Mastering the Art of Command

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Victory in the Pacific

  • Subject: Fall 2022 Catalog | Society of Military History Conference
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    15 b/w images, 8 maps, 5 tables
  • Published:
    September 15, 2022
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    27 oz
Hardcover $39.95
Member Price $23.97 Save 40%
Book: Cover Type


Mastering the Art of Command is a detailed examination of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s leadership during World War II. It describes how he used his talents to guide the Pacific Fleet following the attacks on Pearl Harbor, win crucial victories against the forces of Imperial Japan, and then seize the initiative in the Pacific. Once Nimitz’s forces held the initiative, they maintained it through an offensive campaign of unparalleled speed that overcame Japanese defenses and created the conditions for victory.  

As a command and operational history, Mastering the Art of Command explores how Nimitz used his leadership skills, command talents, and strategic acumen to achieve these decisive results. Hone recounts how Nimitz, as both Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) and Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA), revised and adapted his organizational structure to capitalize on lessons and newly emerging information. Hone argues that Nimitz—because he served simultaneously as CINCPAC and CINCPOA—was able to couple tactical successes to strategic outcomes and more effectively plan and execute operations that brought victory at Midway, Guadalcanal, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.   

As a study of leadership,  uses modern management theories, and builds upon the approach in his award-winning Learning War. Trent Hone explores the challenge of leadership in complex adaptive systems through Nimitz’s behavior and causes us to reassess the inevitability of Allied victory and the reasons for its ultimate accomplishment. A new narrative history of the Pacific war, this book demonstrates effective patterns for complexity-informed leadership by highlighting how Nimitz maintained coherence within his organization, established the conditions for his subordinates to succeed, and fostered collaborative sensemaking to identify and pursue options more rapidly. Nimitz’s “strategic artistry” is a pattern worthy of study and emulation, for today’s military officers, civilian leaders, and managers in large organizations.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Trent Hone perceptively analyzes how America’s finest admiral not only carefully honed his own approach to leadership, but fostered it by example among everyone he led. Only an officer with Nimitz’s managerial brilliance would have been capable of creating the agile command organization that efficiently waged the U.S. Navy’s sprawling Pacific War. Engagingly and incisively written, this is a superb sequel to Hone’s innovative Learning War.” —Jonathan Parshall, co-author Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
“In Learning War, Trent Hone described the elements of success for the Navy as a complex learning system before and during WWII. In Mastering the Art of Command, he focuses on Admiral Nimitz himself and the leadership qualities he demonstrated to achieve the Navy’s learning potential and win the war in the Pacific. Together, these two books are a master class in leading complex learning systems, and should be required reading for every aspiring leader.” —Adm. John Richardson, USN (Ret.), 31st Chief of Naval Operations
“Prolific historian Trent Hone has produced another gem. He adroitly uses Admiral Chester Nimitz’s World War II command of the Pacific Fleet as a study in leadership. Nimitz combined wide professional knowledge, sound judgment, decisiveness, steely resolve, diplomacy, and loyalty to his chain of command to produce a hard-won victory.” —Paul Stillwell, author of Battleship Commander: The Life of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee Jr.
“Trent Hone provides something rare with this latest study, a fully formed case study of organizational, strategic, and operational leadership in the chaos of war—the career of Admiral Chester Nimitz in the Pacific. The Nimitz portrayed by Hone is intelligent, gracious, and worth emulating.” —John T. Kuehn, author of Agents of Innovation, professor of military history, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
“This is a path-breaking dual 'biography' of enormous scope. At one level it meticulously and convincingly portrays how Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz rose to become the greatest American theater commander in World War II. But that narrative merges seamlessly with the story of how the U.S. Navy’s culture developed between the wars [described in his Learning War] met the monumental challenges of its Pacific campaigns under Nimitz’s sure handed but understated leadership.” —Richard B. Frank, author of Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle
“Nimitz’s ‘strategic artistry’ is a pattern worthy of study to emulate for today’s military officers, civilian leaders, and managers in large organizations. If the reader has any knowledge or feeling about this great, neglected Hero of America, read Trent’s Mastering the Art of Command.” —Argunners
“Trent Hone is a fantastic researcher and his account of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz's Pacific naval victory is incredibly detailed. It's as if he was a fly on the wall where Nimitz was.” —Francis Tapon
“[Hone’s] exemplary understanding of 21st century organizational leadership and management concepts and his application of them to Admiral Nimitz during the Pacific War makes this book a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the conflict or looking for a real-life example of a leader who set the standard for how to be an effective and collaborative leader.”— Journal of America’s Military Past
"Mastering the Art of Command is well-researched, with a concise and comprehensive narrative of Nimitz’s command decisions and strategy which Trent Hone expertly analyses. As such, it is a fine addition to the history of the Pacific war and the study of leadership." — Australian Naval Institute