military books by servicemembers.






Edgar F. Puryear, Jr.

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Captain Edgar F. Puryear, Jr., USAF (ret.) “a graduate of the University of Maryland, earned an M.A. from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, and an LL.B from the University of Virginia.”  Additionally, “He was in the US Air Force from 1952–64; among the positions held while stationed at the US Air Force Academy were air training officer, political science instructor, and assistant dean. He has lectured at numerous military installations and authored several books on military leadership.” Captain Edgar F. Puryear, Jr. is the author of American Generalship: Character is Everything: The Art of Command; American Admiralship: The Moral Imperatives of Naval Command; 19 Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership; Stars in Flight: A Study in Air Force Character and Leadership; and, George S. Brown, General, U.S. Air Force: Destined for Stars.


According to the book description of American Admiralship: The Moral Imperatives of Naval Command, “What makes a modern leader? It is a question that becomes more and more pressing in these troubled times of worldwide conflicts and economic turmoil. And it is a question eloquently answered by the stories told in this book: true-life accounts of some of the most distinguished flag officers in the U.S. Navy in recent history.


Edgar Puryear, a lecturer on leadership for the National Defense University, explores the views and principles that have guided these accomplished officers. Among them, he identifies an inventory of attributes that define the character of a successful leader in our day. The result is an artfully organized compendium of leadership principles from the likes of Ernest King, Chester Nimitz, William Halsey, Arleigh Burke, James Holloway, Carlisle Trost, Stansfield Turner, and William Crowe Jr. Puryear embeds the lessons in leadership from these exemplary lives in first-person accounts of significant events in history. Thus he dramatically illustrates each aspect of command under discussion as the admirals frankly describe rationales for the actions they took, often in the face of strong bureaucratic opposition.


The motivation, character, and legacies of two of the Navys most controversial leaders, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and Admiral Hyman Rickover, also come under consideration, with thoughtful and telling testimony from their contemporaries. This broad array of detailed case histories and accompanying analysis reveals the qualities of leadership that have elevated the U.S. Navy to the position of the preeminent seaborne combat force in the world. It also makes for fascinating reading, and remarkable insight into what defines successful leadership in the modern era.”


According to one reader of American Generalship: Character is Everything: The Art of Command, “This is an excellent book for anyone interested in what it takes to be a leader. Filled with many excellent tidbits of history and personal insights from the leaders themselves, Puryear has put together a really good book, one that I will recommend to many others. Of particular note, in my opinion, are his references to leaders embracing change (p.70 and 32), Marshall's decision-making (p. 56-57), the importance of your chief of staff (p.90), how to react to decisions that don't go your way, matching leaders to their jobs, and his thousands of quotes and anecdotes from Ridgway, Marshall, Westmoreland, Eisenhower, Powell, MacArthur, etc.”

American Admiralship: The Art of Naval Command
Edgar F. Puryear  More Info

19 Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership
Edgar F. Puryear  More Info

American Generalship
Edgar F. Puryear  More Info
Stars in Flight A Study in Air Force Character and Leadership
Puryear Edgar F. Jr.  More Info
George S. Brown, General, U.S. Air Force: Destined for Stars
Edgar F. Puryear  More Info

One reader of 19 Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership said, “"Nineteen Stars" is not intended to be the definitive biographies of Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall, and Patton, but rather a study of their leadership styles illustrated with specific examples. Puryear provides enough background information on each general to put the various decisions and actions into an understandable context. As a study of leadership and management styles of four successful but very different military leaders, this book accomplishes its goals. Puryear gives the reader adequate appreciation of these general officers and the contributions they made, not to just the war effort, but to the military in general. Again, this is not intended to be full-blown biographies on these military leaders, but rather a leadership study for young officers and officer candidates. However, this book will serve as an able introduction to the lives of these fascinating men, and will probably inspire a broader audience than just military members to look into more indepth works on these key leaders.”

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