I have some fairly complete drafts of the book dated late 2013. I suppose at that point I had been working on the book for 2-3 years. Around that time (I think), I mentioned to my friend Betsy Holmes (retired captain USN), that I was working on a book, and she suggested sending it to a publisher for feedback. Not long after that I sent a partial draft to the Naval Institute Press, thinking that a book on military professionalism should be published by a military imprint. I waited a few months and, getting no response, finally called them. I was very glad to hear that they were interested, which made it worth the wait! I continued to send them draft and revised chapters as fast as I could turn them out. On the recommendation of Nick Reynolds, my old Marine Corps History Division CO and a published author, I hired an editor to check my work. I’d say that was helpful. Working with an editor kept me on track, and most of her corrections were on-target, although we didn’t always agree in matters of style.
The book evolved over time. Having grown out of the course “Leadership in Action: War and the Military Profession,” it might have been written as kind of a primer or play-book on leadership, military-style. But my interest in ethics and my thesis on the “Military Revolution” kicked in, and I wound up writing about the “why” of military professionalism and leadership as much as the “how.” In my unpublished article on the Military Revolution, I had hypothesized that a revolution in professionalism in the years 1560-1660 had saved the early modern profession of arms from the two demons greed and religious fanaticism. I came to see a similar pattern in other periods. The military profession can be undone by covetousness, by amorality or immorality. It takes regular revivals in professionalism, in ethos especially, to hold these temptations at bay and reconnect with our better angels.
I wrote a lot on weekends, and sometimes during working hours, especially during my telework day on Fridays. I was open about this with my superiors (and with the Academy lawyer), and I believe it was a justified use of some working hours as a form of professional development. I eventually used a draft version of the book as a text when I taught “Leadership in Action.” The research for the book was mostly in secondary sources, and it gave me the excuse to read a lot of good books. I plan to blog in the future about some of my favorites.
By October, 2015 I had a signed contract with Naval Institute Press. The last 18 months we have been copy-editing, choosing pictures, proofreading, and marketing. As I recall, I only paid for one one picture, that of Henry V. The rest were public domain. I submitted several pictures to NIP as possible cover illustrations. My favorite was the shot of U.S. soldiers marching in Paris with the Arc de Triomphe in the background that is the banner for this blog. None of the cover pictures I submitted was used. An NIP cover artist designed the excellent cover you see pasted over the banner. I think it gives a nice idea of the narrative structure of the book. I hired my son Erik (Cornell `15 BA Information Science) to do the index, and he did a smashing job. I visited the offices of the NIP twice. This was not required or really necessary, but I was down at Annapolis anyway on other business. (The McCain Conference and Project Coming Home, both of which I shall write about later.)
I decided to use my full name on the book partly because I thought it might stand out more, but also as an act of homage to my father Robert, who died age 91 in 2014. He was on the Destroyer Escort USS Dufilho and other vessels during World War II, mostly in the Pacific, finishing the war as a Radioman 1/C.
Next post: an excerpt from SAC.