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Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell Paperback – November 6, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
DeYoung captures the essence of Powell by delving deeply into his world. This she accomplished through a series of comprehensive interviews that offer a full picture of the man. Powell may have his shortcomings, but try and find another like him! DeYoung also succeeds, because of her skills and experiences as a Washington insider. She talks Powell's language of "intel-speak" and "Realpolitik." A pragmatist and not an ideologue, Powell always has been a good soldier. He is at once loyal in service, yet also unafraid to raise a flag as a referee might do at a sporting event. He kept administration extremists at arm's length and tried to exert a moderating influence over policies and events.
As good as he is, Powell is not Superman. In some ways, he fell short of steering administrations away from such pitfalls as the Iran-contra affair and the present quandary in Iraq. Even the euphoria of the 1991 liberation of Kuwait did not translate into a regime change in Iraq, because it would have fractured the coalition, turned the Muslim world against the US, and left America hard-pressed to win the peace amid sectarian violence and groping to come up with an exit strategy. Like today.Read more ›
Once Colin Powell's life starts revolving around Washington, though, the author's strengths really do come out and the book becomes a very good read.
Like many (all?) of the other reviewers, I am a fan of the book's subject, so I had a strong desire for this book to succeed from the moment I saw the title. However, that positive bias alone would not be enough to grant four stars. This is a quality book.
I do, though, strongly encourage people to read Powell's autobiography prior to reading this biography. The combination (in that order) will allow you to develop a much more informed picture of the man.
" . . . soldiers didn't' quit when they disagreed with the decisions of their commanders . . . he would be a soldier until he drew his last breath."
"I've had tough days. I've had great days . . . There are days where things don't go so well and a position you might have been pushing isn't successful . . . That just comes with the business. And if that's going to put you into a blue funk, then you're in the wrong business . . . I've been shot at for real, as opposed to the way I get shot at now."
The reviews of excellence written about DeYoung's large-scale undertaking about this extraordinary man are accurate. The story of Powell's life from the time he was asked to resign by President Bush to his family ties in Jamaica, and his beginning in the United States Armed Forces and back again, to give a speech at the War College . . . and everything in between is simply brilliantly and fluidly portrayed.
DeYoung answers, as I needed answers, why this man of great integrity appeared to have lost his credibility during the sent off mission he was asked to extend himself to with respect the WMD issue during the Iraq War. DeYoung further answers a very important question of why Colin Powell, now going on age 69 (I didn't know that!) chose not to become involved with electoral politics. Nevertheless, here is Colin Powell, personally the one individual who could have brought this nation closer together in a way not seen since the times of President Lincoln. Missed opportunity or a soldier being a soldier? Perhaps a little of both. Somehow, I believe Colin Powell is far from done.Read more ›
Karen DeYoung, a senior editor and foreign policy reporter at the Washington Post, examines Powell's life in fascinating detail in this book. She does her best to get inside his head and explain some of the puzzling aspects of his personality. When you turn her final page, you know an awful lot about Colin Powell as a person and about his career path, but whether you truly understand what makes the man tick is hard to say. In important respects he remains an enormously respected enigma.
DeYoung covers the early stages of Powell's military career in workmanlike detail, but inevitably her main focus, dominating the last half of her 523-page text, details his four-year tenure as George W. Bush's Secretary of State and his involvement in the run-up to the Iraq war.
The obvious questions abound: What was his attitude toward the Iraq venture? Did he try to derail it? Why did he not resign when his counsel was ignored? Why did he reject the idea of running for President himself? Is he in any sense blameworthy for the unfortunate turn of events in Iraq? If he is not, who is?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kinda loses its steam in the last quarter, but the author does her best to move things along.Published 1 month ago by Jocasta B.
I purchased this book as a requirement to read a bio. This is an excellent book and I really enjoyed reading it. At times I didn't, want to stop.Published on September 21, 2013 by MICHAEL JOHNSON
Born an Army Brat, schooled overseas, and a veteran of 24 years in the Air Force, a "fan" of Gen. Powell - I really wanted to like this book. Gen. Read morePublished on February 27, 2011 by L. Hill
The author got some basic information wrong. She incorrectly calls H. Norman Schwarzkopf, "Norman H. Schwarzkopf" and several times writes "Fort Myers" instead of "Fort Myer. Read morePublished on October 5, 2009 by Amazon Customer
After reading this very interesting biography of Colin Powell, one can easily believe that he would himself have cracked that joke regarding the publication of his life story (to... Read morePublished on January 5, 2009 by G. Stelzenmuller
I don't know what Karen has in mind but this is one book that does not have a table of contents. She seems to want more that readers read this cover to cover of 700 page book than... Read morePublished on December 14, 2007 by Ben T. Tsao
Reviewed by Laura V. Hilton
Colin L. Powell is probably one of the most admired men in recent American history. A military general and serving a tenure as U.S. Read more
Overall, this book is an excellent, informative look into the life of Powell. However, it certainly seems to have a definite slant towards the left in the personal opinions of the... Read morePublished on November 1, 2007 by Priscilla Stilwell