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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 (3 ratings)

Non-member price: $63.39

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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.

"I’ve read several biographies of Marshall, but I think [David] Roll’s may be the best of the bunch." (Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times Book Review) • "Powerful." (The Wall Street Journal) • "Enthralling." (Andrew Roberts) • "Important." (William I. Hitchcock) • "Majestic." (Susan Page) • "Engrossing." (Andrew J. Bacevich) • "Judicious." (Walter Isaacson) • "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)

What listeners say about George Marshall

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  • JustinT
  • 24-09-2019

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Stacey Sacco
  • 25-07-2019

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kent K.
  • 30-01-2020

Great Man but only a good book

Mr Roll provides you a lot of good information on General Marshall and I would recommend people read or listen to this book but also read or listen to others on the subject. This could have been a great book, but Mr Roll does virtue signaling throughout the book. He does this by opining on matters where he has no documentation but wants to imply or infer his opinion on the matter. He also brings up President Trump at least 4 times in the book on General Marshall and all seemed to take away from the story and didn’t add to the book. The first time was probably the worst because he brought up Trump Tweets as a comparison to Senator Joe McCarthy use of speeches it just seems to be a blatant attempt to link Trump to McCarthy and it really takes away from the book. The reader was excellent and really made the book a pleasure to listen too.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Damian
  • 26-09-2019

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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Trotterj51
  • 28-08-2019

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Williamson
  • 10-08-2019

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MARIA M
  • 22-02-2020

Focused and consistent.

When completed you won't have an intimate understanding of the man, but you will understand why he was chosen to serve as Chief of staff, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense all within 10 yrs. And you will have some degree of respect. Still there are a lot of holes.

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  • Darrell E. Fisher
  • 19-09-2019

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • allison h eid
  • 28-04-2020

Good but not great

This should be a great biography because Marshall was a great man - one of the very greatest. And David Roll is plainly diligent and and an excellent writer. Unfortunately Roll has a disquieting and very un-Marshall tendency to settle scores with all sorts of people, ranging from William Manchester to Ed Cray to Donald Trump, that seriously detracts from his theme that character matters. This tendency is initially irritating but becomes corrosive as the pages go by. This is unnecessary. Your time might be better spent reading or rereading one of the other excellent Marshall biographies that Roll disparages.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CountryBoy
  • 03-07-2020

A truly remarkable soldier, statesman and human being

The depth and breadth of General Marshall life and the events he participated in is a lesson in ability meeting challenges in a measured and insightful manner. Truly an inspiration to the generation he lived through and generations to follow. We can only hope an individual like him emerges in the future. Will America be able to do so considering the acrimony that exists in the USA.

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  • M Mansour
  • 28-09-2019

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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  • Dubliner
  • 23-05-2020

A first-rate biography

I was wary of purchasing this book because I was afraid that it would lapse into the type of cringeworthy hagiography that mars most of the biographies of another famous WW2 US military leader, Douglas MacArthur. I need not have worried. Roll gives us an objective, unbiased account of the life of a key figure in twentieth-century history. Lack of bias does not preclude empathy and Roll’s empathy for his subject ensures that the biography does not become a dry chronological account of Marshall’s life. Roll’s insight and analysis enable the reader to gain a deep understanding of Marshall’s personality and Marshall's role in some of the key events of the last century. This will surely become the definitive biography of George Marshall for students of twentieth-century history.

Mark Bramhall’s narration is excellent.

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  • Severn
  • 06-08-2019

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.