When President Bill Clinton nominated John Shalikashvili to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993, it represented the climax of a long journey that began in waning days of the Second World War. In Boy on the Bridge: The Story of John Shalikashvili’s Remarkable Success
(University Press of Kentucky, 2019), Andrew Marble
recounts this journey in order to better understand his remarkable personality and how he achieved his uniquely American success story. The descendant of Georgian and German nobility, as a boy Shalikashvili experienced an itinerant life that took him from prewar Poland to southern Germany before catapulting him across the Atlantic to the United States. Though he would make the army his career, Shalikashvili’s embrace of it was a reluctant one that took him from a college ROTC program to enlistment as an ordinary soldier before a grueling officer candidacy program and an initial posting to Alaska set him on his course. As Marble shows, Shalikashvili’s personality was central to his achievements as a military officer, as he demonstrated several nontraditional traits that nonetheless made him a success at his chosen profession.