The Fifth Star: High Command in an Era of Global War

Front Cover
Praeger, 1994 - 227 pages

In modern times, ten Americans rose to five-star rank: Pershing (who chose to wear only four stars), Leahy, Marshall, King, Arnold, MacArthur, Nimitz, Halsey, Eisenhower, and Bradley. In concert with the Roosevelts, Wilson, Truman, and Sir Winston Churchill, they were at the helm as the world transformed from the machinations of regional despots to an era of global war. With few exceptions, these men exercised their responsibilities with remarkable integrity and ability. The first part of this book reviews the biography and military highlights of each five-star; the second analyzes and compares the ten to identify common features of the elements of command and leadership.

While studying the careers of these distinguished men, Hall also provides an insight into the analysis of war. He explains that war operates on five levels of perspective: heroism, tactics, operations, theaters, and national purpose. When these levels conflict, even the best leaders are fortunate to escape with their reputations intact. This volume details how these commanders achieved success by understanding and properly maintaining these different perspectives almost unfailingly. Consequently, they reached the pinnacle of power in the military profession.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Principals
John Joseph Pershing
William Daniel Leahy

12 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1994)

GEORGE M. HALL graduated from West Point in 1958 and served five years in the Corps of Engineers. He left the service to teach, returning to active duty from 1977-1982. He is a graduate of the Air War College, the Naval War College, and the Army War College and earned his doctorate at American University. He is a frequent contributor to professional journals of all three services, and presently teaches at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

Bibliographic information