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My American Journey Paperback – 1 Feb 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Updated ed. edition (Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345466411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345466419
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 685,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"A GREAT AMERICAN SUCCESS STORY . . . AN ENDEARING AND WELL-WRITTEN BOOK."
--The New York Times Book Review
Colin Powell is the embodiment of the American dream. He was born in Harlem to immigrant parents from Jamaica. He knew the rough life of the streets. He overcame a barely average start at school. Then he joined the Army. The rest is history--Vietnam, the Pentagon, Panama, Desert Storm--but a history that until now has been known only on the surface. Here, for the first time, Colin Powell himself tells us how it happened, in a memoir distinguished by a heartfelt love of country and family, warm good humor, and a soldier's directness.
MY AMERICAN JOURNEY is the powerful story of a life well lived and well told. It is also a view from the mountaintop of the political landscape of America. At a time when Americans feel disenchanted with their leaders, General Powell's passionate views on family, personal responsibility, and, in his own words, "the greatness of America and the opportunities it offers" inspire hope and present a blueprint for the future. An utterly absorbing account, it is history with a vision.
"The stirring, only-in-America story of one determined man's journey from the South Bronx to directing the mightiest of military forces . . . Fascinating."--The Washington Post Book World
"Eloquent."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review
"PROFOUND AND MOVING . . . . Must reading for anyone who wants to reaffirm his faith in the promise of America."
--Jack Kemp
The Wall Street Journal
"A book that is much like its subject--articulate, confident, impressive, but unpretentious and witty. . . . Whether you are a political junkie, a military buff, or justinterested in a good story, MY AMERICAN JOURNEY is a book well worth reading."
--San Diego Union Tribune
"Colin Powell's candid, introspective autobiography is a joy for all with an appetite for well-written political and social commentary."
--The Detroit News

"From the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Colin Powell is the embodiment of the American dream. He was born in Harlem to immigrant parents from Jamaica. He knew the rough life of the streets. He overcame a barely average start at school. Then he joined the Army. The rest is history - but a history that until now has been known only on the surface. Here, for the first time, he himself tells us how it happened, in a memoir distinguished by a heartfelt love of country and family, warm good humor, and a soldier's directness. He writes of the anxieties and missteps as well as the triumphs that marked his rise to four-star general, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, mastermind of Desert Storm, and now the man the country would most like to draft as President just as it drafted General Eisenhower before him in 1952. We see Powell growing up, getting into mischief, going to church with his father, working in a bottling plant, joining the ROTC. We follow him as a green young lieutenant on his first foreign posting in Germany, where his ascent is nearly aborted by a blunder on the day he is assigned to guard an atomic cannon. We go on patrol with him into the jungles of Vietnam, where he is wounded, and then, in the first surprise turn of his career, into the every-bit-as-dangerous thickets of Washington bureaucracy as a Pentagon aide in the Carter administration. We see how he handled the humiliations inflicted on him as a black soldier traveling in the Deep South and the unnerving challenges he faced as a battalion commander in Korea, where the army guarding the border with North Korea was plagued by drugs, drinking, a lack of discipline, and racial tension. We are edge-of-the-seat spectators to some ofthe great international dramas of our time - Desert Storm, the invasion of Panama, the dark dealings of Iran-contra with Ollie North and Bill Casey, the climactic meetings with Gorbachev. And we are present also at the encounters with President Clinton on the controversial question of gays in the military. Powell gives us behind-the-scenes portraits of Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, of Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf, and many others. This is a book of political excitement and disclosure, but it is much more. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By A Customer on 16 July 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in chunks, and could not put it down, every moment I had free, that book was in my hand. General Powell is a very admirable person, someone who defeated the odds, and have endured a lot. This book should be required reading in schools, not because of the great story, but because it shows a small part of the bureaucratic machine in Washington, and how big decisions are made. Which I found fascinating.
I loved the little stories that are shared with the reader, the stories you don't get from everyone, the little jokes and humanising character I only hear about in the news.
I could not help but notice that the last part of the book is, or seems like, very self serving, where the General explains how he was right, while the others were wrong, and how he managed to come out as the good guy. I'm not doubting the man, but it seems a bit extricated, and becomes a bit too much. Still, this is a man who deserves admiration.
At the end of the book there is a list of General Powell's Rules. I printed a copy and have it hanging in my office.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is wonderfully written. You can hear Powell speaking as you read his words. I've hardly been able to put the book down.
I have enjoyed reading about the different points in his life and how perseverence and fate has shaped his career.
I also recommend this book for high schoolers of today. The book is loaded with lots of lessons and points in leadership. I think a lot of managers and adult leaders could learn quite a bit from these lessons in life.
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Format: Paperback
This books combines the various threads that make up the present US Secretary of State Colin Powell. It starts with a charming family history of the Jamaican Powell’s and their US Journey, and young Colin growing up in New York. He paints a nostalgic view of his College ROTC years, lamenting it’s decline in latter times. Of interest to many would be his description of his army posting in a pre-segregation South. Reading between the lines, his army career seem to consist of not upsetting his superiors and rocking the boat. This was of assistance to him during the Gulf War I, in maintaining a very diverse coliation. It’s also fascinating to see how Dick Chaney and Donald Rumsfield are mentioned in this book. I am looking forward to his follow on book detailing the Bush years.
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Format: Hardcover
This book deserves praise on so many different levels. Powell
has told a wonderful story about his life, but that's what an
autobiography is supposed to do. He has given us many of his
opinions and insights into the Washington political and military
culture, but that's what everyone expected him to do. He has
also provided us with a readable and thoroughly enjoyable
modern social history. This is what makes the book a "must read."
This book is not a dry historical text. It is nostalgic or new,
culturally, politically and militarily, depending on the reader's experiences.
For example, Powell's story of driving through the South, alone,
during the height of America's racial and civil unrest will undoubtedly
cause some readers to stop and think about related events in their
own lives. However, for younger readers the passage may be more of
an educational awakening. Either way, all readers will be touched.
The reason this book succeeds is because Powell does not only
what is necessary or expected, but what is interesting as well.
And he does it in a down-to-earth, conversational way.
This book is for anyone of any age, political party, race or occupation.
This book is for anyone who wants to learn not only about Colin
Powell and his "American Journey," but also about OUR American journey.
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Format: Paperback
This is a substantial and well written book that tells General Powell's story until his retirement from the Army. He has, of course, been central to many events of the Reagan and Bush presidencies and even early in Clinton's too. He explains and justifies his role and his mastery of Washington intrigue is clear despite his disdain for politics.

There can be no doubt that he is a remarkable man - he comes over as warm and personable as he explains his passion for developing other people. His is generous with his praise of others and sparing with his criticisms. He does provide some valubale insights into his leadership style and values.

There must be a nagging doubt about whether this is a book that has been written and presented for a market. His co-author has been influential no doubt, and perhaps provides a polish that takes off the edge of the real Colin Powell. In one telling passage, he talks about being short-tempered and impatient with others, but there is virtually no examples given in the text of this. So, while this is almost certainly a genuine account of his values, I do wonder if this is selective when it comes to his behaviours. Is this a book that presents Colin Powell in the way that he would like to come across? As this is his autobiography, he is, of course, entitled to do that.

The accounts of negotiations with the soviets over arms control, the first gulf war and many others are fascinating. Perhaps space has caused these accounts to be truncated though. There are many times when one is left thinking that there must be more to it than has been presented.

Nevertheless, this si a good book, well written and that moves at a decent pace. I enjoyed it.
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