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on December 26, 2009
Always happy with my Amazon purchases. Just about the time I forget I ordered something, I have a little surprise waiting for me in my mailbox. This book is a great read for persons interested in understanding our current events today. Written in a more interesting style than a history book.
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on September 22, 2014
I read this book three years ago and details are now mostly patches of cloud in the sky, however, was mostly impressed by Abizaid and Chiarrelli. I like their leadership style. To me, Abizaid it the most intelligent and forward looking of the four. I would have like to see Westley Clark included with these Four Stars. Abizaid reminds me lone Westener voice on the middle east after the Great War (World War I). To me, this is a 4-1/2 stars but I opted to give it a 5-stars.
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on November 25, 2010
Well written book with insights many of us did not know. This is especially true as to the issue of the surge in Iraq. But, also as to the differing policies and in-process strategies to bring some sustained peace to Iraq.

As most know, the post Iraq plan was not a plan, but rather a hope the Iraqi people who would welcome the American with "sweets" ( as Rumsfelt once said)..but, this was not the case.

With the totally disbandment of the Iraqi Army and the civilian infrastructure, the insurgency was assured. The direct result of the Bush Administration (no one know who exactly gave the order to Bremer) was the deaths of thousands of Americans-a war of choice and not of necessity.

That said, the book outlines the generals who played a significant and historical part of the Iraq War...from their beginning as young soldiers to four star generals.

A good read for those who wish more introspective..and truth to the Iraq War.

Iraq/2005;Afghanistan/2003; HOA/2002 & 2008
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on March 26, 2011
I just finished an excellent book called The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army. I believe that the experience of the generals profiled in this book can teach us in academia a great deal about how the culture of large and tradition bound institutions can be transformed.

In order to effectively fight in Iraq these generals, particularly David Patraeus, needed to reverse the deeply held traditional Army doctrine of force protection and overwhelming kinetic warfare. In its place, Petraeus was able to instill counter-insurgency tactics that emphasized protecting the population and co-opting former insurgents to create the security necessary to build institutions.

As a learning technologist working for a private college I have very little contact with military people and institutions. I know little about the armed forces academies and colleges, beyond that they have a reputation for extreme academic rigor and are known for producing some of our highest quality postsecondary graduates.

I have no idea how the armed forces utilize learning technology in their institutions of higher learning. I have an inkling that a great number of active duty personnel and veterans utilize online learning, but I have never worked directly with this population.

I've come to believe that my ignorance about our military is a problem. Beyond the embarrassing fact that I don't personally know anybody who has served and sacrificed in our nation's wars over the past 6 years, and have a poor understanding of military educational institutions, I think that I am missing an opportunity to learn about cultures and how they transform themselves.

In higher education we are engaged in a cultural shift. One that puts the learner at the center of the construction and delivery of education, a process that is catalyzed by technology. We are living through a transition from a scarcity of educational materials and knowledge to an abundance. We are working to redesign our institutions, programs and courses to meet the needs of a new set learners, as well as to open up higher education to groups that have traditionally been closed out.

How can we make connections and build relationships with members of our military who also work in education? At EDUCAUSE I did not see any presentations by people from armed forces academies or institutions (did I miss them?). I'm not sure how to make these connections. How can we learn from the larger experience of transformation in the military to help us manage our own transformations?

Below are 4 books that I read in the past couple years on the U.S. military. Any recommendations for other books would be appreciated.

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground
Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military, from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond
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on November 30, 2009
An excellent summary of the trials,errors, and frustrations of the war in Iraq from the military point of view.
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on August 1, 2010
I may not one to judge but I found the book a bit to "article like" and although the information was a bit flat in the details about the men behind the stars.
I personally know and have served with General Peter W. Chiarelli who was our Battalion S3 as a major during the Canadian Army Trophy in 1987. I was in the winning 1st Platoon and was with the Company the entire time before and after the trophy. I have issues with the portrayal of General Chiarelli leadership in the mission. He was present but not as the operating force. There was a Battalion Commander, LTC Noyes, who at best allowed us to do what was needed due to his lack of experience. Then there was the Company Commander Joe Schmalzel the Company XO and the Platoon Leaders who got down to the organization of it all. Major Chiarelli was certainly a character with a booming personality but according to the book he created and won CAT, which is simply not true. He had his influences but the true accomplishment goes to those who were in the field with us for those 10 months as well as the true organizers of this Trophy.
The author should have informed himself a bit more, almost the entire team of CAT 87 is easy to contact and many are still in the Army.
I must admit I flipped right to the part about CAT first; I was too ashamed to read the rest of the book, ashamed that once again a personal opinion of an author skewed the facts.
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on October 29, 2010
The Fourth Star is a very well researched, well written account following the lives of four Army generals through their careers and into the Iraq conflict. Although each had their unique personality and style of leadership, as well as knowledge of the Middle East, each was thrown by our civilian leadership in Washington into an untenable situation in Iraq. And each came to the conclusion that our civilian leadership hasn't a clue of how to repair a centuries old conflict.
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on December 19, 2012
being a vietnam era Army veteran these analysis is poignant. I've always wondered how, and why, Eisenhower and others rose to the top. Learning why MacArthur kept his job for so long after all his belligerence towards his commander-in-chief was fascinating.
I would definitely recommend this book to any historical or military buff...
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on February 23, 2011
The book is certainly worthy of Five Stars ! Exceptional in all regards. The impact that these distinquished leaders have had on shaping the US Army is dramatic, and the book logically developes the story from the beginning of each of the Officers careers. As a career Army Officer, I can appreciate the hardships that they endured on their rise to the top. This was an excellent book that deserves special recognition as a classic study in leadership. Highly recommend to anyone who wonders how the Army has evolved.
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on February 9, 2010
This book was straightforward and very insightful. I highly recommend that everyone read it to understand how the current leaders of the U.S. Army came to be and what we can expect from the next generation of U.S. Army leaders.
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