The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

The Generals: Pershing – Commander of the Great War

To misquote a Scripture, Churchill I know and Eisenhower I recognise, but who is General John J Pershing? According to his biographer, Pershings’ accomplishments rank him up there alongside great national and military leaders whose influence on our history is almost incalculable. I am not especially familiar with the historical context of this man’s life nor with military strategy and so cannot comment on the book from those persepctives, but I do enjoy a good biography which is why I chose this volume for review.

This is, it has to said, a good but far from inspirational or gripping account of Pershing’s life. He is depicted as a superb military strategist, a leader who alienated and inspired in equal measure and one who was fiercely loyal to those under his command. He was also a well-known womaniser who became a devoted husband and father, only to see his wife and all but one of his children die in a tragic fire. Sometimes I felt it got a bit bogged down in the detail of military manouevres, but then I guess that’s what you get if you read the biography of a General!

However, what puzzles me somewhat is why Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company, chose to publish the life of this man. As if to justify their decision, there is a very occasional reference to Pershing’s faith or religion, and yet we are told nothing about him that indicates that he was indeed a genuinely converted man. In fact it is made quite clear that, both before his marriage and after the death of his wife, he was involved in sexual relationships outside of marriage, something condemned by God’s Word. Therefore , it is highly questionable,to say the least, for a Christian company to portray this man as some sort of a Christian role model which, by publishing this account of his life they are in effect doing. Let a secular company do that and then mixed messages won’t get sent. I, for one, couldn’t recommend the book.

For the purpose of review, I received a complimentary copy of the book from the Publishers. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

Thomas Nelson Publishers (11 Oct. 2011) Review written in 2012


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