What Beedle could contribute was something approaching forty years of taking the heat and giving the heat, of coldblooded analysis and brutal decision-making. A fussiness about details and the capacity to hang on, jaws closing, when he was tasked with problems had pushed Smith along by 1942 to Secretary to the Combined Chiefs, after which he crowned his military career as Chief of Staff for Eisenhower throughout the battle for Europe. Whenever something seemed more than routinely problematical to Ike, or diplomatically distasteful, or threatened to splash back on Eisenhower's own reputation — Beedle caught the assignment. [p. 263]
The general was fifty-five, down fully fifty pounds from his weight as Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, and swimming in his uniform. He retained the careful neat part, the overclippered country-boy haircut of his prairie upbringing, which set forth a pair of outstretched, bracketing ears of a sort Midwestern kids are called on frequently to defend at recess. Everything else he'd worked on, starting with his long, mealy mouth (normally pinched with judgement), the prominent honky cheekbones, and especially those wide-set bearinglike eyes: level, never missing an evasive maneuver, lit as occasion arose by a respect for true capability or a grim twinkle of amused contempt. Here was the staff officer, after all, who engineered the demise of Patton. [p. 264]
"Yessir," the assistant said.
"And in fact," Beedle continued, "I've often thought of myself with my hands around your neck."
"My God, if he is that terrifying now," one early subordinate murmured, "imagine what he must have been at full weight!" It seemed a long way from the sedate, acquisitive hush of Sullivan and Cromwell. [p. 293]