LAFAYETTE — A Louisiana attorney has penned the first-ever
biography of a Mississippi native who took on major roles in shaping
the outcome of both World War I and II.
Steve Rabalais, a native of Morgan City, Louisiana, who now works
as a lawyer in Lafayette, according to KALB-TV,
wrote a book titled “General Fox Conner: Pershing’s Chief of
Operations and Eisenhower’s Mentor.” His work was published by
Casemate Publishers, a publication that dedicates itself to military
history, in October 2016.
According to Rabalais, he was inspired to write the book following
his discovery that information on Conner remains limited despite the
latter’s tremendous contributions in history. The Louisiana lawyer
shared that the works of the Conner during the major wars paved the
way for a number of critical and life-changing events in history.
With this in mind, Rabalais seeks to educate the public of the
late hero’s accomplishments and how these led to the victories of
the more celebrated individuals in the past.
“I looked around to get a Fox Conner book. There was no Fox
Conner book at that time. I thought, ‘Well, you know, I’ve always
wanted to try my hand at writing. Here’s a subject that warrants a
book.’ So I decided to give it a try,” Rabalais said of his
inspiration for the book, according to the Daily
Records show that Conner, who died in 1951, served as Pershing’s
chief of operations during World War I. According to an online
article by Russ Stayanoff on Conner referenced in the Daily Review
article, Conner also was part of a group of colleagues that included
Eisenhower, who went on to head up the Allied forces in Europe during
World War II.
“This is a story about a man who was fundamentally a teacher.
That guy imparted upon a young, struggling Eisenhower traits and
skills and methods that served him well for decades and decades and
decades,” Rabalais said of Conner, according to The
Stayanoff's articles is titled “General Fox Conner: Soldier,
Mentor, Enigma: Operations Chief (G-3) of the AEF.”
Despite his crucial role in history, Rabalais disclosed that
Conner preferred working in the background. However, his
accomplishments had been highlighted by others at the time — a fact
that further encouraged the Louisiana attorney to dig deeper on the
background of his subject. In his research, Rabalais also discovered
how the late hero served as the driving force of the military by
providing the analysis and information to help Pershing with his
For his part, Rabalais shared that the project thrilled him from
beginning to end. The son of a history teacher, the Louisiana
lawyer’s interest was piqued upon his discovery of Conner’s role
in the major wars. He described his experience as “fun,” sharing
that it presented a stark contrast from his life as a lawyer.
“I’ve been practicing law for 30-something years now. You can
imagine how a lawyer’s brain processes things into words,”
Rabalais said in The Advocate. “It’s really kind of fun.
It’s kind of like learning to bat from a different side of the
plate as far as processing of data and putting it forth in written