American Generalship: Character Is Everything-The Art of Command

By Hardaway, John A. | Military Review, November/December 2001 | Go to article overview

American Generalship: Character Is Everything-The Art of Command


Hardaway, John A., Military Review


AMERICAN GENERALSHIP: Character is Everything-The Art of Command, Edgar F. Puryear, Jr., Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 2000, 365 pages, $34.95.

American Generalship is an excellent update of Edgar F. Puryear, Jr.'s noted 1971 work Nineteen Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership (Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 1997). Nineteen Stars, a comparative study of the leadership styles of Generals George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and George S. Patton during World War II, examines how and why they became generals and details their leadership styles.

Although American Generalship repeats some of the information in Nineteen Stars, its focus is on post-- World War II military leaders: Admiral William J. Crowe, Generals Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, John Meyer, Gordon Sullivan, David Jones, and W.L. Creech.

The characteristics and qualities Puryear identifies as absolutely essential for successful leadership are as follows:

* Selflessness.

* Willingness to accept responsibility.

* Possessing and developing the quality of "feel" or sixth sense.

* Aversion to yes men.

* Genuine consideration and concern for troops and others. …

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