Gonna hit y'all with a book review today. And for once; it is a book I'm not going to fawn over.
If you ask anyone to name American military leaders you are going to get a diverse selection. Bradley and Spruance. Patton and Halsey. Nimitz and Eisenhower. And maybe, if discussing with a serious student of the War; you might get King and Marshall.
However, very few people are going to mention Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief.
Now, Bill Leahy was the fist officer in the American military to for real wear five stars. General Washington would have worn six if we were splitting hairs and General Pershing, when told to design his own insignia, simply had four stars gold plated. Saying that even as General of the Armies wearing more than four stars didn't seem right.
Rank insignia aside; FADM Leahy is certainly an interesting character. During the latter part of 1944; he for all intents and purposes was President. A task he was preformed most adequately. However; the man was far from perfect.
That being said; Phillips Payson O'Brien does his level best to make FADM Leahy seem like the man who won World War II and set the stage for our eventual victory in the Cold War.
His book "Second Most Powerful Man in the World" is a long over due single volume study of FADM Leahy. That being said; I have problems with many of his conclusions and theories. My issues with his scholarly work mainly derive from the lack of footnotes and his mistakes on simple matters of the historical record.
For instance; the United States Navy fielded four Iowa class battleships in World War II.
I had issues taking anything else in the book seriously after that.
Furthermore, Professor O'Brien seems bound and determined to portray General Marshall as an idiot. And I'm not really sure why.
He hardly mentioned FADM King.
And the praise he heaps up FDR is more befitting to a 1946 propaganda news reel than a scholarly text.
Jackie bought me this book for my birthday. I wouldn't recommend spending any money on it.
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