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My American Journey: An Autobiography Hardcover – Print, September 9, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

General Powell may have undertaken this book as a form of paid political test marketing, but it turns out to be a success of an altogether different kind. We don't learn from this book if Powell is presidential material, but his recounting of the various steps of his career give us an unrivaled view of the ins and outs of military bureaucracy and shows how the modern American military, with its consistent emphasis on can-do attitudes and actual results, is a much more congenial place for realizing one's talents than our still-alarmingly pigeonholing general society.

From School Library Journal

YA?The eminently readable journey of one African American boy from a close-knit neighborhood in the South Bronx through his rise to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to civilian retirement. Powell was neither an athlete nor a scholar; his childhood centered around his home, friends, and church. Later, in college, he found his niche. ROTC offered structure and purpose. A recounting of his army career and the support offered by family and friends are the primary focus of this work. Challenges, lessons learned, and opportunities opened by each posting are shared. Commanding officers, selected business contracts, and four presidents are introduced and evaluated, almost all in a positive light. Powell's involvement with and analysis of national and international affairs, from Vietnam to the Clinton administration, are succinctly and objectively recounted. Scattered throughout the book are personal rules of conduct and occasional incidents of particular kindnesses and of racism. Teens are given an opportunity to spend some time with a thoughtful, positive leader. They can share one participant's view of recent history and gain one perspective on our country's current needs.?Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (September 9, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679432965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679432968
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J.D. Samuels on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
An American success story if there ever was one. Colin Powell vividly depicts his extraordinary life and career that could only take place in the setting of America. This autobiography wheels you through life in the poor neighborhoods in the Bronx to Washington Power broker. Colin Powell takes you though his life through his eyes, and into history, in some ways while reading it, I felt as though it was Forrest Gump on steroids, but the story is true.
Anyone interested in the policymaking process should read this book, as Powell describes his role as well as the role of other American leaders in making some of the most crucial decisions, the reader is swept into the pressures and challenges faced with America's leaders on a daily basis. The book delivers an account into the lives of Dick Cheney, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and others, allowing you to take a more personal look at American leadership. It is so easy to criticize from the outside looking in, but usually criticism as well as praise, is done by the uninformed.
One aspect I found particularly educational was how Powell provided a small glimpse to me (A young white male) of an educated man, a commissioned officer of the United States Army, refused service in restaurants, and discriminated in others ways. It is a credit to Powell, how he rose above narrow-minded bigotry and focused on the positive; resisting the temptation of "victimization" to become one of the most powerful and respected men in the country. I recommend this book to anyone, black, white, Latino, male, female, liberal, or conservative.
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71 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Hilde Bygdevoll on March 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"My American journey" is the story of Colin Powell. He is the living symbol of the American dream. Powell was born in Harlem, and grew up in South Bronx. His parents were hard-working immigrants from Jamaica. He went to school in New York, and later joined the ROTC.
"My American Journey" is a very well written biography. Together with lots of pictures from Powell's personal life, from his childhood in Bronx, and ending with his official career in the White House, the easygoing writing style makes this an interesting read. I truly enjoyed learning more about the Vietnam War and the bravery of the US soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. Additionally, after reading what Powell and Schwartzkopf experienced during the Vietnam War, I can better understand Powell's Gulf goals and actions. Previous to reading this book, I did not have a lot of knowledge about Panama and the invasion, therefore I found this part to be very interesting too.
The book provides us with a great study of leadership, while it also is a good study of military history and politics. "My American Journey" is an excellent story and example that shows us what possessing a strong motivation and integrity can lead to. You certainly do not need to be an American to appreciate the positive attitudes and the message that Powell sends through his book.
I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read about an interesting life, leadership, military history, and politics.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "booshkindoggin" on March 30, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
RE: AUDIO TAPE VERSION READ BY POWELL. I am a Colin Powell admirer but a definitive biography would better be told by a skilled independent writer, and after more "chapters" in his life are complete. Powell may indeed be a man of few faults but we can't be sure of that from his own words. I disagree however with reviewers who postulate that Powell has puffed-up his own accomplishments, on the contrary he's excessively modest. Rising to the highest position in the most powerful military in world history (and now to US Sec. of State) without benefit of a West Point education & connections describes a truly extraordinary individual. And far from savaging his detractors and the many incompetants he must have encountered along the way, Powell offers only a few token, and generally mild, criticisms. This book displays insight into Powell's background, development and beliefs but sidesteps tough questions of who screwed up and when. In that sense it is highly Politic - burns no bridges - and gives one hope that Powell may yet consider an Eisenhower-like leap to the highest civilian office.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kelly V. Denton on January 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Historians, military leaders, intelligence (or counterintelligence) officers, or students of foreign policy (or government for that matter) need to put GEN Powell's book on their must read list. I bought the book when it first came out in hardcover, and couldn't put it down. It sits on my nightstand, and I still pick it up and read pieces from time to time. It is an amazing success story and an inspiration--as well as great publicity--for those who have been or are in the military. As a career counterintelligence officer, I find his perspective from the position of National Security Advisor during the Ronald Reagan Presidency informative and useful when taking a look back at the times. GEN Powell, I believe, was (maybe still is) sensitive to being called a political general. Truth to tell, he will probably be known for years to come as much more than that: he is unquestionably one of the greatest statesmen of our times. The US military is full of savvy officers who are comfortable in uniform and in the field but miscast in civilian clothes. GEN Powell is an officer who was equally comfortable and effective in both. Regrettably, I never had a chance to work directly for him or have the benefit of his wisdom until now. One of the finest books I've ever read. Kelly V. Denton, Dieburg, Germany
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