L eadership is of surpassing importance to the profession of arms. Judgment, competence, and courage often count for more than armed might alone in achieving success. Generalship is carefully studied by Soldiers who will lead men in combat, whether or not they aspire to general-officer rank themselves. Over time our comparatively young army has developed an impressive list of senior officers who have ably demonstrated the importance of leadership in trying circumstances.

This volume offers a unique glimpse of the commanding generals and chiefs of staff who have led the United States Army in peace and war. Their rise through the levels of leadership to the pinnacle of their profession reveals both striking parallels and fascinating contrasts. As the author's introductory analysis makes clear, their responsibilities have evolved over the last two hundred and thirty years. Although the essential elements of leadership remain unchanged, the complexity of technology and staff organization has increased radically over time.

The format of this volume combines biographical sketches with the officially designated portraits of the commanding generals and chiefs of staff, accompanied by brief accounts on the artists. As an aspect of the art of official portraiture that has continued for more than three centuries, these portraits add an interesting and revealing dimension to the biographer's words.

This volume not only celebrates the legacy of dedication and patriotism left by these leaders but also enhances our understanding of military leadership at the highest levels. I commend it to the attention of all students of our profession.


Brigadier General, USA (Ret.)
Chief of Military History



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Last updated 24 February 2006