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Most readers will enjoy this thoughtful evaluation of history's famous leaders, such as Pericles, Caesar, Napoleon, Lincoln and Reagan (Newell, a political scientist, served on Reagan's presidential transition team). This is not written as an uplifting chronicle but as a serious overview of how great leaders rule. In the first of three sections, about presidents from FDR to Bush, Newell stresses that the greatest triumphed in foreign policy and war. Yet, he notes, most historians give FDR higher marks for handling the Depression than WWII and believe LBJ's domestic achievements trump his Vietnam debacle. The second section is a long, adulatory evaluation of Lincoln. The third delivers a detailed history of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) as an example of how democratic leaders (in this case, of Athens) can self-destruct. Newell draws a parallel to the Vietnam War, but passes over the invasion of Iraq. These are meaty chunks of stimulating, conservative-oriented great man history that concludes with lessons for success (in short: be ambitious; be moral, "but only in moderation"; make correct decisions at the beginning of a career, save mistakes for the end). (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.