Leadership and Command: The Anglo-American Military Experience Since 1861.
GD Sheffield (ed.)
As this collection of essays shows, we should not confuse command and leadership. While many people regard these two concepts as much the same thing, successful leadership persuades 'people willingly to endure hardships, usually prolonged, and incur dangers, usually acute that if left to themselves they would do their utmost to avoid.' Focused on inspiration and motivation, leadership can be readily contrasted with the managerial function of command: 'the direction, co-ordination and effective use of military force.'
The product of a series of British Commission for Military History conferences, the contributors to this volume are a mix of soldiers and scholars, and include big names such as Michael Howard, Robert O'Neill and Brian Holden Reid. This is reflected in the quality of the scholarship. While some of the chapters are rather short on footnotes, they are all well written and interesting. They provide a range of case studies looking at contrasting styles of leadership and command from the US civil war through the two world wars to Vietnam, the Falklands and the Gulf war of 1991.
There is a real difference in the chapters between those written by authors who served through the campaigns they are discussing, and those contributors looking at war through the prism of academic study. This provides a useful contrast for the reader who will enjoy dipping into this stimulating series of essays on a topical subject.
London: Brassey's, 2002.
Pp. Xiv, 242. £14.99.
Politics and Contemporary History
University of Salford
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