Even now, eighty years after its beginning in Europe, the Second World War continues to exert tremendous cultural and social influence on American historical writing. Perhaps one of the best testaments to this phenomenon is the increased interest in biographies of the war’s primary and secondary army commanders. Remarkably there are still quite a number of misplaced or even “lost” personalities who exerted tremendous impact on the course of the war. The guest for this episode of New Books in Military History, Mark T. Calhoun, directly engages the mysteries and legacies of one such individual in his book, General Lesley J. McNair: Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army
(University Press of Kansas, 2018). In this pioneering study of one of the World War Two era US Army’s primary architects of victory, Calhoun presents a portrait of a deeply intellectual and loyal commander who took on responsibility for many unpopular doctrinal and ToE choices. From his early career as a young first lieutenant before the First World War, through to his sensationalized death in one of the war’s most infamous friendly fire incidents, McNair is presented first and foremost as a dedicated civil military servant, devoted to the institution and the welfare of the enlisted men and junior officers who depended upon his expertise and judgment. Mark T. Calhoun is currently attached with the United States Army Command and General Staff College, where he is an associate professor at the School of Advanced Military Studies.