The Rise of the G.I. Army, 1940–1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army Before Pearl Harbor

Paul Dickson. Atlantic Monthly, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4767-7
Historian Dickson (Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son) delivers an exhaustive chronicle of U.S. Army efforts to prepare for WWII. Noting that the army grew from less than 200,000 men to 4.5 million between the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the one-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor in December 1942, Dickson credits U.S. Army chief of staff George C. Marshall for tapping the Civilian Conservation Corps for seasoned officers, directing large-scale training exercises that tested the army’s expeditionary capabilities, and purging poor-performing generals from the ranks. Meanwhile, lawmakers overcame isolationist rhetoric to pass the first peacetime draft in American history, and then extend the minimum term of duty from 12 to 30 months. Dickson also documents the contributions of generals including Omar Bradley, George Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower; preparations for the invasion of North Africa in November 1942; and frustrations of African-American soldiers fighting in a segregated army. Dickson marches readers through his voluminous research at a brisk clip, and makes a convincing case that if the army hadn’t been transformed, the war would have been lost. WWII buffs and military history readers will salute this stirring effort. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/20/2020
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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