Grey Eminence: Fox Conner and the Art of Mentorshipby Edward Cox
To those who have heard of him, Fox Conner's name is synonymous with mentorship. He is the "grey eminence" within the Army whose influence helped to shape the careers of George Patton, George Marshall, and, most notably, President Eisenhower. What little is known about Conner comes primarily through stories about his relationship with Eisenhower, but little is known about Fox Conner himself.
After a career that spanned four decades, this master strategist ordered all of his papers and journals burned. Because of this, most of what is known about Conner is oblique, as a passing reference in the memoirs of other great men. This book combines existing scholarship with long-forgotten references and unpublished original sources to achieve a more comprehensive picture of this dedicated public servant. The portrait that emerges provides a four-step model for developing strategic leaders that still holds true today. First and foremost, Conner was a master of his craft. Secondly, he recognized and recruited talented subordinates. Then he encouraged and challenged these protégés to develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Finally he wasn't afraid to break the rules of the organization to do it. Here, for the first time ever, is the story of Major General Fox Conner.
- New Forums Press
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- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Edward Cox is a major in the U.S. Army. He is currently an assistant professor of American Politics, Public Policy and Strategy in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. He has served in various command and staff positions in combat units for twelve years, including two years in Iraq. He holds a bachelor's degree in American politics from the U.S. Military Academy and master's degrees in public administration and international relations from Syracuse University.
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Grey Eminence does a great job describing Fox Connor's mentorship of Generals Marshall, Patton, and Eisenhower. Ed Cox lays out several key interactions that were instrumental in moving the career's of these men forward. What is truly great about the book is its unbiased look at a brand of mentorship that could be construed as nepotism. Arguably, it was Marshall's, Patton's and Eisenhower's competence that brought them to Conner's attention but Conner cut bureaucratic corners to ensure his men were taken care of. Our Army today is a meritocracy based on an egalitarian model. It is certainly not perfect but in most cases, everyone gets a chance to succeed. Is that the right course? Do Conner's actions fit within that model? If they do not, then what of the outstanding success of Marshall, Patton and Eisenhower? I think this book begins an important debate about mentorship and success in a business where failure is at the cost of lives.