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George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century by Mark A. Stoler (97,000 words, 21 illustrations)

In a career that paralleled the emergence of the United States as an international power, Marshall was a participant in every significant event contributing to the nation's status as a superpower. From his first combat duty in the Philippines at the turn of the century, through both World Wars, into the cold war and the Korean conflict, Marshall was a key figure in devising and implementing US military strategies and foreign policies. Stoler emphasizes the years 1939-1951, when Marshall served as World War II army chief of staff, special presidential representative to China, secretary of state at the beginning of the cold war and Korean War secretary of defense.

The book is unique in its merging of military and diplomatic history with biography. It includes a chronology and a bibliographic essay. In this
video, the author lectures about the book at the 2016 Vermont Humanities conference.


“Drawing on more detailed works, supplemented by his sound judgments based on his own careful research, Stoler has successfully caught the spirit of the man and his work.” —
Forrest C. Pogue, official biographer of Marshall, former director of the George C. Marshall Foundation

“Useful, fascinating and very informative... Stoler illuminates many historical debates and events...” —
David Eisenhower, author of Eisenhower at War: 1943-1945

“A very readable book based on the most recent scholarship and presented in a way that students can understand.” —
Michael J. Hogan, Ohio State University

“In a skillful work of compression and synthesis, Mark A. Stoler... sets himself an ambitious dual task: to render comprehensible the life of an individual almost no one knew well and to ground this life firmly in the context of the revolution in American foreign relations during the first half of the twentieth century. The enterprise succeeds admirably, partly because Marshall’s career lends itself to such treatment and partly because Stoler demonstrates a flair for selecting the essential from the immaterial.” — H. W. Brands,
The American Historical Review

“This is the best available one-volume biography of this distinguished man... Stoler demonstrates Marshall’s intellectual growth as he came to understand international politics and the limits of power.” — Daniel R. Beaver,
The Historian

“[A] richly researched and balanced assessment... Stoler’s insights into Marshall are many and valuable. He perfectly captures his sterling integrity and the extent of his exemplary nonpartisanship... this is the best single-volume about a true hero.” — Barry F. Machado,
The Journal of Military History

“[A]n excellent book... There have been short one-volume biographies of Marshall before, but this is the best of the lot... Among the strengths of Stoler’s treatment are his careful exposition of the factors in Marshall’s youth crucial to the formation of his character, the importance of his various experiences with the National Guard, the Plattsburg volunteers, and the Civilian Conservation Corps in conditioning his faith in citizen soldiers, and the formative role of his professional education at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth and the Infantry School at Fort Benning.” — I. B. Holley, Jr.,
The Journal of American History

“[Stoler] is able to present the issues faced by the new chief of staff lucidly and with great insight... In sum, Professor Stoler, with style and verve, has produced an excellent summary volume on George C. Marshall and his times... the book [is] insightful, readable, provocative, and manageable. I highly recommend it.” — Douglas Kinnard,
Naval War College Review

“[T]he book breaks through the general’s deliberately cultivated stoic persona and demonstrates the humanity that made him so admired in public and private. Stoler’s work stands as a model of its genre, a concise study that incorporates themes from the large body of current scholarship in the field without ever losing sight of its central character... Stoler captures the complexity of the man and his times in a book that is a pleasure to read.” — Donald A. Ritchie,
The Oral History Review

“This is a useful volume for those who lack the time to read all four volumes of
Forrest Pogue’s biography.” — Gaddis Smith, Foreign Affairs