General Donn Starry and the Army of His Times

Mike Guardia

New biography of General Donn Starry, armor officer who worked to transform the Army after Vietnam, and created the AirLand doctrine.
Date Published :
May 2018
Publisher :
Contributor(s) :
General Martin Dempsey (USA, Ret.)
Illustration :
32 pages of photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612005447
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Silver Medal - 2020 Military Writers Society of America Books Awards

Although he missed combat in World War II and Korea, Donn Starry became one of the most influential commanders of the Vietnam War, and after Vietnam was one of the “intellectual giants” who reshaped the US Army and its doctrines. Throughout his career he worked to improve training, leadership and conditions for the men who served under him.

Starry was a leading advocate for tank warfare in Vietnam and his recommendations helped shape the contours for American armor in Southeast Asia—and paved the way for his success as commander of 11th Armored Cavalry during the invasion of Cambodia.

When commander of Fort Knox and the Armor Center and School in the 1970s, Starry redeveloped armor tactics and doctrine and improved training. In his 16 months as commander of V Corps, he thoroughly tested the doctrine of “Active Defense,” then used his observations to create a new doctrine "AirLand Battle," which paved the way for overwhelming victory in the Gulf War. Like most battlefield commanders from the Vietnam era, Starry’s legacy is often overshadowed by the controversy of the war itself and the turmoil of the immediate postwar Army. However, with the invasion of Cambodia and the development of AirLand Battle, it is hard to imagine anyone who has had a greater impact on modern maneuver warfare.

In this new biography of General Donn Starry, armor officer Mike Guardia examines the life and work of this pioneering, crusading officer using extracts from interviews with veterans and family, and from Starry’s personal papers.

About The Author

Mike Guardia is an internationally recognized author and military historian. A veteran of the United States Army, he served six years on active duty as an Armor Officer. He has twice been nominated for the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Book Award and is an active member in the Military Writers Society of America. He holds a BA and MA in American History from the University of Houston. He currently lives in Minnesota.


“This short and fast-paced book highlights the career of a remarkable officer and soldier’s soldier, from the post-World War II occupation of Germany, to his tours in Vietnam, to his efforts to restructure the Army to defend Western Europe in the 1980s.”

- New York Journal of Books

“Mike Guardia’s biography on GEN Donn A. Starry is a must-read for professional soldiers. Crusader is the story of the Army’s most important change agent of the last half of the 20th Century. Guardia’s skillful prose lends context to Starry’s writings, oral histories and development as a leader… Mike Guardia through his portrayal of Starry’s life and times teaches that future victories emanate from the vision, courage and commitment of leaders who do in peacetime the heavy lifting of organizing, equipping and training an army.”


"Guardia’s book belongs on the bookshelf of leaders throughout the joint force."

- Naval Historical Foundation

"An easy and engaging read heavily laced with extracts from General Starry’s personal papers, this book provides a combination of biography and history. Of greatest interest to professional soldiers are Starry’s observations on the art of linking operational design with technology, doctrine, and training."

- Parameters, Spring/Summer 2019

"I reckon this biography should be required reading for serving officers: the style is thoroughly engaging, and the lessons are timeless and of relevance to all aspects of leadership. This is probably the finest biography I've reviewed."

- Miniature Wargames

"...allows the reader to see into both the military man and the circumstances which helped create him."

- Military Writers Society of America

"Guardia’s book belongs on the bookshelf of leaders throughout the joint force."

- Campaigning: The Journal of the Joint Forces Staff College

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