Kaplan has provided a window into the thoughts, struggles, fears, and triumphs of these soldiers from a century ago as they fought the Germans while mastering the most advanced technologies of their modern world. They were not much different that those who soldier on today in the face of fast-paced change and an evolving character of war. These personal reminiscences of service in the tanks illustrate the fortitude required to fight the enemy, bureaucracy, and non-believers in fielding the capabilities needed to win on the modern battlefield.
National security officials who want to know more about the formation of the American national security state or who are searching for a role model in conducting public service may be interested in this book. In his effort to pass on Goodpaster’s insights regarding national security affairs to subsequent generations of officials, Nelson strikes the tone of a how-to guide: how to become Goodpaster, or at least emulate this thoughtfulness and charisma.
That next generation of leaders who will decide the fate of thousands on the battlefield almost certainly stands in our ranks today. The most valuable thing we can do now is to invest our lives in them, mentor, develop, and counsel them so that when history calls, they will stand ready to do their duty. If we expect to have Eisenhowers and Pattons on tomorrow’s battlefields, we must begin by creating a cadre of Fox Conners today from the leaders currently in our ranks.