The Art of Command: Military Leadership from George Washington to Colin Powell

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What essential leadership lessons do we learn by distilling the actions and ideas of great military commanders such as George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Colin Powell? That is the fundamental question underlying The Art of Command: Military Leadership from George Washington to Colin Powell. The book illustrates that great leaders become great through conscious effort-a commitment not only to develop vital skills but also to surmount personal shortcomings. Harry S. Laver, Jeffrey J. Matthews, and the other contributing authors identify nine core characteristics of highly effective leadership, such as integrity, determination, vision, and charisma, and nine significant figures in American military history whose careers embody those qualities. The Art of Command examines each figure's strengths and weaknesses and how those attributes affected their leadership abilities, offering a unique perspective of military leadership in American history. Laver and Matthews have assembled a list of contributors from military, academic, and professional circles, which allows the book to encompass diverse approaches to the study of leadership.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This is a solid collection of nine new essays analyzing and assessing the leadership styles of George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lewis "Chesty" Puller, Henry "Hap" Arnold, Hyman G. Rickover, Harold G. Moore, and Colin Powell. Each man is here classified by a particular leadership strength, e.g., "Cross-Cultural Leadership" for Eisenhower and "Charismatic Leadership" for "Chesty" Puller. The contributors are academic historians and military writers. With good footnotes and a list of recommended reading increasing its value, this fits into most military history and leadership/management collections.

—Edwin B. Burgess
From the Publisher
"The editors have garnered essays on a carefully selected group of distinguished military leaders that hone in on a specific characteristic of the individual's command style...tells the reader about how each man functioned and met the challenges of his particular environment. Together these essays form a pattern of leadership descriptions that represent the best of the art of command." —Journal of America's Military Past" —

"Truly insightful...this engaging work makes Art of Command an indispensible guide on leadership at both the tactical and operational entertaining yet applicable tool." —On Point" —

"Despite differences in the types of command that each man held, what emerges from these essays is the importance of character and their mastery of their craft as critical determinants of their success." —NYMAS" —

"Art of Command excels. The reader can follow each leader from inauspicious beginnings to greatness in the course of a short story that chronicles the development of a particular quality in that leader." —Marine Corps University Journal" —

"The art of command is a well researched and documented collection of historically grounded essays that provide fresh insight into the lives and careers of some of America's most formidable military figures. Highly recommended." —

"A useful and enlightening selection of leaders. A lot can be learned from these analyses." —Baird Maritime" —

"Each chapter is devoted to a particular aspect or style of leadership and to a military leader exemplifying the theme. A sample: integrity and leadership (George Washington); determination (Ulysses S. Grant); institutional leadership (George C. Marshall); adaptive leadership (Harold G. 'Hal' Moore); and exemplary followership (Colin L. Powell), among others." —Book News, Inc." —

"Laver and Matthews have created a guide that will help every reader discern the traits that make an effective leader, from the battlefield and beyond." — The Lone Star Book Review" —

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813125138
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: None Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 294
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry S. Laver is assistant professor of history and political science at Southeastern Louisiana University. He is the author of Citizens More Than Soldiers: The Kentucky Militia and Society in the Early Republic. Jeffrey J. Matthews is associate professor of business and leadership at the University of Puget Sound. He is the author of Alanson B. Houghton: Ambassador of the New Era.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Steven W. Boutelle Boutelle, Steven W.

Introduction Leadership for War and Peace Harry S. Laver Laver, Harry S. Jeffrey J. Matthews Matthews, Jeffrey J. 1

1 Integrity and Leadership: George Washington Caroline Cox Cox, Caroline 11

2 Determination and Leadership: Ulysses S. Grant Harry S. Laver Laver, Harry S. 33

3 Institutional Leadership: George C. Marshall Larry I. Bland Bland, Larry I. 61

4 Cross-Cultural Leadership: Dwight D. Eisenhower Kerry E. Irish Irish, Kerry E. 93

5 Charismatic Leadership: Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller Jon T. Hoffman Hoffman, Jon T. 125

6 Visionary Leadership: Henry H. "Hap" Arnold Francois Le Roy Le Roy, Francois Drew Perkins Perkins, Drew 155

7 Technology and Leadership: Hyman G. Rickover Thomas L. "Tim" Foster Foster, Thomas L. "Tim" 179

8 Adaptive Leadership: Harold G. "Hal" Moore H. R. McMaster McMaster, H. R. 209

9 Exemplary Followership: Colin L. Powell Jeffrey J. Matthews Matthews, Jeffrey J. 231

Recommended Reading 265

Index 271

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