General Matthew B. Ridgway: From Progressivism to Reaganism, 1895-1993

Article excerpt

GENERAL MATHEW B. RIDGWAY: From Progressivism to Reaganism, 1895-1993, Jonathan M. Soffer, Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT, 1998, 246 pages, $59.95.

Jonathan M. Soffer provides a remarkable account of one of the most venerable 20th-century US military leaders-General Matthew B. Ridgway. This book is not, nor should be considered, a chronicle of Ridgway's famous battles; it focuses on his ideology and politics. Soffer uses Ridgway's battles and military assignments as the vehicle to detail how this decisive, single-minded warrior professed his "corporatist" ideals through two world wars, the Cold War and into President Ronald Reagan's administration.

Soffer examines Ridgway's formative years, his first military assignments in Nicaragua and eventual command of the 82d Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps during World War II. Soffer then focuses on Ridgway, the soldier-diplomat, who despite being a rough and somewhat apolitical officer survived political assignments during President Harry S. Truman's administration, assignment as the theater commander in Korea and involvement in the Reagan administration.

In later years, Ridgway persistently lobbied for a strong military based on an industrial society. …


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