July 15th, 1948 marked the passing of General of the Armies John J. Pershing. The legendary leader lived a long life of hard work and accomplishment, failure and success. Born in Missouri in 1860, Pershing was a self-motivated student and financed his own education. After earning his place at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, Pershing built a career in the cavalry in the West and in the Spanish American War.
Few American military figures are more revered than General Pershing, who is most famous for leading the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. The only soldier besides George Washington to be promoted to the highest rank in the U.S. Army (General of the Armies), Pershing was a mentor to the generation of generals who led America’s forces during the Second World War.
My Life Before the World War, 1860–1917, edited by John T. Greenwood, is the early-life memoir of General John J. Pershing, available from the University Press of Kentucky.