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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
  —   Mahatma Gandhi
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On This Day In:
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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I Cannot Remain Silent
June 2, 2020
It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel — including members of the National Guard — forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church.  I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.
Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.
There was little good in the stunt.
While no one should ever condone the violence, vandalism, and looting that has exploded across our city streets, neither should anyone lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns about institutional racism that have ignited this rage.
As a white man, I cannot claim perfect understanding of the fear and anger that African Americans feel today.  But as someone who has been around for a while, I know enough — and I’ve seen enough — to understand that those feelings are real and that they are all too painfully founded.
We must, as citizens, address head-on the issue of police brutality and sustained injustices against the African American community.  We must, as citizens, support and defend the right — indeed, the solemn obligation — to peacefully assemble and to be heard.  These are not mutually exclusive pursuits.
And neither of these pursuits will be made easier or safer by an overly aggressive use of our military, active duty or National Guard.  The United States has a long and, to be fair, sometimes troubled history of using the armed forces to enforce domestic laws.  The issue for us today is not whether this authority exists, but whether it will be wisely administered.
I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform.  They will serve with skill and with compassion.  They will obey lawful orders.  But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops.  Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.
Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.
Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods.  They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.
We must ensure that African Americans — indeed, all Americans — are given the same rights under the Constitution, the same justice under the law, and the same consideration we give to members of our own family.  Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so.
Too many foreign and domestic policy choices have become militarized; too many military missions have become politicized.
This is not the time for stunts.  This is the time for leadership.
The above is an opinion piece appearing in:  “The Atlantic
The original can be found on-line at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/american-cities-are-not-battlespaces/612553/
The editorial was written by:  Mike Mullen
Mr. Mullen is a retired admiral from the U.S. Navy and was the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
[The above editorial is the opinion of Adm. Mullen (Ret.) and the property of “The Atlantic“.  No claim of ownership is implied or intended by me.  Please subscribe to and support a REAL news site if you are financially able to do so.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Right Or Wrong
2018 Open Doors
2017 When It Deserves It
2016 Expiation For Rest
2015 You’ll Get Through It
2014 A Special Kind Of Fall
2013 Very Rewarding
2012 MIB3 – The Team Is Closer Than Ever
Yet
2011 Little By Little

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In Union There Is Strength
I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled.  The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court.  This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding.  It is a wholesome and unifying demand — one that all of us should be able to get behind.  We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers.  The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation.
When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution.  Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.
We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.”  At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors.  Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict— between the military and civilian society.  It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part.
Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.
James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.”  We do not need to militarize our response to protests.  We need to unite around a common purpose.  And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.
Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’  Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.'”  We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis — confident that we are better than our politics.
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.  Instead he tries to divide us.  We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort.  We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.  We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.  This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.
We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another.  The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community.  Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country.  We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square.  We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.  At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.
Only by adopting a new path — which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals — will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.
James Mattis
[James Mattis is a retired general who served in the United States Marine Corps.  He also served under President Trump as Secretary of Defense.  Gen. Mattis resigned his position after a disagreement with President Trump about the treatment / support of our Kurdish allies in Syria.
This statement will be appearing in an upcoming issue of “The Atlantic” and appears (in full) in multiple locations on the internet including here:  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/james-mattis-denounces-trump-protests-militarization/612640/ .  Note: the link is to an article about the General’s statement.  The article also includes the entire statement.
No claim of ownership is implied or intended by my posting on this site.  Please support legitimate news site if you are financially able to do so.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Right Or Wrong
2018 Open Doors
2017 When It Deserves It
2016 Expiation For Rest
2015 You’ll Get Through It
2014 A Special Kind Of Fall
2013 Very Rewarding
2012 MIB3 – The Team Is Closer Than Ever
Yet
2011 Little By Little

 

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Mourning In America

You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
  —  President Abraham Lincoln
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On This Day In:
2019 Don’t Be Small
2018 Persistence
2017 Are You A Loser?
2016 Constitution And Conscience
2015 Separate, Fearful And Imprisoned
2014 Something Worth Making
2013 Absolutely
2012 Can Do
2011 Wise Criticism

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I think people in power have a vested interest to oppose critical thinking.
  —  Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 Impeach #45 – (#TraitorInTheWhiteHouse)
Time For Loving
2018 No Pride There
London To The Hague
2017 At Least Twenty To Go
2016 A Sweet Smelling Blog Post
Pre-Reacher
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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In the aftermath of the intelligence failures in Iraq, Americans should have a healthy skepticism of military action justified by intelligence reports that leave Congress profoundly divided.  And given Trump’s fundamental dishonesty and alarming ignorance, Americans should have zero assurance that their president or his administration is accurately describing the nature of the Iranian threat.
While Americans deployed abroad have the inherent right of self-defense, the United States should not engage in offensive military action without Congressional approval.  The president cannot tolerate acts of terror against American forces, but the American people cannot tolerate an unconstitutional war.
Now is not the time to trust an untrustworthy administration.  Now is exactly the time for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority.  Merely receiving an intelligence briefing is not enough.  The message to the Trump administration should be bipartisan and emphatic.  There can be no new war without informed congressional consent.
  —  David French
From his opinion / editorial: “Blundering Toward War
Appearing in Time Magazine; dtd: 3 June 2019
This article also appears online, but it is a modified version.
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On This Day In:
2019 An Epitaph For #45 (#LyingDonald)
2018 Before And After
2017 Verbs
2016 Not Too Tidy
2015 Little Understanding
2014 Open Early
2013 Movies And A Lifetime Of Lyrics
This Truth
2012 Cheaper To Hold
2011 Resistance Is Futile
One Great, One Enjoyable, One Terrible…
Unfortunately, No Approval Is Required

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Unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.
  —  Noam Chomsky
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On This Day In:
2019 Today’s Question
2018 A Moment Of Union
2016 Symptoms
2016 Tossers
2015 Hunger
2014 Outside Dependence
2013 Doing Right
2012 A Short Course In Human Relations
If Death Be My Future
Strive
Such A Fool
2011 I’m Working For A Living

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So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.
  —  Peter Drucker
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On This Day In:
2019 Of Course, You Still Have To Listen
2018 Coming Home
2017 It’s Just Around The Bend
2016 In What Direction?
2015 Embarrassing Myself Again
2014 I’ve Never Have Had
2013 Glory Days (part 1)
2012 Feeling Old?
2011 Even When I Wish Really, Really Hard
Skeptical Fathers
Cha-cha-cha-changes

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If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down.  But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again.  A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.
  —  Thomas J. Watson
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On This Day In:
2019 Advice From #1 To #45
2018 How Much I Will Miss The Trump Administration
2017 We Need To Continue Experimenting
2016 Consistently
2015 We Must Dissent
2014 Now What?
2013 Judgement
2012 Stuck In My Mind
Life’s Hope
2011 Just Getting Up
Directions Please

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5 February 2020
ROMNEY SPEECH (AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY) REGARDING HIS VOTE TO CONFIRM THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP:
The Constitution is at the foundation of our Republic’s success, and we each strive not to lose sight of our promise to defend it.  The Constitution established the vehicle of impeachment that has occupied both houses of Congress for these many days.  We have labored to faithfully execute our responsibilities to it.  We have arrived at different judgments, but I hope we respect each other’s good faith.
The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious.  As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise “impartial justice.”  I am a profoundly religious person.  I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.  I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the President, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced.  I was not wrong.
The House Managers presented evidence supporting their case; the White House counsel disputed that case.  In addition, the President’s team presented three defenses: first, that there can be no impeachment without a statutory crime; second, that the Bidens’ conduct justified the President’s actions; and third that the judgement of the President’s actions should be left to the voters. Let me first address each of those defenses.
The historic meaning of the words “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the writings of the Founders and my own reasoned judgement convince me that a president can indeed commit acts against the public trust that are so egregious that while they are not statutory crimes, they would demand removal from office.  To maintain that the lack of a codified and comprehensive list of all the outrageous acts that a president might conceivably commit renders Congress powerless to remove a president defies reason.
The President’s counsel noted that Vice President Biden appeared to have a conflict of interest when he undertook an effort to remove the Ukrainian Prosecutor General.  If he knew of the exorbitant compensation his son was receiving from a company actually under investigation, the Vice President should have recused himself.  While ignoring a conflict of interest is not a crime, it is surely very wrong.
With regards to Hunter Biden, taking excessive advantage of his father’s name is unsavory but also not a crime.  Given that in neither the case of the father nor the son was any evidence presented by the President’s counsel that a crime had been committed, the President’s insistence that they be investigated by the Ukrainians is hard to explain other than as a political pursuit.  There is no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the President would never have done what he did.
The defense argues that the Senate should leave the impeachment decision to the voters.  While that logic is appealing to our democratic instincts, it is inconsistent with the Constitution’s requirement that the Senate, not the voters, try the president.  Hamilton explained that the Founders’ decision to invest senators with this obligation rather than leave it to voters was intended to minimize — to the extent possible — the partisan sentiments of the public.
This verdict is ours to render.  The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfilled our duty.  The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”
Yes, he did.
The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.
The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.
The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.
The President’s purpose was personal and political.
Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.
What he did was not “perfect” — No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values.  Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.
In the last several weeks, I have received numerous calls and texts.  Many demand that, in their words, “I stand with the team.”  I can assure you that that thought has been very much on my mind.  I support a great deal of what the President has done.  I have voted with him 80% of the time.  But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside.  Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.
I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced.  I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters.  Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?
I sought to hear testimony from John Bolton not only because I believed he could add context to the charges, but also because I hoped that what he said might raise reasonable doubt and thus remove from me the awful obligation to vote for impeachment.
Like each member of this deliberative body, I love our country. I believe that our Constitution was inspired by Providence.  I am convinced that freedom itself is dependent on the strength and vitality of our national character.  As it is with each senator, my vote is an act of conviction.  We have come to different conclusions, fellow senators, but I trust we have all followed the dictates of our conscience.
I acknowledge that my verdict will not remove the President from office.  The results of this Senate Court will in fact be appealed to a higher court: the judgement of the American people.  Voters will make the final decision, just as the President’s lawyers have implored.  My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate.  But irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me.  I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial.  They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the President did was wrong, grievously wrong.
We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history.  But in the most powerful nation on earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.
Senator Mitt Romney
(R) Utah
[I was torn between titling this post as “Profile In Courage” and / or “A Candle In The Wind“.  In the end, I chose to emphasize the individuality of the speech / act rather than the courage of the decision or the political precariousness of the position.  I believe history will judge Mitt Romney as more than just a “footnote” and somewhere there is a dad (George W. Romney) looking down on his son with pride.    —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Hopefully, Closer To Noon
Can You See The Bottom?
2018 Stock Market Sets Another Record Under #DumbDonald
#LyingDonald: About That Special Prosecutor Testimony
2017 We Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
2016 But You Have To Learn It Feels Good
2015 Never Stop
2014 Caution
2013 Treat Her Like A Lady
2012 Build New Worlds
2011 I Grok Elegance
Standing Relish

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Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.
  —  Albert Einstein
[Friday’s vote in the U.S. Senate…  I’ve been reading some of the press releases from the Republican Senators who voted to block all new testimony and evidence in the impeachment trial of President Trump:  We don’t need anymore new evidence because the House Managers have proven the President is guilty and we don’t want the American public to hear anymore evidence in “our” (Republican controlled) chamber.  We’ve closed the book on this case, so let’s get on with voting to dismiss the impeachment because we Republicans don’t care that he’s guilty of violating his oath of Office by abusing his power.  (paraphrasing Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander)  What Alexander didn’t say was:  “I’m not even willing to discuss the President’s guilt in obstructing Congress ’cause I just said he was guilty and why should a guilty Republican President have to provide evidence (documents or witnesses) about his own guilt just because a Democratic controlled House of Representatives wants us to fulfill our Constitution mandated oversight responsibilities.”
The above quote (from Einstein) was found at one of the blogs I follow:   https://aponderingmind.org
The specific link is:  https://aponderingmind.org/2020/01/01/three-great-forces-rule-the-world-stupidity-fear-and-greed-albert-einstein/
Please visit the site if you have a spare moment…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Contributing To Congress
Yellow Signs Of Spring
2018 But Take Heart
Poetic Marker
2017 The Few, The Many, The Most
2016 To My Brother
2015 For Junior
A Roman Rome
2014 Hmmm
2013 What’s A Motto With You?
2012 Worthy Companions
2011 Bourne Again
Which Ten Are You In?

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After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.
  ―  George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2019 Your Own Blog Posts
The Man With A Code
2018 Choose Goodness
2017 Developing Translations
2016 Think Like A Hero
2015 Reductionism
2014 Gravitation, n.
2013 Ups And Downs
2012 Nerd Heard – And Good-Bye
Your Continuum
2011 Career Tips (Part 2)

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No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it.  It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.
  —  Peter Drucker
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On This Day In:
2019 Uncertain Times
And Government Shutdowns, Too
2018 Satisfied
2017 In The Mind
2016 Dreaming
2015 The Best Medicine Is Also Contagious
2014 Eyes Off
2013 The More Things Change…
2012 The Delicate Moment Of Giving
2011 Ready, Shoot, Aim!!

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The Mask Of Command — book review
Today’s book review is for “The Mask Of Command” (1987©), written by John Keegan.  Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan OBE (Order of the British Empire) and FRSL (Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature) was an English military historian, lecturer (at Sandhurst – the English equivalent of West Point) and writer.  Keegan is considered (in my opinion) one of the “modern” expert military historians. I understand his basic premise to be that conflict in general and war in specific is cultural and not necessarily an extension of political governance.  This is in contrast with Clausewitz who stated that war is politics by other means.  Keegan is criticized for “disagreement” with Clausewitz.
As a secondary aside, I started reading about military theory (“strategy”) back in my early 20’s when I began reading about generals (mostly Patton) and the works of B. H. Liddell Hart were recommended to me by a roommate.  I read Liddell Hart’s book: “Strategy: The Indirect Approach“, which I must say greatly influenced my life by profoundly changing my view of the world.  My hope was to learn about leadership by studying the great generals.  Instead, what I found was that leadership is not the same thing as strategy and is, instead, founded on the person and the time in history the person lives, whereas strategy tends to be principled and more timeless.
This realization pretty much ties into the basis for this book, which is a study of four “great” commanders / leaders and looks at what made three succeed and one (ultimately) fail terribly.  The three successful commanders are: Alexander the Great, Wellington, and U.S. Grant.  The failure is: Hitler.
Keegan’s proposal in this book is based on “heroic” aspects (“title”) of military leadership: heroic, anti-heroic, non-heroic, and fake heroic.  To do this, Keegan establishes the cultural climate of each commander and then tries to explain it’s (the culture’s) effect on the military leader via their proximity to combat and personal exposure to danger.  Essentially, for most of man’s history, muscle and physical courage were the requirement of military leadership.  As the age of gunpowder emerged, the risk to the commander increased and they were forced to withdrawal from danger and thus “military” leadership changed.  Alexander had to fight hand-to-hand to prove his courage while leading from the front; Wellington could stay within sight of his forces, but had to stay a minimal distance from accurate musket range; Grant could not frequently approach the front lines; and, Hitler never exposed himself to physical danger (with the exception of possible assassination) and used propaganda to convince his forces that he was a soldier battling at their side.
The book has five main chapters (one for each leader / type) and the last is about leadership in the age of nuclear weapons.  I found this the most fascinating (timely?) chapter of the book as it proposes a “new” type of post-heroic military / political leader and attempts to posit President Kennedy as this “ideal” leader.
While I found the book to be an interesting (sometimes fascinating) read, it was not an easy read.  Keegan loves his erudite words and his complicated phrasing of sentences.  The punctuation is “British” (I guess), and I found many times I had to go back and re-read a sentence or paragraph to figure out what the heck he was talking about.  Frequently, his sentences appeared to be declarative, but were, in fact, interrogatory (questions), or vice-versa, and you (“I”) couldn’t tell until you (“I”) hit the question mark or period at the end of the sentence.  Occasionally, even though I was aware of this writing style, Keegan still caught me off guard and I had to go back and try to figure out what he was on about.  Which means I knew it was happening, and anticipating it, but continued to find it distracting.
Other than this (quibble), I found the book to be quite enjoyable.  Keegan has a keen method of describing battles and you can sometimes feel yourself seeing the carnage and tasting the spent gunpowder in the air.  At less than 400 pages, it seems also to be a quick read, but I suggest not rushing head-long through it in one or two sittings as the book is widely considered to be a classic and deserves a bit of contemplation as well as enjoyment.
Final recommendation: highly recommended! This book is a classic for a reason…  The battlefield descriptions are superb and Keegan’s argument is well presented – even if not wholly convincing (to me, anyway).  Still, regardless if you are new to military history or a veteran of any military genre, I think you’ll enjoy this book.  There will, of course, be a few quotes from this book appearing on my blog in the coming weeks / months.
Two final thoughts: 1) I was not (am not) convinced President Kennedy is THE model for the post-heroic commander.  I found Keegan’s reporting on / analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis a bit simplistic.  And, 2) even if I had read this book on first printing, I doubt it would have influenced my world-view the way Liddell Hart’s book did.  Both are classics for any military reader, just different.  Just sayin’…
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On This Day In:
2019 #ContinueToResist
Except Willful Ignorance And Prideful Stupidity
2018 More Executive Time For #DumbDonald
2017 Watched The Inauguration
Two Geniuses
2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
Sorrow And Joy
The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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The Presidency is not merely an administrative office.  That’s the least of it.  It is more than an engineering job, efficient or inefficient.  It is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership.  All our great Presidents were leaders of thought at times when certain historic ideas in the life of the nation had to be clarified.
  —  Franklin D. Roosevelt
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On This Day In:
2019 Be Brave
2018 What Else Matters?
2017 Slow Go
2016 A Tiny Ripple Of Hope
2015 Liberating Books
2014 Discover God
2013 Without Witness
2012 Nutritarian

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