Politics, Ethics, and Change: The Legacy of James MacGregor Burns.

Author:Rowland, Charles Ray, Jr.
Position:Book review

Goethals, George R., and Douglas Bradburn, eds. Politics, Ethics, and Change: The Legacy of James MacGregor Burns. Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2016. xvi + 190 pages. Hardcover, $110.00.

James MacGregor Burns was an American political scientist and historian, and an outstanding leadership scholar. Burns focused on the interaction of leaders and their followers as collaborators working toward mutual benefit. He was best known for his contribution to the Transactional School of Leadership Theory (which focuses on the relationship between leaders and subordinates) and the Transformational School (in which leaders concentrate on the beliefs, needs, and values of their followers). Burns received the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the thirty-second President of the United States, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom.

Both of the editors of Politics, Ethics, and Change: The Legacy of James MacGregor Burns, George R. Goethals (the recipient of the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond) and Douglas Bradburn (a history professor at SUNY-Binghamton University and the founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington), were deeply inspired by Burns. Along with the other contributing authors from various disciplinary backgrounds, including philosophy, psychology, history, and leadership studies, Goethals and Bradburn had individually worked--directly or indirectly--with Burns on the study of leadership.

The content of the book is divided into two parts: (1) James MacGregor Burns and the Essentials of Leadership, and (2) James MacGregor Burns and American Leadership. The book provides an excellent overview of Burns' treatise on the necessary qualities and requirements of leadership, especially the importance of Transformational Leadership. Whether discussing business movements or American politics, the individual contributors not only expound on their own experiences while working with...

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