Omar Bradley commanded more Americans in combat than any other General before or since, at its peak his 12th Army Group numbered 1.7 million men! In the pantheon of World War II leaders he is over shadowed by bigger characters such as Patton or MacArthur. Yet in 1943 Patton was his commander, but by 1944 he commanded Patton.
The war reported Ernie Pyle dubbed him the “GI’s General” and wrote:
“If I could pick any two men in the world for my father except my own dad, I would pick General Omar Bradley or General Ike Eisenhower.”
I’m joined by Jeffery Lavoie, his new book The Private Life of General Omar N. Bradley investigates the legend. Jeffrey is a PhD researcher at the University of Exeter (UK) where his studies concentrate on Modern Religious Movements and Victorian Studies. He is also a minister, lecturer, editor and a WW2 researcher .
The life and achievements of General Omar Nelson Bradley are legendary. During World War II, the five-star general was a key figure in the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. But his private life has always lain just outside the reach of the media. Bradley has long been portrayed as a soft-spoken gentleman. This media-driven stereotype has pushed him aside in America’s collective memory, which more readily recalls flamboyant leaders such as Patton, Eisenhower or George C. Marshall.
This book reexamines the prevailing view of Bradley through a reading of unpublished sources and letters, paying special attention to his relationship with his second wife Kitty Buhler and his later years (1951–1981), a period largely ignored by previous research. Bradley’s life was far from boring. Behind closed doors were trysts with Hollywood starlets, a penchant for gambling at the horse track and hobnobbing with high-profile stars, writers and political leaders.