“This isn’t just a must-read for military buffs—it’s a source of inspiration for every American and anyone who aspires to be one.” —John Kerry, former US Secretary of State
Born in Poland, John Shalikashvili (1936-2011) emigrated to the United States in 1952 and was drafted into the army as a private in 1958. He rose steadily through the ranks, serving in every level of unit command from platoon to division. In 1993, Shalikashvili was tapped by President Bill Clinton to replace General Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becoming the first immigrant, first draftee, and first Officer Candidate School graduate to hold the position.
This first-ever biography of Shalikashvili’s riches-to-rags-and-back-to-riches story reveals how his distinctive background helped him become one of the United States’s greatest military leaders. He exhibited a unique and unconventional leadership style—employing expertise, humility, straightforwardness, and empathy—that he adroitly used to resolve or prevent destructive conflict. His distinctive leadership style greatly benefited the United States, Europe, and beyond: as when he led the rescue of 500,000 Kurdish refugees in the first Gulf War’s aftermath; when he represented Joint Chiefs chairman Colin Powell in helping secure loose nukes in the former Soviet republics; as he joined forces with fellow immigrant Madeleine Albright on the Partnership for Peace initiative and NATO enlargement program in the 1990s; and in retirement, when he helped end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, thereby finally allowing gay servicemembers to serve openly without fear of dishonorable discharge.
“An engaging story of a remarkable man whose life story would be fascinating even without regard to his military career.” —Foot Notes Blog