This study of leadership represents thirty-five years of research on how one leads successfully in the U.S. military. Over this period of time, I have had personal interviews with more than a hundred officers of four-star rank, and interviews or personal correspondence with more than a thousand officers of the rank of brigadier general and higher. In addition, I have sent and received more than ten thousand letters and consulted many diaries and hundreds of autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, and military histories.
In 1971 I wrote a book entitled Nineteen Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership, a comparative study of the leadership of four of the most outstanding American generals of World War II, of what made them good leaders and how they led. For this comparative study I selected General of the Army George C. Marshall, chief of staff of the U.S. Army from 1939 to 1945; General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief in the Far East, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces for the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Europe -- the greatest invasion in the history of warfare; and Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., commander of the U.S. Army I and II Corps in North Africa, the Seventh Army in Sicily, and the Third Army in Europe.
The reasons for the selection of these four personalities is too obvious to deserve more than a cursory mention. Marshall, MacArthur, and Eisenhower held the most responsible military positions of World War II, and Patton was the best-known combat general of the war. The title of the manuscript reflects the total number of stars, nineteen, earned by these four great leaders. Nineteen Stars is still in