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My Share of the Task: A Memoir Hardcover – January 7, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“General McChrystal is a legendary warrior with a fine eye for enduring lessons about leadership, courage, and consequence. He took me inside the command bunker, on nighttime raids, and through the fog of war, political and military. My Share of the Task is an important, riveting, and instructive account of the triumphs and trials of America’s two longest wars.”
—TOM BROKAW, author of The Greatest Generation
“Written in the tradition of Ulysses S. Grant, My Share of the Task is a clear, compelling, self-critical, and utterly unpretentious memoir. I know of no better book on the nature of modern military command.”
—JOHN LEWIS GADDIS, author of George F. Kennan: An American Life
“This is a brilliant book about leadership wrapped inside a fascinating personal narra­tive. By describing his own life, and especially his command in Afghanistan, General McChrystal helps us understand the modern missions of the military. More than that, he provides lessons about leadership and values that are indispensable in our daily lives. It’s a deeply inspiring tale.”
—WALTER ISAACSON, author of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin
“Stanley McChrystal has written the finest military memoir of his generation. Lucid, thoughtful, and steeped in military and strategic history, My Share of the Task is not just the story of one man’s service; it is the story of the development of a new way of war. This book is not just for aficionados of military history or for students of American foreign policy; it’s for anyone who wants to understand the challenges of leadership in America today.”
—WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, author of Special Providence and God and Gold
“A remarkable memoir by one of the most exceptional and thoughtful leaders of his generation.”
—RORY STEWART, author of The Places in Between

About the Author

STANLEY McCHRYSTAL retired in July 2010 as a four-star general in the U.S. Army. His last assignment was as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He had previously served as the direc­tor of the Joint Staff and as the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command. He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the cofounder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm. He and his wife of thirty-five years, Annie, live in Virginia.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Edition edition (January 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844754
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (316 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

188 of 198 people found the following review helpful By Jason C. Howk on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is well researched and honestly portrays the trials General Stan McChrystal and his teams endured during his career. Full disclosure, I have known him for over 20 years and count him as an important mentor in my life, a comrade, and a friend. Three things jump out at me as important to Stanley McChrystal; loyalty, trust, and personal relationships. They are reminiscent of the ideals of Field Marshall W.J. Slim and General U.S. Grant.

My Share of the Task will be compared to both Grant and Slim in their prose and authenticity. It is well written and possibly one of the best military memoirs of our time. If I told you he was not a professional writer I would not be telling you the whole truth. He is. The one flaw in this book is that GEN Stan does not emphasize the lifelong lesson he learned about the importance of correspondence. I have read his words in operations orders, commander's guidance, personal letters, letters of recommendation, and letters to fallen service members family's. He is a gifted author and this story will grab your attention like a Bourne movie script at times.

Like Grant he avoids trying to cause injury to any person in his telling of history. He succeeds in being apolitical. Also like Grant there is a recognition that he cannot possibly mention all the great men and women he served in over his career especially during his decade of war. Instead he introduces us to a few people that can teach us about honor, warfare, friendship, courage, and peace.

Take a seat on the pain train and strap in.
Read more ›
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Joey Lowe on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased the Kindle version a couple of days ago but didn't get a chance to dig into it until last night. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't put it away and I ended up staying up until the wee hours of the morning reading and re-reading portions of the book. General McChrystal gets it and knows how to communicate it. The way he weaved his story clearly demonstrates that he knows how to get the word out without getting lost in meaningless details.

If you are looking for an accurate accounting of the military's worldly involvement for the past 30 years, this is a MUST read. If you want to know more about what motivates a man to become one of the best leaders the US Military has ever known, this is a MUST read. If you are looking to see if he is using this book as a platform for a second career, you might want to pass because it's not there. General McChrystal has done an excellent job of communicating his contributions to freedom and I surmise that his prose is a direct reflection of who he is: a no-nonsense General officer that knew how to get the job done.

Thank you for sharing sir! The only question I have concerns his tours at Fort Stewart. It seems that he and I chewed some of the same ground at the same time. I was in the Marines and it was common practice for the Rangers and the Marines to "mingle" off base. Semper Fi!
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60 of 69 people found the following review helpful By RTM on January 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book worth reading, with both distinct strengths and flaws.
Some Strengths:
1) Describes this General's admirable approach to leadership, and his efforts to carry this out in difficult circumstances. McChrystal tries to implement "The Mission, The Men, and Me" approach described by (former Delta Force commander) Pete Blaber in his fine book.
2) Gives the detailed "inside story" of how the key terrorist Zarqawi was tracked and killed, showing how difficult this task actually was.
3) Demonstrates the success of McChrystal's efforts to break down US bureaucratic and organizational boundaries to fight terrorist networks in Iraq and Afghanistan. McChrystal was able to get competing US Gov't agencies, as well as different parts of the US military, to actually share information and cooperate.
4) Provides many, many examples of the dedication of (and sacrifices made) by US military personnel who tried to make the best of what was often an overwheming situation.
Some Flaws:
1) McChrystal seems very reluctant to criticize anyone involved with the Allied forces. Perhaps this is understandable, but why not address the mistakes made during the initial occupation of Iraq, as well as the undersourced war in Afghanistan?
2) McChrystal also seems reluctant to address what some observers view as a failed strategy in Afghanistan, and is overly optimistic about the situation there. I just finished reading "The Outpost" by Jake Tapper, which dramatically shows the consequences of poor strategy and decision-making by the higher command, including McChrystal.
3) The US civilian leadership, including both Presidents Bush and Obama, seem to get a free pass from McChrystal, despite evidence of indecision, mistakes, and confusion (at least that's my conclusion based on reading other books, such as those by Bob Woodward.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David J. Wallace on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I rated the book four stars based on the lack of information on the Rolling Stone article that led to his resignation. I guess I was looking for more about that article and General McChrystal's comments dealing specifically with the inaccuracies and lies from that article. Other than that, I thought it was an excellent read.
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