I had the chance to finish this book over vacation. This 667-page behemoth is called The Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was written by Stephen Ambrose, an author that I absolutely love to read (who wrote Undaunted Courage, Band of Brothers, Citizen Soldier, etc.).
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I learned about leadership. I learned about the challenges of building international teams. I learned about politics. I learned about WW2.
I came away from the book understanding and appreciating the challenge of large-scale military commanders far better. I think the author’s son put it best:
"Dad believed that the story had to be told for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that it had so much to teach. Readers would not only better understand one of the most important events of the twentieth century, they would come away with knowledge they could apply in their lives. As the central figure of this mighty enterprise, Eisenhower struggled to keep pace with rapid technological development, to meet deadlines despite unfortunate events, and to administer one of the largest beurocracies of all time (the Allied Expeditionary Force). He had to placate one of the world’s toughest board of directors (made up of presidents, prime ministers, and foreign secretaries), as well as direct a host of gifted but temperamental subordinates, and do it all on the world stage. Watching Eisenhower confront these and a host of other challenges, my father believed would impart wisdom and sharpen judgment in a way that textbooks filled with the theories and principles of management would not." (page viii)