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Lives of Moral Leadership

Men and Women Who Have Made a Difference

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Description

In this rich and illuminating book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author Robert Coles creates a portrait of moral leadership--what it is, and how it is achieved--through stories of people who have led and inspired him: Robert Kennedy, Dorothy Day, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Erik Erikson, a Boston bus driver, teachers in college, medical school, and elementary school, among others.

Coles tells how to be a moral leader and shows how the intervention of one person can change the course of history, as well as influence the day-to-day quality of life in our homes, schools, communities, and nation. We need to "hand one another along" in life, says Coles, quoting his friend Walker Percy, and in Lives of Moral Leadership he explores how each of us can be engaged in a continual and mutual life-giving process of personal and national leadership development. Coles discusses how the actions of the American president affect the way people feel about themselves and the country, and-citing the influence of Shakespeare's Henry V on Robert Kennedy, and of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina on his own mother--explains how reading literature can motivate action and growth. The way in which moral leaders emerge today, and for all time, comes vividly to light in this brilliant book by one of America's finest teachers and writers.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 02, 2000 – In a collection that ranges from vague to incisive, Coles (Children of Crisis; The Moral Intelligence of Children; etc.) presents true stories and reflections about moral leaders and what distinguishes them as such. Drawing heavily on recorded interviews, the Pulitzer Prize-winning psychiatrist and Harvard ethics professor profiles moral leaders he has known. Uniting all of his subjects is "moral courage"--their ability to know who they are and what they believe in, and to take action they believe is right and necessary to instruct and influence others (Coles quotes Erik Erikson, who said, "There's leadership in action"). Some are famous for their moral heroism--Robert Kennedy, Dorothy Day and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Others are not well known, such as Albert Jones, a janitor who volunteered to drive a bus taking African-American children to previously all-white Boston schools. Coles also examines the moral content of writers, including William Shakespeare and Joseph Conrad, and illustrates how his teacher, Perry Miller, helped him "make connections" between books and life. Finally, he examines how indiscretions or bad decisions by people deemed moral leaders, like President Clinton, affect their ability to lead or for others to continue to view them as leaders. The book is marred by woolly writing and overanalysis of minutiae (e.g., the phrase "hit home" is dissected to mean "take up residence in the contemplative sector of our thinking life"), and Coles never fully explains how moral leadership differs from leadership plain and simple. But he excels at oral history, at getting people of action to reflect for the record, and he successfully honors his subjects (most of whom are left of center, a counterbalance to the recent right-wing dominance of the public discussion of morality) and offers the reader much to reflect on.
Lives of Moral Leadership
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Oct 03, 2000
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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