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General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  34 reviews
As the U.S. Army's Chief of staff through World War II, George Catlett Marshall (1880-1959) organized the military mobilization of unprecedented number of Americans and shaped the Allied strategy that defeated first Nazi Germany, then Imperial Japan. As President Truman's Secretary of State, and later as his Secretary of Defense during the Korean War, Marshall the statesma ...more
Paperback, 864 pages
Published June 6th 2000 by Cooper Square Press (first published 1990)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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Greg Brozeit
One of the most trite expressions of faux patriotism that is rampant in the U.S. today is when people reflexively say to soldiers or veterans, "Thank you for your service." It represents a fetish for militarism. It doesn't ask just exactly what their "service" entails. It absolves people from actually engaging in the citizenship needed make democracy function that would not send troops to war in the first place. At least that's my opinion. But George Marshall is the exception to the rule. Of all ...more
Mikey B.
Apr 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mikey B. by: found it in good reads
This book is a magnificent achievement by the author in delineating the life and career of George Marshall. He is quite possibly the third most important individual, after Churchill and Roosevelt, who are responsible for Allied victory (I deliberately omit anyone from the Soviet Union).

Marshall took an army of less than 250,000 in 1940 and expanded it, so that by war’s end, it had grown to over 8 million men. Marshall understood more than anyone the overall logistics of a modern mechanized army
“General of the Army” by Ed Cray is a biography of General George C. Marshall who arguably is the most important general of World War II…and the least remembered. I struggled for only a moment to decide between 4 and 5 stars because there is a bit of repetition in the text and Cray does seem to go on and on in parts…but this earned 5 stars as it was really entertaining and informative reading.

This biography takes in all of George Marshall’s life but spends most of its effort on World War I and
Frank Theising
Ike, you and I know who was Chief of Staff during the last years of the Civil War but practically no one else knows, although the names of the field generals – Grant, of course, and Lee and Jackson, Sherman, Sheridan and the others – every schoolboy knows them. I hate to think that fifty years from now practically nobody will know who George Marshall was.

– President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, November 1943

As often happens when reading a tome such as this, usually on the bus to or from the Pen
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As the back cover of my edition says, "George Marshall the soldier oversaw the vast mobilization of troops and shaped the strategies that defeated Nazi Germany and then Imperial Japan ... as Truman's Secretary of State he created the European Recovery Plan that saved Europe from ruins (and that he steadfastly refused to call the Marshall Plan), and became the only military man ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize."

A few details - the author shines the light on the challenges of building a coalition
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, history
At an intimidating 800 pages, this book read much easier than I expected. Mr. Cray needed every page to reflect on the life of quite posibly the greatest American. Marshall's life was so facinating, and his legacy so influential to the way the world is shaped today, it's a travesty that he is only briefly mentioned in school text books. I got a glimpse of the man Marshall was while touring the Pentagon, where there is a hallway dedicated to him. I decided right then that I needed to know more ab ...more
Jim Gallen
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had long been looking for a full life biography of Gen. George C. Marshall and found it in this book. It is thorough (over 800 pages) and smoothly progresses from his youth, through VMI, World War I, advance through the ranks to Chief of Staff, World War II and the State and Defense departments. Author Ed Cray has crafted a balanced narrative that covers the many facets of Marshall’s career without being particularly partisan for or against his subject.

“The Great One” as Harry Truman called h
Cora Beth
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding biography of the man that I had always associated with the “Marshall Plan”. The biography provides a perch from which one sees American and World History through the first half of the 20th century. A great study in management and planning. As I plodded through the 800 + pages, I found myself stopping to look up people and events discussed. I loved the book and will search out other biographies by the same author.
Dylan McDermott
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best bios I've read!
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very readable biography of a truly great American.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
Solid, clear, factual telling of Marshall’s life and career using standard sources.
Marsha Valance
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
An insightful, detailed biography of the great 20th-century soldier-statesman.
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent summary of the life and experiences of George Marshall. Highly recommended for serving officers - especially those in staff positions.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a 4 star biography of a 6 star man. George Marshall was a really great man. I knew this; otherwise why would I buy and read a short form biography of over 700 pages? I had heard such good things about him that I needed to know more. While this book tells his story and that of the times he lived in well, it never gets into his head. What made him so special? He was unpromising as child and young man, so much so that Big Brother recommended he doesn't go to the school that men of his famil ...more
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
While reading about Roosevelt, Ike, Truman, MacArthur and others, General George Marshall's name constantly comes up. Unlike the others, his name is not as recognized today and doesn't come with as much prestige today. It turns out he might've been the most important figure in the success of WWII and the global landscape that followed. To list all of the major accomplishments in his life from WWI to the beginning of the Cold War would take much longer than I'm prepared for. General Marshall sacr ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I knew little about George Marshall until I read this book, though I knew the surrounding history. Marshall deserves a greater spotlight in American history and culture. He represented all that is best in public service, and not just in a contemporary American context. His values and character would shine forth in any epoch and context. He was highly regarded, perhaps even with a little awe, by characters as diverse as Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. Congress certainly sat in awe of him. Unlike ...more
Yulin Zhuang
A fascinating look at one of the great statesmen of our time. Very admiring, with little criticism of the subject. However, the subject really was one of those truly selfless Americans.

There's some interesting things to be gleaned from the book on leadership. Two quotes in particular that stood out at me were:

"Gentlemen, it is my experience an enlisted man may have a morale problem. An officer is expected to take care of his own morale."

"I don't want you fellows sitting around asking me what to
Jason Lim
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you care about history, and the people who have shaped it, George Marshall is arguably one of the greatest men in contemporary history. His loyalty, humility, leadership, and human traits are exemplary in nature and examples to emulate. These traits have eroded greatly in today's society, even when we most desperately need them again.

Not many people know about this man who led Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the other military greats because he shied away from the spotlight. There is a reaso
A very workmanlike biography of General Marshall. I was woefully ignorant and looking for a basic biography rather than an in-depth look from some particular angle. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time for Forrest Pogue's multivolume opus, so I settled on this. The details on every single wartime summit can get a little tedious, but overall it did a thorough job of covering Marshall's life. It's not hagiography, but it's hard to write about Marshall without becoming somewhat smitten. Cray c ...more
Sathya Vijayakumar
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and the level of detail it goes into to describe General Marshall's varied life. The only reason I can't give it 5 stars is because I think it was a bit too hagiographic and perhaps too lengthy. Some 20 page descriptions of events that took 20 minutes were really a struggle.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I always thought Marshall was one of the great Americans - but I truly respected him on a new level after reading this book. He was the definition of sacrificing individual fame and glory for the betterment of America.
Stephen Mccullough
A great look at Marshall's military career but rather disappointing on his tenure as secretaries of state and defense. Incredibly, this is the only single volume biography of Marshall, perhaps the most important general since the Civil War, in the last 30 years.
Michael Whitehead
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A well written and outstanding account of the life of a great man. I've read hundreds of books about WW II but this book provided numerous insights into the high level machinations involved in organizing a democracy to fight Total War. Throughout the account my admiration for the man grew.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fewer men have served this nation more in so many critical junctures in history than General George C. Marshall. US Army Chief of Staff during WWII, Secretary of State during the post war era, and Secretary of Defense at the start of the Cold War. He literally gave his life for his country.
kenneth c barr
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the greatest Americans!

I started reading this book to learn about General Marshall:in addition I got a wonderful history of the Twentieth Century. I highly recommend this book!
Frank Thun
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A book on management and character
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Didn't know much about Marshall before reading this. Terrific book. And what a tower of a man and inspiration Marshall was.
Aubrey Dustin
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Nobility. This was a very detailed book. Very educational.
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just an excellent book. An easy read and well worth the time it took to read
Melanie A Litoski
Excellent read.

Important lessons from history. The book reviews many important historical events from the perspective of a selfless and dedicated man.
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Cray is a longtime freelance writer who has been published in many of the country's leading newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Cray is the author of 18 published books, including General of the Army, a biography of George C. Marshall; Chief Justice, a biography of Earl Warren; and most recently Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie. ...more

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“George Marshall, Senior, was a locally prominent Democrat, a Bryan man still, despite President McKinley’s election, not one to give or expect a dollop of non-partisan patronage.” 0 likes
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