Giangreco’s study fills a vacuum in the literature on Truman. There are many biographies of him, but they deal only briefly with his life before the end of World War I. Giangreco provides thorough coverage of Truman’s career in the military, both as a citizen soldier and then later after the U.S. government federalized his National Guard unit.
Senators will soon be evaluating the President’s nominees to replace James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General Joseph Dunford as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They will have no shortage of material from which to draw tough questions for each new nominee, but they may want to add relations between the two top staffs at the Pentagon to the list. In its recent report, the National Defense Strategy Commission raised concerns over the relationship between the civilians of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military officers under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.