Cover image for George Marshall : a biography
George Marshall : a biography
Unger, Debi, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, [2014]
Physical Description:
552 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Presents a complete picture of the life of George C. Marshall, from his childhood and military training through his role as chief of staff of the U.S. Army during World War II and his leadership efforts as Secretary of State in rebuilding post-war Europe.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E745.M37 U54 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E745.M37 U54 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E745.M37 U54 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E745.M37 U54 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E745.M37 U54 2014 Adult Non-Fiction New Materials
E745.M37 U54 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A major historical biography of George C. Marshall--the general who ran the U.S. campaign during the Second World War, the Secretary of State who oversaw the successful rebuilding of post-war Europe, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize--and the first to offer a complete picture of his life.

While Eisenhower Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, MacArthur, Nimitz, and Leahy waged battles in Europe and the Pacific, one military leader actually ran World War II for America, overseeing personnel and logistics: Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1939 to 1945, George C. Marshall.

This interpretive biography of George C. Marshall follows his life from his childhood in Western Pennsylvania and his military training at the Virginia Military Institute to his role during and after World War II and his death in 1959 at the age of seventy-eight. It brings to light the virtuous historical role models who inspired him, including George Washington and Robert E. Lee, and his relationships with the Washington political establishment, military brass, and foreign leaders, from Harry Truman to Chiang Kai-shek. It explores Marshall's successes and failures during World War II, and his contributions through two critical years of the emerging Cold War--including the transformative Marshall Plan, which saved Western Europe from Soviet domination, and the failed attempt to unite China's nationalists and communists.

Based on breathtaking research and filled with rich detail, George Marshall is sure to be hailed as the definitive work on one of the most influential figures in American history.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

George Marshall spent almost 50 years in public service as a soldier and diplomat. As U.S. Army chief of staff, secretary of state, and briefly as secretary of defense, his impact on the course of American history in the twentieth century was unquestionably immense. Yet, as this well-researched and well-written account confirms, both his accomplishments and failures remain topics of controversy even today. The authors are scrupulously fair in their treatment of Marshall. Their efforts to examine his personal qualities fall short, possibly because he presented a public face of reticence and shunned deep engagement with the Washington social and political elites. But that reticence probably left him vulnerable to some of the vicious attacks he endured during WWII and the immediate postwar period. The authors praise him for his management of the vast military expansion and his ability to cope with the difficulties inherent in controlling a giant military coalition. His decisions regarding the implementation of D-Day and the planned invasion of Japan are justifiably questioned, as are his choices as the Cold War commenced. This is an excellent reexamination of Marshall's career that is ideal for general readers.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Ungers (LBJ: A Life) complete a project, conceived by the late Hirshson (General Patton), for a full-scale biography of this great soldier-statesman that is both comprehensively researched and highly readable, but fundamentally misunderstands its subject. WWI gave Marshall practice in managing a large army and dealing with "difficult allies." In 1939, a combination of talent and influence brought him to the post of chief of staff, placing him at the center of a greater war where his success brought promotion to General of the Army. Marshall's capacities as a manager fitted perfectly the requirements of a global war waged by a grand alliance of temporary convenience. His fundamental skills involved balancing military, political, and economic tensions at the highest levels in a context of strong personalities. Marshall was less adept at the level of operations, like the timing of D-Day, but it was his ability as a manager that defined his postwar career: a secretary of state whose defining and brokering of the economic reconstruction plan that bears his name was recognized by a Nobel Peace Prize. The authors nevertheless present Marshall as a man whose "austere persona" inspired respect and confidence, and conclude his performance as soldier and statesman was "less than awe-inspiring," reflecting "sterling character but unremarkable powers." The authors' conclusion that Marshall's reputation was the construction of America's longing for a military leader above politics and ambition defies the weight of evidence and scholarship, the reasoned judgment of Marshall's contemporaries, and his role as a decisive and positive factor in 20 crucial years of national policy. Agent: Alex Hoyt, Alexander Hoyt Assoc. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

This biography provides an excellent overview of one of the 20th century's most influential soldiers and statesmen. Although born in rural Pennsylvania, George -Marshall (1880-1959) was a quintessential Virginia gentleman for whom duty and loyalty were of the utmost importance. The book insightfully addresses his interactions not only with other major players on the world stage but also his development as a junior officer during World War I and the army's years of slow promotion. The most recent single-volume biography of Marshall since Ed Cray's General of the Army (1990), this work includes a fair evaluation of its subject's strengths and mistakes as army chief of staff during World War II, originator of the Marshall Plan following World War II, and his time as secretary of state and secretary of defense during the early years of the Cold War. The Ungers (coauthors, The Guggenheims) appraise differing views of historians to provide analysis of such controversial events as the attack on Pearl Harbor, troop replacement policy, and the atomic bomb. Their research draws richly on a depth and breadth of primary and secondary sources, including Forrest C. Pogue's authorized four-volume biography. VERDICT Strongly recommended for those interested in military and war history. [See Prepub Alert, 4/7/14.]-Leslie Lewis, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Childish Thingsp. 1
Chapter 2 Learning and Yearningp. 23
Chapter 3 Between the Warsp. 45
Chapter 4 Preparing for Warp. 87
Chapter 5 Retreatp. 131
Chapter 6 "Underbelly"p. 183
Chapter 7 Pacific Woesp. 237
Chapter 8 Europe at Lastp. 277
Chapter 9 Japan-Chinap. 341
Chapter 10 Affairs of Statep. 389
Chapter 11 Envoip. 453
Acknowledgmentsp. 491
Notesp. 493
Bibliographyp. 519
Indexp. 527