Robert L. O’Connell

Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower and the World They Forged

One of the most acclaimed military historians at work today, Robert L. O’Connell has shed new light on some of history’s greatest leaders in such national bestsellers as Fierce Patriot and The Ghosts of Cannae. In TEAM AMERICA: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower and the World They Forged (Harper; May 17, 2022), this scholar and narrative stylist examines a quartet of U.S. leaders who, beyond winning two world wars through their individual and collective military genius, played an integral role in establishing America’s dominance in the twentieth century.

“There was once a real Team America, a military industrial colossus engaged successively in what amounted to two World Series of Warfare,” O’Connell writes. “Our country had many assets in these struggles, but among the most important was extraordinary military leadership, which got better and better until Team America forged a true murderers’ row—George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, and Dwight Eisenhower—a string of warrior superstars unprecedented in military history…. Their lives and careers intertwined, like a giant braid in time.… None were truly friends. Yet they used each other brilliantly in a series of symbiotic relationships of increasingly greater consequence, the net effect of which was to give all a thorough schooling in the tricks of the trade.”

Generals must live behind “masks of command,” carefully constructed artificial versions of themselves, ones that O’Connell adroitly lifts to reveal the men below. He delves into the formative years and educations that shaped them, as well as the details of the personal lives they often played close to their highly decorated chests. Tracing the military careers of each, he explores the events that made them unprecedented leaders, and he probes their interwoven roles in the two world wars and beyond. Ultimately, O’Connell seeks the sources of these men’s remarkable charisma, that elusive essential of great leadership.

Robert L. O’Connell worked for three decades in the US Intelligence Community, was a contributing editor to MHQ : The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and most recently was a visiting professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Revolutionary: George Washington at War; Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman; The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic; Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression; and Soul of the Sword: An Illustrated History of Weaponry and Warfare from Prehistory to the Present. He lives in Virginia.

“Always expect the unexpected from Robert L. O’Connell,” says Robert Cowley, founding editor of MHQ, he is “one of our best military historians.” TEAM AMERICA offers a fresh look at four of our nation’s most iconic, storied figures with insight and panache. I hope you will plan prominent attention for this dynamic new history and I look forward to connecting with you about possibilities.

[Recorded on July 6, 2023 and rebroadcast on March 28, 2024]

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      Robert L. O’Connell, PhD, received a PhD in history at the University of Virginia and spent three decades as a senior analyst at the National Ground Intelligence Center, followed by fourteen years as a visiting professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic and Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman, which won the 2015 William H. Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography. He lives with his wife, Benjie, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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