Winner of the 2016 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award.
Fox Conner presents the portrait of the quintessential man behind the scenes in U.S. military history. John J. Pershing considered Fox Conner to have been “a brilliant solider” and “one of the finest characters our Army has ever produced.” During World War I, General Conner served as chief of operations for the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. Pershing told Conner: “I could have spared any other man in the A.E.F. better than you.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower viewed Fox Conner, as “the outstanding soldier of my time.” In the early 1920s, Conner transformed his protégé Eisenhower from a struggling young officer on the verge of a court martial into one of the American army’s rising stars. Eisenhower acknowledged Fox Conner as “the one more or less invisible figure to whom I owe an incalculable debt.” This book presents the first complete biography of this significant, but now forgotten, figure in American military history.
In addition to providing a unique insider’s view into the operations of the American high command during World War I, Fox Conner also tells the story of an interesting life. Conner felt a calling to military service, although his father had been blinded during the Civil War. From humble beginnings in rural Mississippi, Conner became one of the army’s intellectuals. During the 1920s, when most of the nation slumbered in isolationism, Conner predicted a second world war. As the nation began to awaken to new international dangers in the 1930s, President Roosevelt offered Fox Conner the position of army chief of staff, which he declined. Poor health prevented his participation in World War II, while others whom he influenced, including Eisenhower, Patton, and Marshall, went on to fame.
About the Author
Steven Rabalais has had a lifelong interest in military history and in the biographies of lesser-known, but historically significant, figures. In his first published work, Rabalais combines these interests with years of extensive analysis of material available at the National Archives, the State of Mississippi archives, West Point, the Eisenhower Presidential Library, and numerous other sources to present the first full-length biography of General Fox Connerone of the most significant, but largely forgotten, American military officers of the early twentieth century.
Mr. Rabalais obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree from Louisiana State University in 1982 and his Juris Doctor in 1985. He has practiced law for more than thirty years and is a founding partner of Rabalais & Hebert of Lafayette, Louisiana.
Table of Contents
List of Maps ix
Chapter 1 Calhoun County 1
Chapter 2 West Point 7
Chapter 3 Biding Time 17
Chapter 4 Getting Started 35
Chapter 5 The War within the War 63
Chapter 6 Fighting with the French 87
Chapter 7 Our Seat at the Table 116
Chapter 8 Home Again 149
Chapter 9 Unlike Ike 163
Chapter 10 Panama 177
Chapter 11 Climbing Their Ladders 197
Chapter 12 Third Time the Charm? 213
Chapter 13 The Zenith of Fox Conner 229