When four-star general John Rogers Galvin retired from the US Army after forty-four years of distinguished service in 1992, the Washington Post hailed him as a man "without peer among living generals." In " " "Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir," the celebrated soldier, scholar, and statesman recounts his active participation in more than sixty years of international history -- from the onset of World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the post--Cold War era.
Galvin's illustrious tenure included the rare opportunity to lead two different Department of Defense unified commands: United States Southern Command in Panama from 1985 to 1987 and United States European Command from 1987 to 1992. In his memoir, he recounts fascinating behind-the-scenes anecdotes about his interactions with world leaders, describing encounters such as his experience of watching President Jose Napoleon Duarte argue eloquently against US intervention in El Salvador; a private conversation with Pope John Paul II in which the pontiff spoke to him about what it means to be a man of peace; and his discussion with General William Westmoreland about soldiers' conduct in the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition, Galvin recalls his complex negotiations with a number of often difficult foreign heads of state, including Manuel Noriega, Augusto Pinochet, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Ratko Mladi .
As NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during the tumultuous five years that ended the Cold War, Galvin played a key role in shaping a new era. "Fighting the Cold War "illuminates his leadership and service as one of America's premier soldier-statesmen, revealing him to be not only a brilliant strategist and consummate diplomat but also a gifted historian and writer who taught and mentored generations of students."