Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatnessby Walter Isaacson
What made FDR a more successful leader during the Depression crisis than Hoover? Why was Eisenhower more effective as supreme commander during World War II than he was as president? Why was Grant one of the best presidents of his day, if not in all of American history? What drove Bobby Kennedy into the scrum of electoral politics? Who was Pauli Murray and why was
What made FDR a more successful leader during the Depression crisis than Hoover? Why was Eisenhower more effective as supreme commander during World War II than he was as president? Why was Grant one of the best presidents of his day, if not in all of American history? What drove Bobby Kennedy into the scrum of electoral politics? Who was Pauli Murray and why was she one of the most decisive figures in the movement for civil rights?
Find the surprising and revelatory answers to these questions and more in this collection of new essays by great historians, including Sean Wilentz, Alan Brinkley, Annette Gordon-Reed, Jean Strouse, Robert Dallek, Frances FitzGerald, and others. Entertaining and insightful individually, taken together the essays represent a valuable set of reflections on the enduring ingredients of leadership—the focus of an introduction by Walter Isaacson.
This book is a treat for lovers of fine history.
Renowned historians describe the leadership secrets of presidents, generals, preachers, a baseball manager and others.
This bright anthology from the Society of American Historians gathers essays from top-flight historians—Sean Wilentz, David M. Kennedy, Jean Strouse, Alan Brinkley, David Levering Lewis, etc.—on the leadership skills of an array of Americans. As Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe, 2007, etc.) notes in his introduction, a major theme is that the greatest challenge of leadership is knowing when to be pragmatic and when to adhere to principle, which is nicely illustrated by Brinkley's piece contrasting Herbert Hoover as "a victim of his convictions" and Franklin Roosevelt as the experimenter. Kevin Baker shows how the celebrated baseball manager John Joseph McGraw shined as a master clubhouse psychologist. Evan Thomas points to Robert Kennedy's insecurities as the source for his empathy for the downtrodden. David M. Kennedy finds that the ever-optimistic Dwight Eisenhower's ability to elicit cooperation served him well at war and in the White House. Two pieces stand out, both on lesser-known historical figures. Frances FitzGerald vividly evokes the life of Charles Finney, an upstate New York evangelist of the 1800s, whose emotional preaching upset the established clergy and inspired temperance, abolition and other major reform movements. In a wonderful essay on Pauli Murray, an early civil-rights champion, Glenda Gilmore shows how this remarkable African-American—feminist, lawyer, poet, ordained Episcopalian priest and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt—relied on persistence and self-invention to become a powerful opponent of Jim Crow. Other essays cover Ulysses S. Grant, J.P. Morgan, Joseph (Chief of the Nez Perce Indians), W.E.B. Dubois and Wendell Willkie. In an analysis of leadership failures, Robert Dallek explains why our optimism over new presidents invariably leads to disappointment as they craft poor policies and stumble over foreign crises.
Good bedside reading for history buffs.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Walter Isaacson lives in Washington, DC, where he is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He is the author of acclaimed, best-selling biographies of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Kissinger.
- Date of Birth:
- May 20, 1952
- Place of Birth:
- New Orleans, LA
- Harvard, B.A. in History and Literature, 1974; Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics
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