Grey Eminence: Fox Conner and the Art of Mentorship, By Edward Cox
2011 [ISBN: 1-58107-193-1; 142 pages; 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; soft cover] $16.95
To those who have heard of him, Fox Conner’s name is synonymous with mentorship. He is the “grey eminence” within the Army whose influence helped to shape the careers of George Patton, George Marshall, and, most notably, President Eisenhower. What little is known about Conner comes primarily through stories about his relationship with Eisenhower, but little is known about Fox Conner himself.
After a career that spanned four decades, this master strategist ordered all of his papers and journals burned. Because of this, most of what is known about Conner is oblique, as a passing reference in the memoirs of other great men. This book combines existing scholarship with long-forgotten references and unpublished original sources to achieve a more comprehensive picture of this dedicated public servant. The portrait that emerges provides a four-step model for developing strategic leaders that still holds true today. First and foremost, Conner was a master of his craft. Secondly, he recognized and recruited talented subordinates. Then he encouraged and challenged these protégés to develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Finally he wasn’t afraid to break the rules of the organization to do it. Here, for the first time ever, is the story of Major General Fox Conner.
“Edward Cox has written a fascinating portrait of one of our nation’s great soldiers who is little known and under-appreciated. Connor’s legacy of identifying and nurturing talent should be examined by contemporary military and civilian leaders and managers. Edward Cox’s excellent biography makes a strong point for such a study.” ~ Brian D. Shaw, President, The George C. Marshall Foundation.
“Ed Cox’s book is both a tribute to one man’s extraordinary impact on the U.S. Army, and a study in how to develop an organization’s strategic leaders through mentorship. Leaders at every level will learn much from this book about the exemplary life of Major General Fox Conner.” ~ Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon, Jr.
“Ed Cox’s book serves as a premier case study on what leaders at all levels, in and out of the Army, need to do build and sustain a learning organization.” ~ Don Vandergriff, author of Raising the Bar: Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War, Path to Victory: America’s Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs, and Military Recruiting: Finding and Preparing Future Soldiers.
“Ed Cox captures the essence and true spirit of mentoring at the top. Taking one of the unsung icons of the art of mentoring, Ed shows us how Fox Connor exemplifies this critical practice. In doing so, we find the key attributes of a great mentor: the life-long commitment to personal learning, a deep sense of character and ethics, and a servant leader attitude. The impact and benefits of these unseen, behind-the-scenes relationships tend to ripple out in large organizations touching many of us. The lasting value of these relationships cannot be underestimated.” ~ Steve Dumont, Managing Partner, The Mentor Partnership LLC, USMA Class of ’81
Edward Cox is a major in the U.S. Army. He is currently an assistant professor of American Politics, Public Policy and Strategy in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. He has served in various command and staff positions in combat units for twelve years, including two years in Iraq. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American politics from the U.S. Military Academy and master’s degrees in public administration and international relations from Syracuse University.