A couple weeks ago I finished listening to the book Pershing by Jim Lacey. The book became an excellent driving companion during my travels. Lacey’s book was a great biography in that it effectively told General “Black Jack” Pershing’s story in a way that displayed what made him great but also did not shy away from talking about the man’s faults.
I recommend this book (4.5 out of 5 stars) not only because it is good to learn about history and those who helped define it but because the book offers leadership insight. General Pershing was instrumental in organizing and leading the US army into being a premiere fighting unit as well as excelling as a military diplomat in the Philippines. His abilities shined as he effectively brought about the end of World War I, bringing victory at a time when England and France were on the verge of defeat.
Ironically, his greatest fights during the First World War were not against the Germans but against his own allies. This fight was for an independent and unified American expeditionary force under American leadership in the midst of constant pressure for amalgamation. France and England just wanted to take the incoming US troops and use them to fill up their depleting ranks and under their leadership (a “leadership” that had already spilled the blood of a million troops in ineffective campaigns). Pershing is a great example of standing firm against popular opinion in order to implement an effective strategy.