- 9,99 €
WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR
CHOSEN BY BILL GATES AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016
Archie Brown challenges the widespread belief that 'strong leaders', dominant individual wielders of power, are the most successful and admirable.
Within authoritarian regimes, a collective leadership is a lesser evil compared with a personal dictatorship. Within democracies, although ‘strong leaders’ are seldom as strong or independent as they purport to be, the idea that just one person is entitled to take the big decisions is harmful and should be resisted.
Examining Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping and Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair amongst many others, this landmark study pinpoints different types and qualities of leadership. Overturning the popular notion of the strong leader, it makes us rethink preconceptions about what it means to lead.
Oxford University emeritus politics professor Brown (Rise and Fall of Communism) offers a panoramic view of global leadership mixed with a survey of 20th-century political systems. Brown weighs individuals and governing styles in brief, densely packed studies of Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, and others change-makers, examining Turkey and Atat rk, Russia and the Bolsheviks, and leaders in totalitarian regimes, including Adolph Hitler. While Brown's beau ideal of the transformational leader is the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev, he praises Nelson Mandela for the relatively peaceful transition from apartheid in South Africa, and Deng Xiaoping for decisive changes in Chinese communism. Rich in historical detail and insight, Brown's volume reminds us that face-to-face meetings of world leaders were rare before 1945 and that Neville Chamberlain was the first prime minister to use an airplane in international diplomacy. British politics animate much of the book, with Brown expressing disdain for "strong leaders" with "foreign-policy illusions," and pointing the finger at Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, and more recently, Tony Blair, whom he accuses of "Napoleonic ambitions." Brown argues that no American president can be transformational and no president has been so since Abraham Lincoln, a proposition that many U.S. historians will contest. In addition, he sidesteps appraisal of Barack Obama on the premise it's too early to tell, a caution that will leave some readers unfulfilled.