Classical and Modern Narratives of Leadership

Classical and Modern Narratives of Leadership

Classical and Modern Narratives of Leadership

Classical and Modern Narratives of Leadership


From Pericles to the Emperor Augustus and on to George Bush, Classical and Modern Narratives of Leadership invites the reader to view leaders not only as the narrators of their own stories but also the stories of leaders and followers in every community.


When, in 1984, I suggested to President Henry Copeland of the College of Wooster that the college have a course in leadership, there were very few such in the country and many of those were in the nature of leadership training—in effect, drilling techniques.

So I was delighted by Dr. Copeland's enthusiastic response. We determined that the course was to be in leadership studies to give it an academic rather than vocational cast and, in fact, to intellectualize the field, something of which so little had been done, and which, in fact, was at the heart of the matter. As Tacitus said, “Reason and judgement are the qualities of a leader.”

Since we began the course at Wooster, already fourteen years ago at this writing, leadership studies has become a real movement, involving hundreds of courses, a number of endowed chairs and even a couple of graduate schools. At my foundation it developed into a sustained and growing program with an interesting variety of projects.

Vivian L. Holliday, who took over the Wooster course after it had been launched by Historian James Hodges, did me the honor of asking me to give a lecture in her classroom, a challenge to which I happily responded. in the lecture I divided the subject into four categories: direction, skills, qualities, and behavior, and listed under them all the mechanisms relevant to leadership.

Leaders are, of course, widely studied in history courses. Typically, what is covered is what they proposed or attempted and the results thereof. But very little is said about why, as leaders, they decided what they did. It's wonderful, therefore, that Professor Holliday has now written, assembled and edited this book analyzing the performance of a great variety of leaders.

All too many books about leadership have been dry and pedagogical, to say nothing of sometimes being plain wrong. I'm glad to offer this book as an exception to that.

August 21, 1998

Henry Luce iii Chairman and C.E.O. the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.

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