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Pershing: Commander of the Great War


Attentive to the last detail, rigid in his expectations of drill and execution, and fiercely protective of every man he commanded, General John J. Pershing helped shape the 20th century by leading American troops in a war that saved Europe.Alienating some and inspiring others, Pershing recognized the challenges of modern warfare and embraced them as life's mission. More than 60 years after his death, he personifies the image of an American general.

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Pershing: Commander of the Great War

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Attentive to the last detail, rigid in his expectations of drill and execution, and fiercely protective of every man he commanded, General John J. Pershing helped shape the 20th century by leading American troops in a war that saved Europe.Alienating some and inspiring others, Pershing recognized the challenges of modern warfare and embraced them as life's mission. More than 60 years after his death, he personifies the image of an American general.

Army service in the Philippines and Mexico and alongside Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba served as a critical training ground for Pershing. When President Roosevelt promoted him to general in 1906, Pershing had been one of the army's oldest captains. Now, as one of its youngest generals, that training would be put to test in the coming Great War.

Author John Perry unveils a general somewhat neglected by history, a mystifying fact considering that at one time more than a million soldiers followed him into battle. When France and England yearned for much-needed support against a German juggernaut, Pershing established an aggressive strategy that incorporated overwhelming numbers and comprehensive engagement, a strategy that made all the difference. Not only were there honor and order in his methods, there was victory. A legend in his own time, Pershing became the first man to be appointed General of the Armies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595553553
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Series: Generals Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 613,110
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Perry is a former advertising copywriter and founder of Wolf, Perry & Clark Music and American Network Radio. He is theauthor of Sergeant Alvin York;Unshakable Faith, a dual biography of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver;and Lady of Arlington, the biography of Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. His Letters to God has been onthe New York Times best seller list. John now lives in Nashville.

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Commander of the Great War
By John Perry

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 John Perry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-411-6

Chapter One

Teacher and Student

John Joseph Pershing's first memories were of war. He was a few months shy of his fourth birthday when on June 18, 1864, Captain Clifton Holtzclaw led a Confederate raid on his hometown of Laclede, Missouri. John Fletcher Pershing and his wife, Anne Elizabeth, had raised little Jackie in a home loyal to the Union. Though Missouri remained officially part of the United States, its citizens were sharply divided. Only President Lincoln's intervention with federal troops had kept the state from splitting the way Virginia had, where Union sympathizers left the Confederacy to form West Virginia. As it was, Missouri was an unsettled, lawless, often dangerous place. In practical terms it stood neither solidly Union nor Confederate. It was a slaveholding Northern state where brother fought against brother, raiders and profiteers from both sides roamed at large, and a town might be occupied by Bluecoats one day and Rebels the next.

Laclede was a small farming community in north central Missouri, away from the worst of the intense fighting in the South and in the southwest part of the state. Yet loyalties ran deep and tempers flared in the opening months of the war as neighbors took their stands for one side or the other. John and Anne boldly displayed their loyalty to the Union by raising the Stars and Stripes over their house. Confederate supporters in town said if John didn't take the flag down, they'd do it for him. After he promised to shoot anybody who tried, they changed their minds and left the flag alone.

John Pershing ran the general store in Laclede and also supplied the local Union soldiers, two regiments of Missouri Volunteers, with everything from spurs to toothbrushes. For this reason and because of the flag incident, Pershing was a prime target of the ragtag unofficial raiding party that galloped into town that June afternoon. As invaders charged in through the front door of the store, Pershing ran out the back. The raiders went to Pershing's house where Jackie, his mother, and his infant brother, Jim, waited in terror. After the invaders searched the rooms and left, John came in the back door with a shotgun, determined to fight. Jackie's mother screamed at him to lie flat on the floor. He watched as she put her arms around his father and begged him not to fight, for her sake and the boys'. If he fired, she knew he would be killed and maybe the rest of them as well. Pershing put his gun down and waited for the marauders to finish their work and leave. They ransacked his store, stealing all the merchandise they could carry and three thousand dollars in cash.

In the wake of the attack, men in the community formed a home guard, electing Pershing lieutenant and later captain, but there were no more raids. In less than a year the war was over. By then Jackie was a familiar figure at the Missouri Volunteers commissary, where he sometimes went with his father on business. The supply sergeant gave the boy hardtack "rations" that he carried home with pride. Seeing how he liked playing soldier, his mother made him a child-sized uniform for his "marches" to camp and back.

Even after the war ended, Laclede remained an unpredictable and sometimes wild place. Veterans from both sides drifted in and out, and homesteaders heading west passed through on their way to a new life on the frontier. John Pershing prospered, adding a lumberyard and other businesses to his thriving store trade. Within a few years he was the richest man in the county and moved his family into a fine two-story house inside a trim white picket fence. In time Jackie and Jim had seven more brothers and sisters. The Pershings helped start a new Methodist church in town and held its quarterly business meetings in their home. Jackie, also called Jack or Johnny as he grew older, went to school, ran barefoot in summers except for Sundays, attended church, and got in his share of trouble for stealing peaches, fighting, and harassing neighborhood animals.

He was old enough to read about the Franco-Prussian War in the St. Louis newspapers in 1870, though by that time his early fascination with soldiering had faded. Johnny decided he wanted to be a lawyer. He went with his father to see his attorney at the Linn County seat of Linneus, watched him represent Pershing's business interests in court, and said he would go to law school some day. For the time being, he had his hands full with farm chores and school. His father invested heavily in real estate, buying two farms and large tracts of timber. Besides the usual chores of milking, chopping firewood, feeding the animals, and repairing equipment, Johnny learned to break horses, plow, and drive the huge reaper at harvest time. As he worked, he daydreamed of college and law school at the University of Missouri.

What neither Johnny nor anyone else could have imagined was that a settlement at the end of the war he'd read about set off a chain of events that financially ruined the Pershing family. A coalition of German states defeated France under Napoleon III, nephew of the great general and emperor. One of the spoils of victory was a large payment in gold, which prompted the German confederation to stop minting silver coins. Much of the world's silver was mined in the United States, so this decision caused a steep drop in the domestic silver market. In 1873 the United States, which had backed its paper money with both silver and gold, decided to move to a gold-only system as well. This policy led to high interest rates—a special burden to farmers and small businessmen—and a loss of confidence in financial markets, which were already overextended by heavy investment in a nationwide railroad expansion. Eighteen thousand banks and businesses failed within two years, driving unemployment to 14 percent.

These events rearranged Johnny's future. College was suddenly out of the question. His father lost his store and almost all his land to foreclosure, hanging on to the fine white house in town and one heavily mortgaged farm of 160 acres. John Pershing went on the road as a traveling salesman and his wife took in boarders. Johnny and Jim, thirteen and eleven, were put in charge of the farm, responsible for raising food and earning money to help the family along as best they could. Johnny had to quit school, except for a few weeks in the winter when it was too cold to go into the fields.

The brothers held on bravely for three years through drought, depressed prices, and an invasion of grasshoppers, until that farm, too, was foreclosed. Johnny still dreamed of being a lawyer but knew that for now he had to contribute to the household income. At seventeen he took a job teaching at a school for black children, despite his own lack of education. His father had once been the richest man in town; now young John was taunted by his peers for teaching the children of former slaves. Seeing him on his way to class, they called out, "Nigger!"

The jeers didn't deter him. He kept the job a year, reading law books on his own as time allowed. Before he was twenty he had read all the works of William Blackstone, the British lawyer and judge whose principles helped shape the U.S. Constitution. In 1879 he received a one-year appointment to teach at a white school ten miles away in Prairie Mound. The pay was forty dollars a month, ten of which went for room and board. The youngest of his forty-five pupils was six and the oldest twenty-one. Teaching there gave John Pershing some of the first lessons in leadership that would one day play such an important role in shaping his character. The oldest student, two years older than Pershing, once bullied another student. As punishment Pershing told him he had to stay after school. Yet when class was over, he got up to leave with everyone else. Pershing flew off the platform at the front of the room where he stood to teach and planted himself inches from the student.

"I am here to run this school," he declared. "You will obey me or you will face the consequences," meaning a whipping with the switch that stood ever ready in the corner. The student backed down. Pershing accepted his responsibility to uphold the school standards and to make someone under him toe the line. The boy was bigger than he was, and the school board would probably have taken up such a discipline problem instead of forcing a young, inexperienced teacher to deal with it. None of that mattered. Pershing was in charge; he was responsible. Rules were rules; he'd given an order, and that was the end of it.

Another time a student's enraged father came to school with a shotgun. Pershing met him outside and challenged him to get off his horse, put down his gun, and the two of them would fight it out. They fought and Pershing won. Then he dressed the father's cuts. Again Pershing was in charge, saw his duty, and carried it out regardless of the circumstances.

To get to law school Pershing had to earn more money. To do that he had to get a better position, which meant earning a degree from a teacher's college. He spent the summer at the state teacher's school in Kirksville, then taught a second year in Prairie Mound, followed by another summer of schooling, and a third year teaching in 1881.

The summer of 1881, Pershing was back in Kirksville again, where his sister Elizabeth had also enrolled. Reading the newspaper one Saturday, he saw that there would be an exam to select a student from their congressional district for an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He and Elizabeth, called Beth, talked about it. John had never considered a military career and didn't know much about the Academy except that great Civil War generals had gone there, including the senior commanders from both sides, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. That connection appealed to him, as did the fact that tuition was free to everyone who was admitted. He could get through college much faster if he didn't have to teach most of the year to pay for a few months of summer courses. Academy graduates also had guaranteed jobs as commissioned officers. The military commission meant less to him than the fact that a West Point education would make him a better teacher and, one day, a better lawyer. He imagined himself a leader in the lecture hall or the courtroom, not on the battlefield.

John's sister encouraged him to apply and helped him study for the local admissions tests. Eighteen candidates gathered in Trenton, Missouri, to compete for the honor of applying to West Point from their district. Through a battery of written and oral exams, students were eliminated until only two were left. The examiner asked the other applicant to explain the function of the infinitive in the sentence "I love to study." He got it wrong. Then it was John Pershing's turn. He correctly answered that the infinitive "to study" is the object of the verb.

When his mother heard that John had won the competition and would take the admissions test at West Point, she was proud of her son. Until then she hadn't realized, though, that graduates from the Academy had to serve in the army. When she heard the truth, it made her anxious to think her firstborn would be traveling out of state for the first time in his life to go to college and then become a lieutenant in the army. It would have eased her motherly burden if, like her son and most of the rest of the country, she had believed American soldiers would not go to war again in the foreseeable future. What was there to fight about? The country had knit itself back together after the Civil War, its boundaries stretched from coast to coast, and its borders with Mexico on the south and British Canada on the north were peaceful and secure. Oceans separated it from other foreign powers to the east and west. About the only fighting on the horizon was against Indians as settlers continued pouring westward and crowding them off their traditional homelands. Still, Mrs. Pershing sensed looming war and worried.

Like a number of other West Point applicants, Pershing went to New York months ahead of the entrance exam to enroll in a prep school that specialized in Academy admissions tests. The course at Colonel Huse's School in Highland Falls was four months long and carefully tailored to the military curriculum. Since the school was just outside the entrance gate, Pershing and his eleven Huse classmates could go onto the Academy grounds for the evening parade and retiring of the colors. As he watched, it seemed almost impossible that he might soon be one of those cadets in their immaculate uniforms marching with absolute precision.

That year, all twelve of Colonel Huse's hopefuls passed their tests to join the class of 1886. Cadet Pershing began the summer ahead of his first, or plebe, academic year, with the other 128 members of his class in "Beast Barracks." Before the Civil War, a cadet's first West Point experience was summer camp—living in tents, marching long hours, and enduring punishing drills and exercises to equip him physically and mentally for life at the Academy. After the war, in order to prepare even more fully for what lay ahead, the cadets spent three weeks before summer camp segregated in the barracks under the command of upperclassmen. These intense weeks were designed to break down the individual cadet and remake him as part of a cohesive military unit. Students were treated like wild beasts being broken, hence the name Beast Barracks.

The "Beast" experience taught a cadet to obey immediately and without question, to think under pressure, to control the onset of panic, and to go beyond what he thought was the limit of his endurance—all essential characteristics of a military leader. Cadet Pershing quickly realized that grammar, geography, history, and everything he'd studied for his entrance exam meant nothing for now. What was important was following orders instantly, completely, and with enthusiasm. Duty and discipline were the only standard.

New cadets were at the mercy of their upperclassmen superiors. Upperclassmen yelled at them for everything, criticized them mercilessly, and punished them incessantly. Plebes had to stand at an exaggerated form of attention with their chins on their chests and shoulders square. Their clothing had to be in order and spotless at all times. They could never be late for anything, never question an order, never talk back. They spent hours practicing the most basic marching drills, learning the fine points of military courtesy and decorum, and keeping their quarters and the campus immaculate.

Exhausted after a grueling day of marching, they could be awakened in the middle of the night for foot inspection or any other whim of the upperclassmen. For the least mistake, an upperclassman could order a plebe to do almost anything: chew on rope, eat soap, pick up all the ants in an anthill one at a time, eat with his feet off the floor, balance on his stomach on a pole and pretend to swim, do deep knee bends until he passed out, stand at attention on his head, or whatever else he could think of.

After the rigors of Beast Barracks and summer camp, the plebes moved into their dormitories to start the fall term, though the intense hazing continued relentlessly.

The Academy curriculum covered all the traditional academic subjects including English, mathematics, history, chemistry, and French. Then there were military subjects from fencing and riding to gunnery and tactics, plus endless hours of marching, drill, inspection, and parades. These last were heavily emphasized, and cadets received demerits for the slightest infraction. A crooked cap, a muddy boot, talking or moving in ranks, excessive arm swinging while walking, or any one of a hundred other tiny mistakes drew a tongue lashing and a demerit, known informally as a "skin."


Excerpted from PERSHING by John Perry Copyright © 2011 by John Perry. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


A Note from the Editor....................ix
Chapter One: teacher and student....................1
Chapter Two: high Words of praise....................17
Chapter Three: Cuban Campaign....................31
Chapter Four: mastering the moros....................47
Chapter Five: "Banzai, Jack!"....................67
Chapter Six: pacific odyssey....................81
Chapter Seven: Beyond understanding....................97
Chapter Eight: over there....................109
Chapter Nine: making ready....................125
Chapter Ten: Into the Fight....................139
Chapter Eleven: turning the tide....................153
Chapter Twelve: Victoire!....................167
Chapter Thirteen: General of the Armies....................179
Chapter Fourteen: to truth-telling and to Courage....................193
About the Author....................223
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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    I have always been fascinated by great generals and their monume

    I have always been fascinated by great generals and their monumentous achievements in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Hence I found the book “Pershing: Commander of the Great War by John Perry” to be an excellent treat.
    In this biography of John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, the author paints a portrait of Pershing, not only as the brilliant yet demanding and difficult-to-please military leader in action-“nothing imperfect escaped his notice or criticism”-but also chronicles Pershing’s role as a loving husband and father, an excellent dancer, and a true friend to those fortunate enough to know him well off the battlefield. There's not much about his childhood, but his life at West Point and in the military before World War I is thoroughly explained, and really interesting to read. Pershing served in the West, learning to get along with Native Americans and Mexicans; apparently he was quite good at peacemaking and helping everyone live with each other. This experience served him very well when he was posted to the Philippines and expected to quell the Muslim Moro minority, which was inclined to fight the Americans as much as they had fought the Spanish. Pershing did his best to make friends with the Moros and calm the tensions in the area, and he was very successful. Such excerpts from the life of this great man really makes this a must read for biography fans.

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  • Posted May 17, 2012

    Pershing is one of America's unsung heroes. The first man to be

    Pershing is one of America's unsung heroes. The first man to be promoted to General of the Armies, he's largely responsible for winning WWI but is all but forgotten today. John Perry does an admirable job of reminding the rest of us who General John J. Pershing was and why he deserves our respect and a place in history. Perry does a good job showing Pershing's courageous and strong sense of honor that made him only fight when there was no other alternative and treating all men-regardless of race- as he would himself expect to be treated.He took the command over black soldiers, the “Buffalo Soldiers”- when nobody else was willing to take on the job of leading black men- and turned them into a powerful fighting force. With the American Indians he treated them with respect and always chose peace talks rather than battles with them, earning their trust and cooperation. He worked the same way with the Muslim Phillipino natives, and as a result acquired peace there as well. Would recommend this book to someone interested in reading about General John J. Pershing, about his life and accomplishments. This book does cover a broad span of time, and the reader will gain an insight into the world events that occurred during Pershing's lifetime.

    I didnt expect Pershing has a great contribution on what we Filipino today.
    Two thumbs up! Great book... well written.

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  • Posted March 16, 2012

    How can I say I enjoyed a book about war and an American genera

    How can I say I enjoyed a book about war and an American general? Because it is a well crafted story which carries you through the career of General Pershing, a man who has been somewhat neglected by history. Pershing began his Army service in the Philippines, Mexico and Cuba. This served as a critical training ground for Pershing. When President Roosevelt promoted him to general in 1906, Pershing, who had been one of the army's oldest captains, was now one of its youngest generals. Pershing became a legend in his own time and was the first man to be appointed General of the Armies.

    To rescue France and England, Pershing used the lessons he learned in other theatres of war to establish an aggressive strategy against the Germans that incorporated overwhelming numbers and comprehensive engagement. Not only were there honor and order in his methods, there was victory. Attentive to the last detail, rigid in his expectations of drill and execution, and fiercely protective of every man he commanded, at one time more than a million soldiers followed him into battle and to victory.

    I just finished reading another book about the Great Wars from a Canadian perspective, Marching to War by Pierre Berton. I was surprised by the similarities between General Pershing and several Canadian generals which leads me to believe that those that work hard and do the right thing are often overlooked in favour of leaders who are flashier and more reckless in their ideas and actions. Perhaps a lesson should be learned from this.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Must Read History

    Pershing- Commander of the Great War by John Perry is one in a series called The Generals published by Thomas Nelson. I have as a military wife I seen many pictures of this man hanging in buildings on the Army postson an that I lived on and been at but truly have known very little about this man. I knew his nick name was Black Jack but sadly that is the extent of my knowledge. General John J. Pershing is a huge part of military history and I can't understand why he is not highlighted in movies like McArthur and Patton. John J Pershing was one of two US Army officers to be commissioned General of the Armies the other one he shared this with was non other than George Washington the only difference it that Gen. Pershing got this honor during his life time. General Pershing like a lot of the other famous generals attended West Point. Pershing taught the Army about how to think politically when fighting. He was a stickler for order so the Army was perfect for him. What I found fascinating about General Pershing he was not always popular with the way he went against the way he was taught at West Point. He was his own officer and did things that were not by the book but he very much was about adhering to the Army rules and regulation. I think everyone should read about General Pershing. I think he must have inspired all the Generals from World War II that are known and loved. I think John Perry did a great job with writing this book. I found this book easy to read. It gave me a new knowledge of a true hero that I feel that the education world has left out of its curriculum. If you like history or if you like stories about hero this is your book. I give this book four stars. I rate the books I read on a scale of one to five stars with five being the best. I must let you know that as a part of the Booksneeze bloggers network, I received a complementary copy of this book. The review I have written are my own opinions.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Great Biography of an Unknown Man

    As a lover of history and military history, I was thrilled to review "Pershing; Commander of the Great War" by John Perry. The General was not discussed much in school, only that he lead the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. There is so much more to this man's life and military career. His biography read like a fiction novel; I couldn't wait to turn the page to read what happened next in his life.

    He led an army of more than a million men in France, defeating the seemingly invincible German war machine with only six months of offensive action. He was an American hero, and yet, today, General Pershing has faded away to the second or third tier of America's historical memory. His accomplishments rightly place him in the company of great generals such as MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton, all of whom he commanded and inspired, and all of whom he outranked. He shaped world events in Europe as surely as Woodrow Wilson or David Lloyd George, so why has America forgotten him? (copied from book synopsis)

    Beginning with his birth and early years during the Civil War, Pershing learned all the attributes that he would later need as a leader, from his father. His first career as a teacher proved successful as he continued his studies through law school. A chance exam for entrance to West Point, polished his leadership skills and sent him to locations he'd only dreamed about growing up in farmland Missouri. His rise to General was unprecedented and never has there been a military man since to rival his credentials or brilliant strategic mind.

    History neglects Pershing but this book does not. Perry dedicates the majority of his work to explaining why the General was so perfect in all he did through his career. It begins with his personal home life, which was rarely shown to outsiders of his circle. Perry shows us his dedication to learning all that he could so he could do his best at everything he tried. His love of family was unwavering, even in the face of heartache and loss. Perry shows us the private Pershing in the letters he wrote to his wife, children and close friends.

    The recounts of his military career is astounding. From Cuba to Germany, Perry depicts life as it was for Pershing, blood and guts and everything in between. The book gives a fair balance of military life and personal life. The General made sure he could distinguish between the two. Although a minute biography, this book covers the important highlights and low points that depicts a clear picture of a remarkable man.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    Interesting and Engaging

    Thomas Nelson, Inc., provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review of it. Per Uncle Sam's instructions, I have now made that fact glaringly clear. Let me also make glaringly clear that Uncle Sam should be ashamed of himself for not seeing to it that I knew who the subject of this biography was BEFORE I read this book at the age of 34.

    "Pershing: Commander of the Great War" is a very straightforward biography, setting forth the major themes and events of the general's life in chronological fashion. At 224 pages, it is a somewhat shallow coverage of the subject, but its very brevity--along with an engaging writing style--make it accessible to the non-specialist. Within a few pages, I found myself genuinely interested to see what happened next, and impressed that Perry's handling of a military hero fleshed out his personality enough to make me care about him as a human being.

    A couple of discordant notes made the experience a bit jarring in places. Foremost of these was the author's attempts to squeeze every possible bit of traction out of any mention Pershing ever made of his religious views or beliefs. I understand that the book was commissioned and published by an overtly Christian publishing house, but Perry's efforts to make a religious figure out of an individual he had already labeled as a heavy drinker and a lady's man did not ring true. The overall impression in the book is of a decent man with strong principles, devotion to duty, and his own take on right and wrong. He's a likable figure, and a brilliant strategist, but a great moral leader he was not.

    I was utterly baffled by Perry's handling of the end of World War I. He talks about Pershing's views on the signing of an armistice, versus an unconditional surrender. Though the general may not have been happy with events, and his pessimism was proven to be founded, Perry behaves as if Germany was given a slap on the wrist and this was the sole reason that World War II happened. He never once mentions the crushing reparations demanded of Germany and the other Central Powers by the Allies, though it is generally accepted historical doctrine now that the humiliation Germans felt over those reparations helped vault Hitler into power.

    Like most biographies of its kind, this book contains photographs of the subject and his family between each major section, with one significant difference. I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to caption the photographs in such a way that they inform you of huge events about which you CANNOT POSSIBLY HAVE READ YET, but this was an enormous frustration. I had to just skip over the photographs after one maddening spoiler made me almost want to stop reading.

    Those grumbles having been put forth, however, I really enjoyed this book for what it was intended to be--an introduction to an extraordinary man of whom Americans need to be reminded. If you're looking for a good history of WWI, this is not it, and if military biographies bore you, this book probably won't be your cup of tea. But if you like a solid story with characters you can cheer for and the poignancy that a true story brings to a book, you'll probably appreciate this one.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Good book!

    I love history though I am not a "history buff". That's why when I was given the opportunity to read, "Pershing, Commander of the Great War" by John Perry, I jumped at the chance! This book was provided complimentary by the publisher through BookSneeze and I thank them for the privilege of reviewing this book.

    While I cannot attest to the validity of the historical facts, I can say without a doubt this book is an easy read that is well thought-out and articulated. Perry does a fantastic job of representing all facets of John J. Pershing, from military leader to romantic husband as well as loyal friend to those privileged enough to know the man behind the uniform.

    It is sad that Pershing is a war hero many have forgotten. He was a man who lived bravely and fearlessly. A commander who knew great leaders cannot worry about popularity, that they must be willing to "practice what they preach" and who understood the importance of the smallest details. He was a man who lived to do what was right and not what was easy. A man of great integrity and honor, someone we all need to emulate in our lives regardless of our occupations or social statuses.

    I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about one of America's forgotten heroes. Pershing was a man among men and one we can all learn from today. Anyone looking for a leader worth learning from should read about this courageous commander and man!

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Pershing: Commander of the Great War, is a book in John Perry's series The Generals. This series is about the great generals that America has seen in their major wars, such as this book, which is about World War One.

    No other American military leader is so important and yet so little known as John J. Pershing.

    He led an army of more than a million men in France, defeating the seemingly invincible German war machine with only six months of offensive action. He was an American hero, and yet, today, General Pershing has faded away to the second or third tier of America's historical consciousness. His accomplishments rightly place him in the company of great generals such as MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton, all of whom he commanded and inspired, and all of whom he outranked. He shaped world events in Europe as surely as Woodrow Wilson or David Lloyd George,so why has America forgotten him?

    John Perry chronicles the life of a strong, inflexible leader who was an insufferable nit-picker on the job, but a faithful friend, tender husband, and devoted father. To the small group fortunate enough to know him, Pershing was a great and wonderful man. To the rest, he was stiff, cold, impersonal, and best avoided.

    I found this book very interesting. I really enjoyed the main aspect of it, which is John Pershing and his life, inside and outside, of the war. I was captivated by the book in a way where I could not put it down. I do like history, although not my favorite subject, but I have never enjoyed a book about History so much. I was very happy when I found that this book wasn't just about the war, but Pershing's life also. At first, I was skeptical about reading a book about a person, because I thought it would be full of info, and, quite frankly, boring. I found this fact to be fiction. I would definitely recommend this book to any person who enjoys history and reading about the people who helped make this country what it is today.

    * I received my copy of this book for free from booksneeze*

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Great book!!!!!

    Let me first say that i love these The General Series books. I have them all and have enjoyed all of them.Pershing is no different . I must confess i didn't know that much about him .A lesser know General than most of them ,but a very important one .Pershing and the writer John perry once again hits a homerun with a detailed encounter into this man whom alot know nothing about.his victories on the battlefield and off the battlefield.this is truly a great read for anyone who loves history. Great book!

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