In The Pentagon, veteran defense writer and novelist David Alexander delivers the inside story on the people who have brought the Pentagon to life, from Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, charged with creating a force that could defeat Germany and Japan, to the 'whiz kids' brought to the Pentagon by John F. Kennedy's Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Alexander's look down the corridors of power unfolds the modern history of the American defense establishment, its personalities and politics, and the evolving role that the Pentagon has played in our national security. From its initial design to its restoration after the attack of 9/11, and beyond, this book tells the story of the Pentagon as it is inextricably linked to the story of America's strategic roles and responsibilities.
David Alexander has also brought his keen and discriminating eye for lyrical prose to his account of the Pentagon, truly making this outstanding work of nonfiction "history as the novel, the novel as history."
Alexander has also departed from a standard chronological approach to narrative history. In tackling as large and ambitious a subject as the Pentagon, Alexander developed a writing plan that replaced an easy and often-used sequential storyline approach with a more complex narrative scheme intended to give far greater scope and depth to the narrative he envisioned for his book.
It seemed the only approach worthy of a subject as large, as timely, as challenging and as supremely important as the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the global wars in which these icons of military power and global presence have played key and decisive strategic roles.
In telling the Pentagon's story Alexander abandoned the strict chronological storytelling format characteristic of other works and wove together a tapestry in prose that drew on disciplines ranging from the technicalities of the building construction trades, to the secrets of stealth warfare, to the intricacies of foreign policy, to the stratagems and behind-the-scenes gambits of international leadership, to the workings of the defense firms that together make up the global defense sector.
Nor has he left out detailed coverage of the diverse personalities ranging from Franklin Roosevelt to Donald Rumsfeld who envisioned, built and guided the actions and policies of the Pentagon from its origins to the catastrophic attack of 9/11, and beyond toward the future.