Melville Goodwin U.S.A. Struggles for Post-War Power

In Melville Goodwin, USA , John P. Marquand looks at what happens to a professional soldier when the war is over.

The story is told by Sid Skelton, a radio broadcaster. As an Army PR officer during the war,  he met and inadvertently pimped for General Mel Goodwin in Paris.

The Army asks Sid to shepherd the General through an interview with a noted journalist, fearing the general’s frankness might embarrass the military.

Sid and his wife find themselves confidants of the General and his wife, who has crocheted dish cloths and managed her husband’s career since his West Point days.

Meanwhile, Sid’s former girlfriend becomes the General’s mistress. He’s more innocent than lecherous:  she’s more ambitious than infatuated.

Wife and mistress fight to turn the Goodwin into their idea of a successful man.

Until becoming embroiled in the Goodwin’s affairs, Sid had little use for the Army. He gradually comes to respect the General. Sid is sufficiently impressed to borrow some of the General’s tactics to unseat his business rival.

Marquand lays his plot skillfully, then lets the characters run the show. His pen lays bare the thin cover of civility that covers the power struggles of army officers, of broadcasters, and of ambitious women.

Melville Goodwin, USA
by John P. Marquand
Little, Brown, 1951
596 pages
My grade A-
1951 bestseller # 7

© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

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