Saturday, January 28, 2012

Note from AFA President -- Book recommendations, CP Newsletter

I have two new books to recommend to you.
The first is entitled:  George F. Kennan: an American Life by John Lewis Gaddis. The book is a biography about Kennan, who in the late 1940s wrote two documents, the “long telegram” and the “X” article, which set out the strategic vision that would define US policy toward the Soviet Union until that country’s collapse four and a half decades later.  The book is unique in that Kennan agreed in 1981 at age 78 to have Dr. Gaddis write his biography.  Kennan gave him unfettered access to his papers, his diaries, and other materials.  Both agreed it best to wait to publish the book until after Ambassador Kennan’s death.  He died in 2005 at the age of 101.   A quote from the book to interest you:
As for the Soviet Union, its system was unalterably opposed to that of the United States.  It followed, therefore, that there can be no possible middle ground or compromise between the two, that any attempts to find such a middle ground, by the resumption of diplomatic relations or otherwise, are bound to be unsuccessful, that the two systems cannot even exist together in the same world unless an economic cordon is put around one or the other of them, and that within twenty or thirty years either Russia will be capitalist or we shall be communist.”  Kennan, Jan 12, 1931.
I believe this book will be awarded a Pulitzer Prize this year … it’s that good.
Secondly, Lee Ellis has a written great book on leadership entitled:  Leading with Honor – Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.  As many of you know, I am a student of leadership and read vociferously on the subject.  This one is one of the best I’ve read.  Mr. Ellis begins his book with: 
Our culture desperately needs courageous servant leaders – men and women who have clear vision and strong character, who instill confidence and inspire excellence, who don’t fold under pressure, compromise on principle, or practice deception.  In short, we need leaders who are committed to leading with honor.”

The book has been endorsed by some outstanding leaders such as Gen (Ret) Bill Looney and Lt Gen (Ret) Bill Lord … and by a hero of mine:
R. E. Gene Smith, past President and Chairman of the Board, Air Force Association.  Gene writes: 
Lee captures the essence of what it takes to provide strong leadership, as well as followership, in some of the most difficult conditions ever faced by our military men.  A great read on integrity, character, and leadership.
Finally, our National High School Cyber Defense Competition – CyberPatriot – is proceeding well.  Out of over 1,000 teams which registered, we have 12 teams in the finals in the All Service division.  The semifinal round for the Open Division is this weekend.  The Commissioner, Brig Gen (Ret) Bernie Skoch, and his staff have started a monthly, online CyberPatriot newsletter.  I was struck by the variety of subjects covered (i.e., Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future,  Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks,  Software Piracy: Big Consequences, CyberPatriot Competitor Code of Conduct, Coaches' Corner,  Cyberbullying, and Northrop Grumman - Grooming Tomorrow's Cyber Workforce) This newsletter should be shared broadly … not only with high schoolers, but also with some of us “old-people.”  You can find a link to the newsletter at:
For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

“The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is … a second-rate Air Force.”  --  Senate staff member


Keith Sawyer said...

Gene Smith is also a hero of mine, along with Larry "lucky" Chesley, whom Gene knows from Hanoi. We are in a time when "those who vote outnumber those who work". It will be a difficult recovery from the nanny state but can be done with real leadership that is full of integrity. - K. Sawyer

Patrick Michael Connors said...

I put these books on my Amazon wish list Michael. Thanks for the recommendations. I read R.E. Gene Smith's story, it's a great one.