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Duty Hardcover – 14 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: WH Allen (14 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753555530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753555538
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Probably one of the best Washington memoirs ever...Historians and policy wonks will bask in the revelations Gates provides on major decisions from late 2006 to 2011, the span of his time at the Pentagon...Gates is doing far more than just scoring points in this revealing volume. The key to reading it is understanding that he was profoundly affected by his role in sending American soldiers overseas to fight and be killed or maimed." --Thomas E. Ricks, "The New York Times Book Review" "Touching, heartfelt...fascinating...Gates takes the reader inside the war-room deliberations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and delivers unsentimental assessments of each man's temperament, intellect and management style...No civilian in Washington was closer to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than Gates. As Washington and the rest of the country were growing bored with the grinding conflicts, he seemed to feel their burden more acutely." --Greg Jaffe, "The Washington Post"" " "Forthright, impassioned...highly revealing about decision making in both the Obama and Bush White Houses...[Gates'] writing is informed not only by a keen sense of historical context, but also by a longtime Washington veteran's understanding of how the levers of government work or fail to work. Unlike many careful Washington memoirists, Gates speaks his mind on a host of issues...[he] gives us his shrewd take on a range of foreign policy matters, an understanding of his mission to reform the incoherent spending and procurement policies of the Pentagon, and a tactile sense of what it was like to be defense secretary during two wars." --Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "A refreshingly honest memoir and a moving one."--Jack Keane, "The Wall Street Journal""A compelling memoir and a serious history...A fascinating, briskly honest account [of a] journey through the cutthroat corridors of Washington and world politics, with shrewd, sometimes eye-p

Book Description

From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vivid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stig Andersson on 10 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think that Robert Gates is a very good story-teller and is also able to describe complex questions in a very interesting and amusing way.
In spite of the thickness of the book it was quite easy to finish.
People, who are interested in the world of to-day and to see it specially from an American point of wiev should read this bood.
The author can be both humorus and emotional and tell us his story with a revieling distance to the many difficult problems, that he has to deal with.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Campbell M on 31 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well written and direct view of the defining recent military events and the political influences surrounding them. The author is honest and selfless in self criticism and gentle in his criticism of others.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Monk on 9 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A compelling account by an forthright and at times irascible but compassionate man with unrivalled practitioner knowledge. A first-class exposition of what real leadership requires.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Claffey on 9 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
“I cannot afford the luxury of sentiment, mine must be cold logic. Sentiment is for others” Bob Gates includes this quote on the last page of ‘Duty’. Does it sound like a private comment from Obama? Bush 41? Its actually a quote from George Marshall, who every US Sec of State and Defence rightfully holds in awe ( well, when I say every, I haven’t read Rumsfeld’s memoir yet, but I suspect even Rumsfeld must).

Gates was asked by George W (referred to as Bush 43) in 2006 to pick up the pieces following Rumsfeld’s resignation. The pieces being two wars, only going disastrously, one gradually worsening. He had been head of the CIA during Bush 41’s time, and a senior official in both NSC and CIA in the Regan/Bush cabinets. His reason to take on Secretary of Defence in 2006 was ‘if he soldiers are doing their duty, so must I”. HE finds that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have no appetite for the wars, and he gets really angry trying to focus the Pentagon on ‘winning the wars we are in’. This translates in each area of the defence forces being reluctant to divert funds from long-term programs to more immediate priorities eg. The accelerated procurement of mine-protected transport vehicles. Some part of the joint chiefs attitude may have been formed by Rumsfeld’s ‘ you go to war with the army that you’ve got”, and their curiously disengaged attitudes might have been influenced by his (described in Bradley Grahams’ By His Own Rules’)

Gates gives the Bush 43 administration a pass on internal bickering, though he does say that by the time Gates arrived that neither 43 or Cheney were up for re-election, and that most of the policy decisions had been set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 50 REVIEWER on 4 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
“Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” written by Robert M. Gates, former US Secretary of Defense, who worked with two diametrically different US Presidents from 2006 to 2011, provides a great behind-the-scenes view of political events that marked these years.

Gates who was born in 1943 started his military career in the United States Air Force after which he was recruited by the CIA. In the CIA with breaks he has spent nearly 30 years and worked on a number of important work positions which led him to the position of Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and eventually to two nominations for the position of Director of Central Intelligence. The second offer he received by President Bush he accepted in 1991, becoming the first man who came to the Director position rising from the entry-level work position.

The same American President nominated Gates for the position of Secretary of Defense after the Bush reelection replacing not overly beloved Donald Rumsfeld; what is interesting Gates then got support from both major political parties. After the election of another President, and therefore inevitable White House policy change, Gates continued to serve in Obama’s administration until his retirement in 2011 when he received the highest civilian award Presidential Medal of Freedom, for all merits during his rich career.

His recently published autobiographical book “Memoirs of a Secretary at War” immediately received great publicity after Washington Post wrote that Gates is widely considered as best Defense secretary of the post-World War II era.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the writing is very candid and easy to read. the delivery speed can be improved. i was afraid the book got lost for a few days before it finally arrived.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CVR on 5 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Mr Gates take on working with two Presidents from such disparate backgrounds. It seemed an honest and reasonable view. Well worth reading.
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