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, 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.
"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.