Hunter Liggett

A Soldier's General

978-1-62349-745-3 Cloth
6 x 9. 224 pp. 20 b&w photos. 4 maps. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 04/18/2019
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Lt. Gen. Hunter Liggett’s forty-year career spanned the period from the Indian Wars in the territories of Montana and Dakota to the trenches of World War I. For someone who experienced many individual triumphs and battlefield victories—including the final push of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive—he often is overshadowed by figures such as John J. Pershing or George C. Marshall. His quiet demeanor sometimes did not serve him well, but it also masked steely determination. Liggett’s tenacity won Pershing’s attention and admiration, and he went on to direct and win what was at the time the largest single battle in American history. In Hunter Liggett, author Michael E. Shay shows that while Pershing may have assembled the pieces of the American Expeditionary Forces, it was Liggett who made it work.

This first biography of Liggett follows the full life of a doggedly hard-working soldier whose leadership style contrasted and sometimes conflicted with the military culture of his time. Where Pershing employed a “fear and censure” approach to command, Liggett allowed his subordinates to grow into their jobs, all the while coaching them on the best course of action. Where Pershing was feared, Liggett enjoyed the respect—if not affection—of his men. Liggett was a modest man and a devoted student of military history at a time when many officers of his generation relied upon a combination of connections, political influence, and seniority to advance their careers.

Hunter Liggett not only offers readers a much-needed biography of an almost forgotten general but also adds a new and nuanced perspective on the importance of military leadership in the era of the First World War.

C. A. Brannen Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press