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Certain Trumpets

The Nature of Leadership

What makes a leader? How do we identify effective leadership, and how should—and shouldn’t—that power be used? In Certain Trumpets, Garry Wills presents portraits of eminent leaders including FDR to Ross Perot, King David, Martha Graham, and many others, offering an illuminating lens for studying society and ourselves. Dividing these portraits into sixteen leadership categories ranging from military to charismatic, intellectual, rhetorical, and elected, Wills highlights what makes each of his subjects unique, crafting along the way a distinct and incisive definition of leadership as a reciprocal engagement between two contrasting wills that serves to mobilize us toward a common good, and explaining why leadership is so often a contentious and emotionally charged subject. “A stunningly literate and thoughtful examination of what makes a leader…[and] a welcome antidote to some of the more egregious ‘management style’ drivel,” (Kirkus Reviews), Certain Trumpets is an inspiring and edifying tour through the history of an indispensable social art.

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Garry Wills is the author of 21 books, including the bestseller Lincoln at Gettysburg (winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award), John Wayne's America, Certain Trumpets, Under God, and Necessary Evil. A frequent contributor to many national publications, including the New York Times Magazine and the New York Review of Books, he is also an adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

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