This week, FP presents a running discussion of Best Defense blogger Tom Ricks' new book, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today.
Tom's last two books were deeply reported examinations of the Iraq War. In The Generals, he casts a historical net and finds that the quality of military leadership has declined since the days of Eisenhower and Marshall, as the Army has increasingly failed to punish failure or reward ingenuity.
Initial reviews have been wildly positive. Here's what Publisher's Weekly -- which awarded Tom his own star -- had to say:
"[A] savvy study of leadership. Combining lucid historical analysis, acid-etched portraits of generals from 'troublesome blowhard' Douglas MacArthur to 'two-time loser' Tommy Franks, and shrewd postmortems of military failures and pointless slaughters such as My Lai, the author demonstrates how everything from strategic doctrine to personnel policies create a mediocre, rigid, morally derelict army leadership... Ricks presents an incisive, hard-hitting corrective to unthinking veneration of American military prowess."
We'd encourage you all to pick up the book, and stay tuned for this week's discussion, which will feature a terrific line-up of reviewers, including a few generals.
Jason Dempsey: The real problem with America's generals.
Tom Ricks: A response to the book club