- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In contrast to Col. Gentile’s review that I mentioned last week, and the negative review by the British hussar that I carried the other day, here’s the word on my new book from the just-released issue of the Army’s Military Review:
THE GENERALS IS a controversial but nonetheless important read for military professionals seeking to understand the management of Army generals over the last 70 years.
. . . Readers may be tempted to dismiss Tom Ricks’ book as one written by a prejudiced outsider, a journalist who has never served as a soldier. This would be a mistake. The Generals contains considerable research, much from first-hand sources of soldiers, officers, and general officers. Those sources frame Ricks’ discussion. Ricks also draws material from letters, journals, and duty logs. The reader gets the feeling of looking over the shoulder of people engaged in one of the most dangerous and vital endeavors in which military professionals engage: fighting and winning the wars.
. . . Both civilian and military DOD personnel should read the book. Some readers may find Ricks’ premises questionable and his conclusions unsatisfying. However, rather than avoiding a controversial discussion, the Army and the rest of the Department of Defense should face this discourse head-on and use it to improve itself. Even if some think he fails to diagnose the disease, the symptoms he describes are undeniable, as evinced yet again in the recent series of senior officer meltdowns. The Generals is an excellent source for leader development programs.