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A General’s Life: An Autobiography by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair (338,000 words and 97 illustrations)

In this autobiography, Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981) recounts his youth in Missouri, his years at the US Military Academy at West Point (he graduated in 1915 alongside Dwight D. Eisenhower), his assignments on the US-Mexico border and in Montana guarding copper mines during World War I, his tours teaching mathematics at West Point and in 1941, commanding of the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, his active duty during World War II in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and eventually commanding 43 divisions and 1.3 million Americans in Europe, linking up with Soviet forces on the Elbe in April 1945, sealing the defeat of Nazi forces. Bradley provides vivid descriptions of key figures in the liberation of Europe, including Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, Churchill and Montgomery.

Back in Washington, Bradley describes his years heading the Veterans Administration, his tenure as Army Chief of Staff and as first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff starting in 1949. After being promoted to the rank of General of the Army (five stars) in 1950, Bradley was the senior military commander when the Korean War started; he supported President Truman’s wartime policy of containment and was instrumental in persuading Truman to dismiss General MacArthur in 1951 after MacArthur resisted administration attempts to scale back the war’s strategic objectives.


“The narrative deals skillfully with the planning and execution of campaigns that changed history... an unmatched panorama of 40 years of American military history... A great many writers have taken a crack at describing the 1944 Allied landings in Normandy [but] no overall description of that long, bitter battle on the American beaches, Utah and Omaha, is better than the one in this book.” — Drew Middleton,
The New York Times

“The most unassuming of the WW II military chiefs has (in recompense?) the last, stinging word... a vigorous, accomplished, exceptionally unconstrained narrative... Explosive yet likable.” —
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] surprisingly candid account from a man long reputed to be mild-mannered, discreet, and uncritical of the figures of his time... General Bradley has given us a very informative autobiography. Especially interesting are the sections on American military participation in the North African and Sicilian campaigns, and Eisenhower’s role there; the Normandy landings and subsequent breakout; the Battle of the Bulge; and President Truman’s removal of General MacArthur from command in Korea... He is very frank in his comments on Eisenhower’s weaknesses as Allied commander in North Africa and Sicily, and of Patton’s ill-advised behavior and remarks during that period and later. He is also harshly critical of Montgomery’s “prima donna”-like behavior and his continual efforts to push Eisenhower into giving him the supreme command of all Allied ground troops... With the loss of General Bradley, there are unlikely to be any more top-rank firsthand accounts of this period in US military history. Bradley’s book, therefore, may have the last word, but he hasn’t abused that privilege. He was too fair a man for that.” — Howard C. Thomas,
The Christian Science Monitor

“[A] superb book... a remarkably smooth-flowing account of the life of one of this country’s most distinguished military leaders... Bradley’s candid appraisals of his superiors, subordinates and peers, notably Patton, Montgomery, Eisenhower, Simpson and Hodges, make fascinating reading... this is a first-rate addition to the growing number of biographies of prominent World War II military personalities. Besides being eminently enjoyable reading for casual consumption, it is of significant value to the student of military history.” — Lieutenant Colonel William A. de Palo, Jr.,
Infantry Magazine