Memoirs of A Secretary at War

Gates, Robert Michael

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The former Secretary of Defense offers a candid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2014.
ISBN: 0307959473
Characteristics: x, 618 pages :,color illustrations ;,25 cm


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May 14, 2014
  • Memawrayne rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book proves the adage "too many cooks" or "too many chiefs" All have agendas and it is a wonder that anything gets done for the men and women who are actually putting their lives and well-being on the line. Excellent insight into this department in our government.

Mar 20, 2014
  • Ham625 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A rewarding book by a person chosen by two presidents to serve as his Defense Secretary. There is much to learn from his experiences particularly his "reflections."

I have some real problems with the " Author Notes " section: Gates wasn't first in the USAF, then recruited by the CIA, he was first at the DoD and CIA, and advised to do a stint as a military officer for career reasons. He appears to be groomed from even before college (at the high school level) for his career, perhaps because his uncle was the Defense Secretary under Eisenhower? He was acting CIA director under Bush #1, and only ACTING as a historic event occurred: several thousand CIA analysts went public castigating Gates' record for " politicizing " (fictionalizing) the intel reports. A relative of Gates related to me that Gates career w/CIA began as a second-story man, or professional burglar, but I've never been able to verify this. (This is the guy who boiled cats during high school, ostensibly for science projects?)

Feb 17, 2014
  • Bill_R rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Well worth reading regardless of where you are on the political spectrum for what it was like to run two wars for two presidents from inside the sausage factory that is Washington DC. Gates details what it takes to get things done through a huge organization with 3 million employees. The book is far more balanced and respectful than the early ‘buzz’, and his last chapter of reflections is valuable on the reasons why DC is less functional than the troops under fire deserve.

Feb 01, 2014
  • johncruse rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Seems anti-Semitic , but perhaps simply fails to understand the history and present situation in the Middle East.


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