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The Mask of Command


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Table of Contents

Part 1 Alexander the Great and Heroic Leadership: Alexander - the Father of the Man; The Achievement; The Kingdom of Macedon; The Macedonian Army; Alexander's Staff; Alexander and his Soldiers; Ceremony and Theatre; Alexander's Oratory; Alexander on the Battlefield; Alexander and the Mask of Command. Part 2 Wellington - The Anti-Hero: Wellington the Man; Wellington and Western Military Society; Wellington's Army; Wellington's Staff; Wellington's Routine; Wellington and the Presentation of Self; Wellington in Battle; Observation and Sensation. Part 3 Grant and Unheroic Leadership: Grant and the Progress of War; The Professional Career of U.S. Grant; Grant's Army; Grant's Staff; Grant on Campaign; Grant the Fighter; Grant and the American Democracy. Part 4 False Heroic - Hitler as Supreme Commander: War and Hitler's World; The War Hitler Made; Hitler's Soldiers; Hitler's Headquarters; Hitler in Command; Hitler and the Theatre of Leadership. Part 5 Conclusion: Post-Heroic - Command in the Nuclear World: The Imperative of Kinship; The Imperative of Prescription; The Imperative of Sanction; The Imperative of Action; The Imperative of Example; The Validation of Nuclear Authority.

About the Author

Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan (1934-2012), was one of the most distinguished contemporary military historians and was for many years the senior lecturer at Sandhurst (the British Royal Military Academy) and the defense editor of the Daily Telegraph (London). Keegan was the author of numerous books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Price of Admiralty, Six Armies in Normandy, and The Second World War, and was a fellow at the Royal Society of Literature.


By the author of The Face of Battle, this is a study of the transformation of military leadership in the context of heroism in its broadest sense. Keegan uses as examples four commanders whose attitudes, styles and military philosophies differed drastically: Alexander the Great, ``heroic leader as conquerer''; Wellington as ``anti-heroic leader under constitutional monarchy''; U. S. Grant as ``consciously unheroic''; and Adolf Hitler as ``fake heroic.'' These four long chapters comprise a new way of explaining the political-military policies and actions of four major conductors of war across 2000 years of Western history. Taken as a whole, the sections are building-blocks leading up to Keegan's masterful closing argument warning that in the nuclear age heroic leadership of any style would lead to the destruction of civilization. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, notes the author, was conducted ``in a strictly post-heroic manner,'' and offers hope that future nuclear crises may be resolved ``as rationally and harmlessly.'' Photos. 40,000 first printing; BOMC and QPBC featured alternates. (November 11)

Keegan ( The Face of Battle, Six Armies in Normandy) turns his attention to command. He interprets generalship as manifesting a cultural urge to conquer. Its classical example is the heroic warrior, personified by Alexander the Great, who inextricably merged identity with performance. Subsequently, the bureaucratic state, democracy, technology, etc., subsumed the heroic leader. The 20th-century re-evoked the heroic principle, but it manifested itself in the false heroism of an Adolf Hitler. Keegan concludes by appealing for post-heroic leaders who will forswear conflict. Though Keegan's structure and models are open to challenge, this provocative book nevertheless deserves reading by any student of military affairs.Dennis Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs

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