English for Officers

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Political talk shows and best-selling business books might have you believe that leadership is about being a hero during a crisis. But the West Point English professor Elizabeth Samet has been teaching her cadets a quieter form of leadership —one that emphasizes the judgment and behavior one needs before disaster strikes. “Leadership,” the 2015 Norton anthology that Samet edited, includes writers ranging from Machiavelli to Virginia Woolf. The New Yorker’s Joshua Rothman spoke with Samet and one of her students about what military officers can take from literature.