- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Free Press (June 4, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743230493
- ISBN-13: 978-0743230490
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 65 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#176,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #127 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Leadership
- #297 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > General
- #297 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
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Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
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From Publishers Weekly
Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill and David Ben Gurion what made them great wartime heads of state, according to Eliot A. Cohen (Military Misfortunes), a professor of strategic studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, is that they were able to finesse a relationship with their military leaders that kept the balance of power squarely in (their own) civilian hands. In his lucid study, Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Leadership in Wartime, Cohen looks closely at the strategies of the four premiers and addresses broader questions about the tension between politicians and generals in a wartime democracy.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The constant tension between political and military leaders is exacerbated by wartime conditions. The director of strategic studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins and author of Military Misfortunes, Cohen examines how four civilian statesmen Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill, and Ben-Gurion successfully exercised control over their military services during wars that threatened the very existence of their countries. The challenges and complexities that they faced were immense, and how each leader overcame them is the important issue in this study. Cohen stresses key individual traits (e.g., making tough decisions, not worrying about a general's feelings, being willing to stick it out to the end) rather than the totality of these men's experiences, showing that they took a direct hand in the operations of their country's armed forces. Cohen thus concludes that some selective skillful intervention is needed to keep the military on track. This well-documented book will be accessible to lay readers as well as scholars. For academic and public libraries and for anyone else interested in the civilian-military relationship. Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
I was more struck by his point via these two leaders,as I was less impressed with the sections on Churchill and Ben Gurion, which sadly seemed to approach hero-worship at times rather than objective analysis. Although starting the book in a positive light, Cohen makes use of his following arguments, discussing the Vietnam War then, later, the War in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the Vietnam War discussion is very applicable to this topic, to do so in a single chapter as Cohen has done not only rushes the judgment but necessitates huge generalizations that ruin the effectiveness of his argument. Furthermore, I could barely get through the chapter on Rumsfeld and Iraq. Written in 2003, this book was not an accurate depiction of Rumsfeld's style, nor should any book, on any war, that hopes to be objective and make light of all facts be written less than (at least) a decade or two after the conflict. Using Rumsfeld as an example is this case was a poor academic decision and representative of Cohen's desire to espouse his personal philosophy.