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Book Review: Pershing

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The first line of Thomas Nelson’s synopsis intrigued me:

No other American military leader is so important and yet so little known as John J. Pershing.

Bold statement. I had to admit I didn’t know who John J. Pershing was, but how important was he really?

I don’t think it would be an understatement to say that General Pershing won Word War I.

For his servies during that war he was named General of the Armies of the United States – a rank I didn’t even know existed. You’ve heard of General of the Army, or a “Five-Star General.” This is higher than that. Pershing was a Six-Star General. The only other person to hold that rank was Founding Father George Washington (and he was named to the position posthumously in 1976).

You’ve heard of General MacArthur? Patton? General Pershing commanded them.

I don’t know how most of us have never heard of him, but I am glad I met him through the work of author John Perry. Pershing: Commander of the Great War is a fascinating look into the life of a great man that few – even in Pershing’s life time – really got to see. I feel¬†privileged to have the opportunity to both learn from his leadership, and be inspired by his life.

Pershing is part of a new series of biographies by Thomas Nelson Publishing called The Generals.

Unlike their Christian Encounters series, the books don’t necessarily focus on the faith of their subjects, but the leadership lessons they can teach us.

As someone geekily enthusiastic about history, and necessarily interested in leadership, I’m excited about looking at more of the books in this series. Normal leadership books are great for their clear teaching, but there’s something about meeting a proven leader through his story and gleaning leadership lessons through his life.

If Pershing were a CEO, his company’s core values would surely be Planning, Communication and Attention to Detail. He exercised all of the rigorously from the smallest assignments to the first global, modern war the world had ever seen. And every time, he defied his skeptics, inspired his people, gained the unconditional confidence of his superiors, and won the day.

If you’re interested in leadership, biography, and/or military history, you can’t pass this one up. I won’t be archiving it on my Kindle any time soon.

One Response to “Book Review: Pershing”

  1. Nick Don December 8, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    I like to think I’m fairly familiar with the world wars, and I knew Pershing’s name, but I don’t know much else about him. I’ve enjoyed Tommy Nelson’s Christian Encounter series, but I’ll have to add this to my list.

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