*A Call to Arms*

The author is Maury Klein and the subtitle is Mobilizing America for World War II, and it weighs in at almost 900 pp.  So far it is quite good, and well-written, though fairly slow in getting off the ground.  Here is one bit:

The navy was in no better shape.  It too suffered from an antiquated organization and sclerotic leadership that still looked back to the last war.  When Frank Knox took office, his staff included only a military aide and some secretaries.  The navy had six bureaus but no central  procurement authority and hardly any knowledge of or statistics on the proposed expansion program.  Nor did it have any inventory of existing stocks or catalog of facilities or any semblance of long-range production planning.  Its contracting machinery was primitive and glacial.  James Forrestal, occupying the new position of undersecretary, had neither office nor staff nor defined duties.  He and Knox would have to start from scratch, often butting heads with an entrenched officer corps.

Here is a useful WSJ review.


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