Sunday, November 02, 2014

Review of Joseph Conrad's "The Shadow-Line: A Confession" - From Father To Son In A Time Of War

Many of us know the writing of Joseph Conrad from "Heart of Darkness."  A lesser known work, but equally eloquent, is "The Shadow-Line: A Confession," Conrad's openly auto-biographical account of his taking command of a ship in Asia.  I had read this book several years ago, but I re-read this time through different eyes.

I had recently met with a young Special Forces officer about to embark on a second deployment to Afghanistan.  He is facing some significant leadership challenges within his unit, and it occurred to me that Conrad's account of his own leadership challenges could provide some inspiration and perspective to this young leader.  In once again immersing myself in Conrad's gripping tale of a sailing ship becalmed with most of the crew struck down with cholera, I was reminded that Conrad was prompted to write this memoir as his son was going to war to fight for England in "The War To End All Wars." 

This short novel stands alone as a sea-faring tale, but also takes its rightful place as an examination of leadership under duress.



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