From Publishers Weekly
Army generals frequently remain little known outside the military. That was true of four-star general Clark until he decided to seek the Democratic Party nomination for the 2004 presidential race. In a combination memoir, patriotic tract and broadside about contemporary American politics, Clark explains how his dismay with the Bush administration's determination to invade Iraq without good reason primed him to seek the presidency. On the campaign trail, Clark suggested that using military force to defeat terrorists would likely prove futile. Instead, he touted the value of negotiation. How a four-star general ended up less hawkish than the civilian in the White House is linked to the events of his life, from growing up in the segregated city of Little Rock, Ark., to becoming NATO's supreme allied commander, Europe. The freshest material covers his command of international peacekeeping troops in Kosovo, as the 1990s civil war in the former Yugoslavia threatened to engulf neighboring countries. Little will be unfamiliar to those who supported Clark's presidential bid, or of interest to those who didn't. (Sept.)
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Clark's autobiography begins with an account of the serious wounds he received in battle in Vietnam. His experience there, he avers, crystallized principles of leadership. Yet as interested as some are in the secrets of successful leadership, most will approach Clark's memoir for the windows it opens into his personal and professional life. Although Clark recalls salient memories from his youth in Little Rock, Arkansas, such as the desegregation crisis of 1957, he structures his material largely by his ascent up the military hierarchy, from the West Point class of 1966 to his last post, as NATO commander of the 1999 war on Serbia. West Point was a life-altering experience: he survived the hazing, discovered a talent for soldiering, and met his future wife. In direct, unadorned prose, Clark imparts his conviction of the anticommunist cause in Vietnam and his significant contribution to the army's recovery in the 1980s. The book closes with Clark's Democratic Party presidential candidacy in 2004 and his criticism of the Iraq war, signaling that the author's engagement in politics may continue. Taylor, Gilbert