From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Washington Post
reporter DeYoung covers Powell's entire career in this nuanced, comprehensively researched first complete biography to bring to life the Jamaican immigrants' son who became chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, secretary of state and a widely supported potential candidate for president. DeYoung presents her subject as above all a soldier, with an ethic of honor and service shaped by his career in the U.S. Army, during which he brought a combination of intellectual force and moral courage to his senior military appointments that distinguished him among his contemporaries. DeYoung, who obtained six in-depth interviews with Powell, explains that he wrestled with whether or not he had the duty to run for president in 2000, but ultimately realized he didn't want the presidency from the "depth of [his] stomach or soul." She correspondingly demonstrates that his continuing commitment to public service drove his ascension to secretary of state—a commitment that was strained to the limit during Powell's four years in office. DeYoung paints a favorable but balanced portrait of Powell, and she avoids using him as an instrument for Bush-bashing. Powell emerges from her account as a person who grew to meet his wider responsibilities. Photos not seen by PW
. (Oct. 10)
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Despite the slight tarnish to Powell's reputation following revelations that his earnest testimony before the UN in support of the war on Iraq was mostly baseless, he remains one of the most trusted figures in the U.S. Washington Post
editor DeYoung offers an absorbing look at Powell's long journey from the son of Jamaican immigrants to one of the most powerful and esteemed soldiers and statesmen of our time. DeYoung details Powell's challenges in a 35-year career to overcome racial restrictions and to navigate the cultures of military and civilian life as well as politics. Powell eventually gained a status that often superseded issues of race and made him a frequent object of speculation as vice president and even president. Through a series of powerful positions from national security advisor under Reagan to Secretary of State under the current Bush, Powell was in the midst of controversies from the first Gulf War to the current war in Iraq. Readers will, no doubt, be most interested in the later chapters of the book that detail Powell's mounting reservations about the Bush policy in Iraq and visceral tensions with other powerful--and considerably more hawkish--advisors, including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, eventually leading to Powell's resignation. A thoroughly engrossing look at a man of uncommon duty and loyalty who has held his tongue at some cost to his reputation. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved