PERSHING COMMANDER OF THE GREAT WAR
AUTHOR: John Perry
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 2011
The role of a biographer is to recount the life of their subject as objectively and accurately as possible. Mr. Perry acknowledges that while he knew little about General John J. Pershing prior to writing this book, his research led him to discover that Pershing was a remarkable man who was multi-dimensional. Mr. Perry carefully presents aspects of Pershing’s amazing skills as a military genius as well his personal characteristics. He was a fun loving and passionate man whose loyalty to family was boundless.
Pershing’s early aspiration was to become a lawyer. Life circumstances took him to West Point where he learned that “Duty and discipline were the only standard”. Rules and decorum were to be adhered to always. His strong belief in these tenets and his respect of other cultures served him well during his entire career. Perry writes that Pershing was a compassionate man and one who preferred negotiating-fighting to be a last resort. His career included serving in the cavalry out West. During the Spanish American War he commanded a unit of Buffalo Soldiers who distinguished themselves at the battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba. After the war concluded, he served in the Philippines where his accomplishments with the Moros tribes are legendary and these same accomplishments led him to serve as the commander of US troops in Mexico who were to hunt down Pancho Villa. His leadership skills and experience destined him to be commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in the Great War which was, perhaps, his greatest professional challenge.
Mr. Perry skillfully chronicled Pershing’s life-both personally and professionally thereby giving the reader a clearer understanding of this extraordinary man who lived during extraordinary times.
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