Book Review: Dogface Soldier: The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.


by Wilson A. Heefner

Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri, 2010. Pp. xv, 377. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 9780826218827

In Dogface Soldier, Heefner, a retired Army colonel, has produced several good books on military history, including  excellent biographies of two fine commanders who are today largely forgotten, Walton H. Walker and Edwin D. Patrick, and now gives us a good at the man who was, after Patton, undoubtedly the best American army commander of World War II. 

Truscott  (1895-1965), who lacked a college education, was directly commissioned from civilian life in 1917.  Despite this, and without combat experience in World War I, his aptitude for the military life was such that he passed into the interwar Regular Army as a cavalry officer.  His career ran the gamut of routine duties in the peacetime army, and he
mastered the tools of his profession, becoming a member of the Tank Corps. During World War II he was instrumental in forming the Rangers, and then commanded a regiment, a division, a corps, and an army in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, with outstanding results, before leading occupation forces in Germany and later serving in the CIA. 

Heefner covers the general's life in considerable detail, gives us some excellent battle pieces, and a particularly good look at how Truscott could turn ordinary troops into excellent soldiers.

A solid biography, this will be valuable reading for those interested in the Mediterranean Theater, the U.S. Army in World War II, and leadership in war.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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