The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
A valued adviser and trusted insider in the highest echelon of U.S. military and political leaders, General Walter Bedell Smith began his public service career of more than forty years at age sixteen, when he joined the Indiana National Guard. His bulldog tenacity earned him an opportunity to work with General George C. Marshall in 1941, playing an essential role in forming the offices of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff; and after his appointment as chief of staff to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1942, Smith took a central part in planning and orchestrating the major Allied operations of World War II in Europe. Among his many duties, Smith negotiated and signed the surrenders of the Italian and German armed forces on May 7, 1945.
Smith's postwar career included service as the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and undersecretary of state. Despite his contributions to twentieth-century American military and diplomatic history, the life and work of Smith have largely gone unappreciated. In Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith, D. K. R. Crosswell offers the first full-length biography of the general, including insights into his close relationships with Marshall and Eisenhower.
Meticulously researched and long overdue, Beetle sheds new light on Eisenhower as supreme commander and the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, and Europe. Beetle is the fascinating history of a soldier, diplomat, and intelligence chief who played a central role in many decisions that altered mid-twentieth-century American history.
"There have been countless biographies of the generals of World War II, and many are excellent. This biography of Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's chief of staff, is one of the best."—Antony Beevor, Wall Street Journal
"This mammoth, exhaustively researched biography presents... a master director of the complex machinery of the combined-arms war waged by allied forces."—Publishers Weekly
"It is remarkable that the man who coordinated planning for the Operations Torch, Husky, Avalanche and Overlord; who negotiated the end of the hostilities with Italy and Germany; and whom Eisenhower, Marshall, and Churchill fought to keep for themselves, is so often overlooked among the pantheon of war heroes. Just as remarkable, however, is D.K.R. Crosswell's long-awaited work on the life of General Smith."—Armchair General
"'Beetle' examines a signifcant player in American history who pretty much excelled away from the spotlight. This is the first biography of his life, one long overdue."—Fine Books
Winner of the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguised Book Award in the biography category in 2011.
"Exceptionally well researched, this comprehensive biography of Walter Bedell Smith is long overdue. Perhaps no other man played so many behind-the-scenes heavy lifter roles in so many key events in mid-twentieth century American history."—Maj. Gen. (ret) David T. Zabecki, author of Chief of Staff: The Principal Staff Offices Behind History's Great Commanders
"This biography of Walter Bedell Smith... is one of the best."—New York Journal of Books
"Crosswell sketches the general intimately involved in planning and executing numerous WWII operations."—Publisher's Weekly
"A very fine book. Crosswell's impeccable scholarship and graceful narration bring to life not only Beetle Smith, among the most remarkable officers in the history of the U.S. Army, but the world and war on which he made his mark."—Rick Atkinson, author of The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943–1944
"Beetle is a splendid biography of one of World War II's major figures. Crosswell brilliantly recreates Walter Bedell Smith's life and role as Dwight Eisenhower's right hand man. Insightful, compassionate and a terrific read."—Carlo D'Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War and Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War
"It is a striking book." —Thomas E. Ricks, author of Best Defense Bookshelf: Meet the 'Beetle'
"Crosswell leaves no stone unturned in recapturing the spirit of the man who stood behind Eisenhower to offer him hope and encouragement during his darkest hours in the war."—WWII History
"This definitive bio of Ike's chief of staff chronicles his many pivotal (and, the author argues, vastly underrated and misunderstood) role."—World War II
"A major contribution to the history of World War II."—Foreign Affairs
"This well-researched biography moves along well and belongs on every World War II bookshelf."—The Past in Review
"Crosswell's Beetle captures the essence of Smith's fifty years in government service.... Without question, this book is required for any future study of the American military participatioon in the Second World War."—Teaching History
"There is no doubt that Beetle....will be the definitive biography of Walter Bedell Smith. It is an exhaustive and thorough study, carefully researched and well-written."—Bowling Green Daily News
"Smith's significant contributions to the Allied war effort receive little, if any, discussion today... Author D.K.R. Crosswell has rectified this omission in his superb biography"—On Point
"Crosswell's masterfully researched volume adds an important dimension to biographical writing and significantly contributes to the literature on the U.S. involvement in the European Theater of Operations during World War II and the Cold War."—Army History
"The author has done an exemplary job of researching his book, and in telling Smith's story he leaves few stones unturned.... Beetle is a most important addition to the historiography of the European Theater of Operations in World War II."—The Journal of America's Military Past
"His story should be required reading for every business executive involved in dealing with a supply chain."—Target Marketing
"Meticulously researched and long overdue.... Beetle is the fascinating history of a soldier, diplomat, and intelligence chief who played a central role in many decisions that altered mid-twenieth-century American history."—Book Bargains and Previews
"Exhaustively researched and eloquently written, Beetle provides readers with an in-depth look into the life of a man whose counsel helped determine some of the most significant events of the twentieth century."—McCormick Messenger
"In this definitive biography, Crosswell shows Smith as Eisenhower's necessary junior partner and offers a view of World War II in the Mediterranean and Western Europe from teh highest operational levels."—Military Review
"Crosswell's account... is detailed and well written." —-Military Review
- American History Award
- Douglas Dillon Award
- Albert J. Beveridge Award
- Distinguished Book Award