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Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command Paperback – 15 Sep 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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"Destroyer Captain is a quick and enjoyable read. The writing flows like a good conversation with an old friend. This occurs in part because the chapters are short and succinct, enabling the reader to zip through the prose. Particularly valuable are transcripts of Stavridis' speeches to his crew on Memorial Day and during the Change of Command at the end of his tour...It is recommended for anyone who is interested in or has fond memories of naval service." -- Naval Historical Foundation

"This is a stirring tale of leadership challenge and the responsibility of command. How fitting that Admiral Stavridis' command experience was shaped by the adventures of guiding the USS Barry and her intrepid crew--a ship named for Irish American John Barry, a courageous warrior who led during the formative days of our fledgling republic. The 'good fortune and great heart' Admiral Stavridis ascribes to Barry is manifest in Destroyer Captain as timeless truths about leadership that accrues great benefit to all Americans thanks to those like Admiral Stavridis who defend us." --Sean O'Keefe, Secretary of the Navy, 1992-93

"Jim Stavridis' Destroyer Captain--a REQUIRED read for all who aspire to command at sea and anyone who wants to know what Conrad was really talking about. Stavridis tells you how it was--the ups and downs, the good and the bad--not how somebody thinks you ought to hear it. I loved it!" --Adm. Robert J. Natter, USN (Ret.), Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 2001-04

"With all the joy, doubt, self-examination, hope, and fear of a first command, Stavridis offers an honest assessment of his experiences from the bridge to help readers grasp the true nature of command at sea. Officers from all the services, especially surface warfare naval officers aspiring to command, will find these lessons of a first command by one of the Navy's most respected admirals both entertaining and instructive." -- Sea Classics

"With his insider details about the real worries and triumphs of command, Destroyer Captain is a must read for all naval officers and a fascinating adventure for everyone who loves the U.S. Navy." --Robert N. Macomber, Award-winning author of the Honor Series

"Ought to be read by those aspiring to leadership positions at sea (and land) from lead petty officers to future skippers."

-- Great Lakes Bulletin



"Destroyer Captain is interesting and entertaining and educational to anyone who has a leadership role at sea--or even on land. In an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable way, Admiral Stavridis explains the highs and lows of his first test in running an organization--in this case more than 300 Navy personnel deployed on a major U.S. warship. One can easily see why the qualities he exhibited as commanding officer of USS Barry have earned him his current position as an incredibly well respected four star admiral in charge of the U.S. Southern Command."


--Mel M. Immergut, Chairman, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. New York, New York



"The window into the thoughts and feelings of one of the Navy's most successful officers of the era makes this a captivating read and is one of the most valuable aspects of the book. Every military officer and member of the joint and interagency warfighting team will gain precious insight into what it is really like commanding a U.S. Navy ship and leading sailors."

--Joint Force Quarterly



"Designed to be a good read for anyone fascinated with what life is like behind the doors of the captain's cabin. Fortunately, Stavridis is a writer who is not only good with the small details of daily life but shares a sense of history and awe of the sea. Simply, he is in love with command at sea, and you feel it throughout the entire book."

-- Naval War College Review

About the Author

Admiral James Stavridis assumed duties as Commander of European Command and as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe in early summer 2009. Stavridis is a 1976 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a native of South Florida. A Surface Warfare Officer, he commanded the Destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) from 1993-1995, completing UN/NATO deployments to Haiti and Bosnia, and a combat cruise to the Arabian Gulf. Barry won the Battenberg Cup as the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet under his command. In 1998, he commanded Destroyer Squadron 21 and deployed to the Arabian Gulf, winning the Navy League's John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership. From 2002-2004, he commanded Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, conducting combat operations in the Arabian Gulf in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. From 2006-2009, he commanded U.S. Southern Command in Miami, focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. Ashore, he has served as a strategic and long range planner on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has also served as the Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Stavridis earned a PhD and MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in International Relations in 1984, where he won the Gullion Prize as outstanding student. He is also a distinguished graduate of both the National and Naval War Colleges. He holds various decorations and awards, including two awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and five awards of the Legion of Merit. He is author or co-author of several books on naval professional topics, including Command at Sea, Destroyer Captain, and Partnership for the Americas about Latin America as well as more than 55 articles, commentaries and book reviews in the Navy's professional journal Proceedings beginning when he was still a midshipman and continuing to this day. He has also written for some of the leading papers and journals in the United States, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic Magazine, Naval War College Review, and many others.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 61 reviews
Richard K. Davis
2.0 out of 5 starsA Fine Officer but Not-So-Great Author
30 June 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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13 people found this helpful
J. J. O'connor
2.0 out of 5 starsMore of a Diary Than a Book
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Jeff Peirce
5.0 out of 5 starsfirst-rate stuff
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsDestroyer Captain describes life on the USS Barry (DDG-52) in ...
28 August 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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Kazuaki Shimazaki
5.0 out of 5 starsIt is really a diary!
10 May 2009 - Published on Amazon.com
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3 people found this helpful