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Lightning Joe: An Autobiography by J. Lawton Collins (166,000 words, 52 illustrations)

A native of New Orleans who graduated from West Point in 1917, General J. Lawton Collins was a division commander and later a corps commander in World War II, US Army chief of staff during the Korean War, and US special representative in Vietnam following the Geneva accords.


“General Collins was one of driving forces in our military leadership during World War II and the postwar period. His autobiography,
Lightning Joe, is a fascinating and dramatic account of those critical years, as well as a warm, personal story.” — W. Averell Harriman

“The route to leadership in combat is long, tedious, competitive and difficult. General Collins’ splendid record indicates that he understood and mastered the challenge. Attaining the highest commands and acquitting himself in magnificent style, Joe Collins added brilliant pages to the already bright history of the United States Army.” —
General Mark W. Clark

Lightning Joe is a remarkably interesting book. It is packed with statistics, dates, and places, and certainly will be an essential reference book for anyone interested in World War II in Europe and the years immediately following that war.” — General James M. Gavin

“Anyone who has wondered how the small Army officer corps of the 1920s and 1930s was able to produce so many effective and often brilliant commanders in World War II will find an answer in this autobiography of General J. Lawton Collins. General Collins recounts his varied experiences in war and peace with exacting accuracy of fact and in an interesting and lucid manner, which makes his book most valuable reading both for the historian and the lay reader wishing to learn more about what it takes to make a successful modern general.” —
General Maxwell D. Taylor

“In this autobiography, General J. Lawton Collins exhibits the qualities of mind which won him the reputation as one of the brainiest of American combat commanders: clarity, judiciousness, incisiveness, and realism... a book which should prove valuable to both historian and the general reader... [an] admirable book.” — Ronald Spector,
Military Affairs

“[H]ere is a soldier-memoirist grappling earnestly to convey the possible benefits of his own tactical experience to future tacticians, as well as to contribute to the historian’s more forthright quest for as true as possible a reconstruction of the past. Collins is a candidly self-critical memoirist... As a memoirist, Collins has met a standard comparable to that of his exercise of command — which is saying a great deal.” —
Russell F. Weigley, The Review of Politics

“The picture that emerges from [the book]... is that of a man of extraordinary good judgment who as a combat commander was neither rash nor overly cautious, an officer who was at once modest and serenely confident of his skills, one who had no time for military posturing... in sum, here is a sharply written and fast-moving account of the life of a man who was intimately involved in some of the most important happenings and with some of the most important people of the present century. It is a book that will appeal to scholars and to general readers alike.” — John Edward Wiltz,
The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“J. Lawton Collins was one of the most important and influential American military leaders of the twentieth century... His descriptions of the fighting in France, the Battle of the Bulge, and the ultimate conquest of Germany offer important insights for anyone interested in the Second World War...
Lightning Joe is the candid, thoughtful appraisal of world-shaking events by a man considered to be one of the most innovative, aggressive, and effective generals the United States has ever produced.” — Midwest Book Review