Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pershing: Commander of the Great War


“Pershing: Commander of the Great War” by John Perry is one of six books in The Generals series and is about the great American military leader, John Joseph Pershing. Pershing’s earliest memories were of war. The Civil War was raging on while he was a small boy growing up in Laclede, Missouri. After the war ended, the Pershing family became one of the richest families in the county. Pershing lost his interest in becoming a soldier and decided to become a lawyer. The family luck and fortune ran out so Pershing had to teach school in order to save money to attend law school. Pershing decided to apply to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York because his tuition would be free. West Point helped form Pershing into the man he became. He followed all the rules and was all business. He expected the best out of his underclassmen and later the soldiers serving under him. After he graduated from West Point, Pershing was sent to Fort Bayard in New Mexico. In chapter 2 we learn about his time spent in New Mexico and his role in the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota. After Wounded Knee, Pershing was assigned to the University of Nebraska as a professor of military science. Chapter 3 tells of Pershing’s assignment in Cuba alongside Theodore Roosevelt. In chapter 4 we learn how Pershing wins over the Moros while stationed in the Philippines. Chapters 5, 6 and 7, tell of how Pershing meets his soul mate, Frankie, and their life in the Philippines and finally the tragic event of Pershing losing his wife and three of his four children. Chapter 8 tells of the Mexican Expedition in which during this time, George S. Patton served as one of Pershing's aides. After the Mexican Expedition, war breaks out and Pershing is sent to Europe. Chapters 9 through 12 tell of World War I and Pershing’s great role in winning the war. In 1919, in recognition of his distinguished service during World War I, the U.S. Congress authorized the President to promote Pershing to General of the Armies of the United States, the highest rank possible for any member of the United States armed forces. On July 15, 1948, John Pershing died in his sleep. He was buried with him men at Arlington Cemetery. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers.