A military historian examines four military leaders--Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, George Marshall, and Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower--who exhibited unparalleled military leadership that led the U.S. victoriously through two World Wars.
Insightful and informative, military historian Robert L. O’Connell’s latest book carries a title that might evoke in today’s readers a group of superheroes bent on saving the free world — in this case four Army generals transforming the United States into a global peacekeeper ... The climax of Team America cannot help but be the action-packed, oft-told tales of that leadership — in the councils of state and the terrors of battle — and the significance of each general’s impact ... combines compelling biographies of our heroes as they reach the heights of military, then civilian, leadership during five pivotal decades. O’Connell also explains why industrial warfare grew into a juggernaut, and how they managed to control it to achieve an uncertain peace that still holds.
What makes his latest work stand out is not the facts he presents, or his angle in recounting them, but the voice he employs ... Mr. O’Connell’s story is written more like a sardonic summer read than a solemn chronicle. He sprinkles sports metaphors liberally through his book ... At times Mr. O’Connell slashes through episodes—particularly those involving love affairs, eccentricities or lapses of judgment—with the irreverence of a Monty Python knight skewering a famous historian ... But Mr. O’Connell’s cheeky tone disguises a serious attitude toward research. He dutifully dives into footnotes of biographers such as Jean Edward Smith, and does a creditable job mining his protagonists’ published papers and memoirs ... While his approach sometimes begets sweeping conclusions subject to interpretation or dispute, Mr. O’Connell does a solid job delivering the details faithfully. A delicious blend of insight, wit and history, Team America is a punch-packed introduction to four great military minds and the zeitgeist that produced them.
O’Connell narrates with a lively style, with plenty of lighter moments balancing the rigors of the subjects’ military careers. The sports metaphor referenced in the title sometimes gets self-consciously cute, but on the whole, the book is serious and worthy of the subjects. The author also includes a handful of helpful maps ... A sweeping overview of four men whose careers largely defined the American experience in the 20th century.