cover image George Marshall: Defender of the Republic

George Marshall: Defender of the Republic

David L. Roll. Dutton Caliber, $34 (704p) ISBN 978-1-101-99097-1

Lawyer Roll (The Hopkins Touch) continues profiling members of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations with this authoritative and engaging biography of George C. Marshall, the five-star general who served as FDR’s chief of staff during WWII and both secretary of state and secretary of defense for President Truman. Roll convincingly argues that Marshall’s character made him “the most revered and trusted figure in Washington” and delves deeply into Marshall’s humility, judgment, and preference for delivering constructive criticism directly to his superiors. Marshall’s deserved reputation for integrity, Roll posits, proved key to his ability to dictate Allied military strategy and build bipartisan consensus for the relief bill for postwar Europe that would later be known as the Marshall Plan. Roll enlivens the narrative by including some previously unpublished correspondence and excerpts from the memoirs of Marshall’s second wife, Katherine Marshall, and family friend Rosa Page Wilson, which portray a doting husband and devoted family man with a dry sense of humor. While Roll’s admiration for Marshall is obvious, he is unafraid to point out Marshall’s mistakes and failures (including his refusal to integrate the army and the failure of his 1946 mission to unite China’s nationalist and communist governments). This well-written and captivating book will stand as the definitive biography of Marshall. Agent: John Wright, John W. Wright Literary Agency. (July)