Academic journal article Military Review

Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II

Academic journal article Military Review

Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II

Article excerpt

ROOSEVELT'S CENTURIONS

FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II

Joseph E. Persico, Random House

New York, 2012, 672 pages, $ 35.00

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, HIS admirals, and his generals is a subject thoroughly written about and to write something new is difficult. The best anyone can do is to give the subject a new viewpoint. Joseph Persico accomplishes this goal. However, I question Persicos' historical facts.

The author argues that Roosevelt "was not a military meddler in a league with Churchill--Roosevelt was largely content to have the professionals wage the tactical war. But on the strategic level, he retained for himself the consequential decisions."

Persico says Churchill convinced Roosevelt that a North African invasion against the Vichy French instead of against the Germans in Europe was a wise military policy and not simply a naked imperialist objective. Eisenhower described this decision as "The bleakest day in history." So why did we do it?

Persico writes favorably about Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and most negatively about Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King. Those with no knowledge of King's contributions during the war would believe King a dreadful human being and someone who did not have the qualifications to be commander in chief of the U. …

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