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


by Harry S. Slaver and Jeffrey J. Matthews, editors

Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 2008. Pp. xvi, 220+. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $32.50. ISBN:0813125138

Using a series of short profiles, the authors examine the professional and personal experiences, and the approach to command that underlay the careers of nine notable American commanders, George Washington, U.S. Grant, George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lewis "Chesty" Puller, Henry "Hap" Arnold, Hyman Rickover, Harold "Hal" Moore, and Colin Powell

Although one might argue with the choices -- why some of these and not Winfield Scott, Anthony Wayne, Raymond Spruance, or a host of others? -- the profiles are excellent and reveal a number of common characteristics.  Despite the fact that all of these men had widely differing experiences and displayed very different approaches to command, what emerges is the importance of their character and their mastery of their craft as critical determinants of their success.

A good read for anyone interested in the art of command.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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