The West Point Way of Leadership: From Learning Principled Leadership to Practicing It

NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

353 words

Title: The West Point Way of Leadership: From Learning Principled 
Leadership to Practicing It;  by Col. Larry R. Donnithorne [Ret.]; 
Publisher, Currency Doubleday; ISBN 0-385-41703-9; Hardcover; 
192 pages; US$20.00, CAN$26.00; 

Reviewer: A.T.Connellan, "This is an important book to be read by 
the young who have yet to learn about choosing "The Harder Right," 
and the old, who should have." 

 Leaders are made, not born.

We are in a society overpopulated by bureaucratic vacillators and 
bereft of leaders of character. A society where parents despair of the 
validity of our education system. This book will provide answers, 
alternatives, and some interesting perspectives. 

It is Larry Donnithorne's belief that leaders are made, not born. That 
is the premise of an education at West Point to develop "doers who 
think," during "a four-year preamble to a forty-year career." Where 
cadets learn the West Point motto "Duty, Honor, Country" means 
choosing "The Harder Right" in every decision. 

The author describes a system that is as rigorous as it is thorough. 
Training that works on the body, mind, and heart in a "cauldron of 
experiences, ...in The Four Passes of Leadership." His analysis 
is woven through the history of a school as old as the nation itself. 

His approach is anything but idolatrous. He takes the academy 
to task for its shortcomings and describes the remedies applied 
during various periods, including the 1980's with cold logic and 
unsparing examination. 

Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point 
are a who's who of American Presidents, military commanders, 
business leaders, and two of the first three men to land on the moon. 
In the author's well-expressed view it's not difficult to understand 
why that would be. 

Col. Donnithorne is well qualified to make his case. A graduate 
of West Point who served in Viet Nam. He returned to the Academy 
as strategic planner while also teaching economics, leadership, 
and moral philosophy until 1993, when he retired to assume the 
presidency of the College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, 
North Carolina. 

In the last chapter, "Brave Words for Leaders in Tough Situations," 
none can escape the inspiration of quotes that penetrate to truth 
such as General Douglas MacArthur's advice to "praise in public, 
admonish in private, and only the dead have seen the end of war." 
                                                               
This is an important book to be read by the young  who have yet 
to learn about choosing "The Harder Right," and the old, who 
should have. 


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