In this magisterial and wide-ranging survey of political leadership over the past hundred years, Archie Brown challenges the widespread belief that strong leaders - those who dominate their colleagues and the policy-making process - are the most successful and admirable. Within authoritarian regimes, a more collective leadership is a lesser evil compared with personal dictatorship where cultivation of the myth of the strong leader is often a prelude to oppression and carnage. Within democracies, although 'strong leaders' are seldom as strong or independent as they purport to be, the idea that one person is entitled to take the big decisions is dangerous nonetheless, and the advantages of a collegial style of leadership are too often overlooked. In reality, only a minority of political leaders make a big difference, by challenging assumptions about the politically possible or setting in motion systemic change. Yet in a democracy that is rare. It is especially when enlightened leaders acquire power in an authoritarian system that the opportunity for radical transformation occurs. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B.
Johnson, Willy Brandt and Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping and Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair are among the leaders whom Brown examines in this original and illuminating study.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 904 g
Dimensions: 241 x 153 x 44 mm
"A profound, and wise, book - one of the most important works on politics for a long time. On the basis of penetrating, wide-ranging analysis, traversing democratic and authoritarian systems, Archie Brown clearly demonstrates the commonly held belief in strong leadership as the answer to political problems to be completely, often disastrously, misplaced." -- Sir Ian Kershaw "A brilliant exploration of political leaders in democratic, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes... Brown's excellent book stresses the importance of the context for the appearance of effective leaders and, when dealing with democratic regimes, the importance of the institutions" Political Quarterly "The best analysis of the nature of true leadership I have read." -- Gary Hart, Former United States Senator "This book badly needed to be written, and only Archie Brown - with his unique breadth of scholarly knowledge combined with a finger-tip feel for real-world politics - could possibly have written it. It turns out that there are fewer strong leaders in the world than is often supposed and that many of them, far from being desirable, are positively dangerous. Perhaps the best political systems are those that are effectively "leader-proofed"." -- Anthony King, Professor of Government at the University of Essex and co-author of The Blunders of Our Governments "The Myth of the Strong Leader makes an argument that needs making ...[and] provides an original approach to the international political history of the past century" Political Studies Review "A brilliant analysis of leadership in democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian states, Archie Brown's The Myth of the Strong Leader draws on a remarkably wide range of examples and is distinguished by the relevance of its insights and by the precision and clarity of their exposition. It is an absorbing read that deserves to become a modern classic of political thinking." -- Jack F. Matlock, Jr., author of Autopsy on an Empire, Reagan and Gorbachev, and Superpower Illusions "A magnificent achievement, The Myth of the Strong Leader combines bold conceptual analysis with vivid descriptions of leaders ranging from Stalin and Hitler to Roosevelt and Churchill, from Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro to LBJ and Nelson Mandela... This is a book which will be read with sheer pleasure by the general reader for its riveting insights and by students throughout the world as a lucid and witty guide to distinctive kinds of political leadership." -- Wm. Roger Louis, former President of the American Historical Association "Hallelujah! For those of us in Leadership Studies the dry spells can be long long periods of time without sensational additional contributions to the field. Brown's is such a book, a gift to serious students of leadership, equally a gift to thoughtful practitioners. As befits a historian and political scientist of international eminence, Brown has crafted a sweeping survey of the field... This, finally, is a book that belongs on the shelf of anyone, everyone, who is remotely interested in the political dynamics of dominance and deference." -- Barbara Kellerman, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government "The main thesis in Archie Brown's compendious and fascinating book on modern political leaders is that "strength" is an overrated virtue... This is a book that is the fruit of half a century of scholarship. There cannot be anyone who will not come out of this long encounter with the fertile mind of Archie Brown wiser and better informed" -- Philip Collins The Times