Forgotten Soldier: The Life and Times of MG Harry Hill Bandholtz, A
Author: Patrick V. Garland
Publisher: Infinity Publishing (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 226 pages
A Forgotten Soldier is the life story of a career soldier who gave 37 years to his country. Thrust into a variety of challenging situations, he performed magnificently, but his rewards were not always forthcoming. This humble man achieved much, consorted with heads of state and royalty, but after his death the country he served well turned its back on him. Today foreign governments remember him more.
Forgotten Soldier: The Life and Times of Major General Harry Hill Bandholtz is an intriguing biography about a little known figure in popular culture, who made a significant impact on today's world. Harry Bandholtz, 1864 - 1925, known as the "Father of Military Police," had a long and far-reaching career in the US Army. Graduating from West Point in 1890, Harry demonstrated strong organizational and diplomatic skills from the very beginning. He served in two wars -- the Spanish American War in 1898 and World War 1 in 1917. However, his real talents became important to the United States prior to and after these wars -- from supervising free elections in Cuba, to bringing order to the Philippines by convincing faction leaders to surrender to him and establishing local constabularies to enforce laws, to becoming Provost Marshall General during and after World War I. These experiences provided him with the unique skills necessary to establish the Military Police Corps on October 15, 1918.
The book describes the General's career as a series of outstanding achievements and bitter disappointments. His personal life intruded into his professional one in 1922 with an ugly divorce and quick remarriage to a younger woman. His declining health forced a medical retirement not too long after that and he died in 1925.
Like all biographies, Forgotten Soldier chronicles Major General Bandholtz's life in some detail. However, along with some interesting pictures, like a portrait of the subject drawn by famous Apache Indian Geronimo, a statue of him standing outside a Museum in Hungary, and photos of the diminutive General throughout his career, this book is thought-provoking. The layout is attractive, easy to read and professional. It's well-written and well-edited. The cover supports the topic and message of the content by creating interest in this little known Army General. Moreover, author Pat Garland's extensive research about Bandholtz's involvement in historical events -- like protecting Hungary from being looted by their WW1 Rumanian conquerors and a conflict between miners and mine owners in West Virginia during the early 1920s -- will send the reader to the library and/or the Internet to get more information on these incidents.
A Forgotten Soldier would be of interest to people who like biographies and the history of how organizations came into being. It would also interest people who served in the military -- especially those who served in the Army as Military Police. Although General Bandholtz was a military officer, his most valuable expertise was in diplomacy -- presenting him time and again as a lone force dealing with a more powerful enemy. For that reason, I also recommend this book for political scientists and business managers. It is American history from the perspective of a unique participant -- and most enjoyable.
Reviewed by: Buddy Cox (2009)