Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy (1875-1959) served as the most senior US military officer on active duty during World War II. As Chief of Naval Operations (1937-1939), he oversaw the US Navy’s preparations for war. After retiring from the Navy, he was appointed governor of Puerto Rico in 1939 by his close friend President Franklin D. Roosevelt, before serving as US Ambassador to France (1940–42) in Vichy where he had limited success keeping the Vichy government free of German control.
Leahy was recalled to active duty as personal Chief of Staff to FDR in 1942 and chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff throughout World War II. He continued as personal Chief of Staff under President Harry S. Truman until his retirement in 1949.
“This is probably the definitive biography of Admiral Leahy... Adams has worked hard on this book: it is well written, well researched and comprehensive.” — James Leutze, The American Historical Review
“[A] workmanlike and overdue biography of a naval officer too long relegated to the shadows... Biographer Adams reminds us that the reticent admiral was a truly unique figure... The author relates that Leahy once told an aide that when asked about him the aide should, ‘Tell him anything so long as it’s the truth.’ Professor Adams has heeded that admonition and while the result isn’t racy, it is certainly sound.” — Richard S. Cloward, Naval War College Review
“Henry Adams has produced an excellent and much needed chronicle of a man generally ignored during most of his active life by the mass media. In addition, the book is enjoyable to read.” — Burton Wright, Armed Forces & Society