly his military and diplomatic positions, all the while emphasizing the personal moral code by which Marshall lived. The progression of Marshall’s career is noted, and a significant number of pages are devoted to World War II, during which Marshall was the army chief of staff. He later served as secretary of state under President Harry Truman, at which time he gave the Harvard lecture regarding the postwar rebuilding plan that was the first televised State Department speech in history. There already exist a number of Marshall biographies, ranging from those similar to this title to Forrest Pogue’s four-volume set. Roll claims that perspectives and attitudes regarding Marshall have changed and new sources have emerged since many previous works were published, and while the author does a fine job here, the market seems saturated.
VERDICT Recommended for those interested in the latest World War II biographies. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]

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