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George Marshall

Defender of the Republic
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 27 hrs and 42 mins
5 out of 5 stars (168 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The extraordinary career of George Catlett Marshall - America’s most distinguished soldier-statesman since George Washington - whose selfless leadership and moral character influenced the course of two world wars and helped define the American century.

“Enthralling.” (Andrew Roberts) • “Important.” (William I. Hitchcock) • “Majestic.” (Susan Page) • “Engrossing.” (Andrew J. Bacevich) • “Judicious.” (Walter Isaacson) • "Powerful." (The Wall Street Journal) • “Definitive.” (Kirkus)

Winston Churchill called him World War II's "organizer of victory." Harry Truman said he was "the greatest military man that this country ever produced." Today, in our era of failed leadership, few lives are more worthy of renewed examination than Marshall and his 50 years of loyal service to the defense of his nation and its values. 

Even as a young officer he was heralded as a genius, a reputation that grew when in WWI he planned and executed a nighttime movement of more than a half million troops from one battlefield to another that led to the armistice. Between the wars he helped modernize combat training, and re-staffed the US Army's officer corps with the men who would lead in the next decades. But as WWII loomed, it was the role of army chief of staff in which Marshall's intellect and backbone were put to the test, when his blind commitment to duty would run up against the realities of Washington politics. Long seen as a stoic, almost statuesque figure, he emerges here as a man both remarkable and deeply human, thanks to newly discovered sources. 

Set against the backdrop of five major conflicts - two world wars, Palestine, Korea, and the Cold War - Marshall's education in military, diplomatic, and political power, replete with their nuances and ambiguities, runs parallel with America's emergence as a global superpower. The result is a defining account of one of our most consequential leaders.

©2019 David L. Roll (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A deeply researched and masterfully written work that relies in part on never-used documents, one that should establish Marshall at the top of any list of American titans." (The Washington Times)

"David Roll has brilliantly brought George Marshall to life in a biography chock full of revealing and inspiring moments, reminding us what real leadership can be." (Evan Thomas, New York Times best-selling author of First: Sandra Day O'Connor)

"An overdue, authoritative biography of one of America's greatest soldier-statesmen...a definitive, nuanced portrait." (Kirkus starred review)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book about a great man!

This book is incredibly well researched and well written. provide accurate and factual information in a very easy to read and digest format. the narration is excellent. I found myself wanting to listen to this book whenever I could.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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George Marshal a true American hero

I loved this book and was sad to have it end. A lover of history and especially W W 2, the gave me wonderful glimpse of a man who literally impacted the world. I will be reading more about him I tried to give 5 stars across the board but it didn’t take

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Grateful for what this man did for our republic!

I knew George Marshall played a big role in WWII but did not know about his contributions before WWII by getting the US Army prepared or his contributions after the war. A great biography about a truly American hero.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A splendid confirmation

Of what I’ve always heard about George C Marshall. The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars across-the-board is because the author – naturally prejudiced in favor of his subject – seems to extol Marshall‘s greatness above all others. Again easy to understand. But there are portions in the book wherein he either seems extra critical of others, or gratuitously delivers some unseemly reflections upon historical figures then and now. At the same time he seems a tad bit anxious to reveal certain prejudices regarding present day leaders - pro and con - that in my mind are tiresome bromides ill-suited to the story or his subject. Nonetheless, a magnificent, timely, and certainly inspiring biography about one of our true Giants. Bravo!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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There are better books about Marshall

Its too bad, this could have been a good book but the author ruined it by dragging in unsupported and unneccessary 'facts' in order to make political points - why else would the author, in writing a book about George Marshall - who has been dead for almost 50 years already - somehow feel the need to drag into the story Donald Trumps approval rating into the story? - along with other gems such as 'there is no proof that GCM was NOT a racist, so therefore he probably was - there was no prood that GCM was not an anti-semite, so therefore he probably hated Jews.

This book is nothing but a platform for the author to make a bunch on unsupported and unrelated claims about a great man - a man who accomplished far more in his lifetime that this author ever will - you should have left your politics out of this story Mr. Roll. GCM was a great man, you are not.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Pass This One By

This book is not a good book if you truly want to learn about Gen. George C. Marshall. It is full of theory and hypothesis, most not substantiated by any documented authority. And the author’s references to Gen. Marshall being anti-Semitic is absolutely laughable. There is no documents and no valid references to this wild allegation anywhere in the historical record. Further, Mr. Roll makes at least three references to our current President, at least two of which were derisive. Come on! I don’t need that in a book about General Marshall; no one cares about your politics, Mr. Roll!

Reading public, pass this one by! There are numerous other seminal volumes on Gen. Marshall; all much more authentic and much more enjoyable. Don’t line his pockets with your money.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful:

A thoroughly enjoyable account of an amazing American who’s self-effacing tendencies may have otherwise allowed his legacy to fade into history.

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The subtitle is 100% accurate!

There is no great drama or excitement here, but there’s seldom is when you have an excellent book about an excellent human being such as General Marshall. The history of true heroes is very seldom spellbinding because that’s not the way that excellent people typically are.

The author prepared a fair and well-written history of a great man, and the narrator did an excellent job presenting the material. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to improve how they manage people and for military training and training of executives in all fields.

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  • Mark
  • Waltham, MA, United States
  • 10-17-19

Amazing history

I really enjoyed this biography of General George Marshall. So much important history of the 20th century is part of Marshall's life. He is probably the most influential American of that century. You get an inside look at WW1, WW2, the cold war, the Korean War, the founding of Israel, and so much more. Marshall is an amazing American hero. I'd rate this impressive and informative book a solid 4.5 stars. There were two areas that kept it just short of a five-star listen to me. One, there was just a little bit too much military history for me - one battle after another in WW1 and WW2. I did find both of those wars interesting from Marshall's perspective, but they were a bit long and I don't love military history enough to love that. Secondly, this book covers Marshall as a soldier and statesman, but is lacking a little on George Marshall the person. I feel like he kept his personal life too private, and he is kept at a little distance. That said, I liked this book a lot. It is a very long book, but I was never tempted to quit. This was all good, with some great parts. I learned a lot and enjoyed it, too. While not reading, I found myself thinking a lot about this great man.

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The Greatest 20th Century American

Along with Washington & Lincoln, never has there been a more “service over self” for his nation than Marshall. His five decades of “we vs me” leadership is a story that begs for not only more noteriety but emulation today. With his understated gentlemanly class, his life exemplified someone who, with WORLDWIDE-impact, truly “left it on the field”! This timely, well-composed & audibly-produced book reflects these qualities of such a consequential man during this most violent period of world history.

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  • M Mansour
  • 09-28-19

Disappointing - very 1 dimensional !

Though it is a through book, telling of fact after another within timelines of Marshall's Life, it fails totally in explaining or diving deeper into his character, his managerial strategies and what drove this important man. Instead we get the usual facts - "he did this...then that..etc" most of which any reader can get from many other historical books. Very disappointing.

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  • Severn
  • 08-06-19

Simply outstanding

An excellent book, excellently read. An outstanding biography of a major twentieth century figure, and a first class listen from start to finish.