The author is Paul Dickson, and the subtitle is The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army Before Pearl Harbor.
For one thing, I enjoyed the examples of “fast action” in this book. For instance, the U.S. passed draft registration Sept.16, 1940. All men between 21 and 45 are supposed to register, and on a single date, Oct.16. Almost all of them do, including people in mental hospitals. Some stragglers register over the next five days, but the overwhelming majority pull it off on day one, and with very little preexisting infrastructure to draw upon, as draft institutions had been abolished right after the end of WWI.
I had not realized how instrumental George Marshall had been, before Pearl Harbor, in investing in building up America’s officer corps.
The famous movie star, Jimmy Stewart, was drafted but then rejected for being ten pounds too light at 6’3″ and 138 lbs. He then put on ten pounds so he could join the service.
The tales of poor morale, mental illness, and prostitution camps (no antibiotics!) in 1940 are harrowing.