Shakespeare famously wrote that some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Part military history and part group biography, Generals in the Making tells the amazing true story of how George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and their peers became the greatest generation of senior commanders in military history.
As the U.S. Army’s triumphant homecoming from World War I was quickly forgotten amidst two decades filled with economic depression and growing isolationism, Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton, Omar Bradley, Lucian Truscott, Matthew Ridgway, and their brothers in arms toiled in a profession most Americans viewed with distrust. Before they became legends, these young officers served their country in posts from Washington D.C. to Panama, from West Point to war-torn China. They taught and studied together in the Army’s schools, attempting to innovate in an era of shrinking budgets, obsolete equipment, and skeletal forces. Beyond these professional challenges, they endured shattering personal tragedies: the sudden deaths of children or spouses, divorce, depression, and court martial. Yet when the world faced possibly its darkest hour, as fascism and barbarism were on the march, they stood ready to lead America’s young men in the fight for civilization. By the end of World War II, even German commanders expressed amazement at the dynamic change in American military leadership since the Great War.
Generals in the Making is the first comprehensive history of America’s World War II generals between the wars, an invaluable prequel to every history of that war.
BENJAMIN RUNKLE is a former paratrooper and presidential speechwriter with a Harvard PhD and a Bronze Star from Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has served as an official in the Department of Defense, as a director at the National Security Council, and as a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee. He is currently a senior policy fellow with Artis International and an adjunct lecturer in Johns Hopkins University’s Global Security Program. He is the author of Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to Bin Laden (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and his writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, Military History Quarterly, and Joint Forces Quarterly, amongst other publications. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and two sons.