The powerful unvarnished memoir of General Hugh Shelton, war hero, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during 9/11, and one of the leading military figures of our time
Whether serving under a Democratic president or a Republican president, General Shelton was never afraid to speak out and tell it like it is. Shelton chronicles his incredible journey from a small farming community in North Carolina to the highest level of American military and political power at the Pentagon and White House.
As one of the nation’s elite Special Forces soldiers, Shelton served twice in Vietnam, commanding a Green Beret unit and then an airborne infantry company. He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart for a wound suffered when a booby trap drove a poisoned stake through his leg.
Shelton rose up the ranks and was assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division as they invaded Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, then led the 20,000 American troops tasked with restoring Haiti’s deposed President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to power. Promoted to 4-star General, he became Commander in Chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (including Delta Force, Navy SEALS and other top secret Special Mission Units).
But it was while serving as Chairman during both the Clinton and Bush administrations that he faced his biggest challenges, including his role as chief architect of the U.S. military response to 9/11. General Shelton speaks frankly of how decisions were made behind the scenes in the inner sanctum of the E-Ring and Oval Office, and reveals key military operations and meetings that have not yet been revealed, including:
* High-ranking Cabinet member proposes intentionally allowing an American pilot to be killed by the Iraqis to have an excuse to retaliate and go to war.
* Details of a contentious Camp David meeting among President George W. Bush and his National Security Council immediately after 9/11, where internal battle lines were drawn---and Shelton (along with Colin Powell) convinced President Bush to do the right thing.
* How Rumsfeld persuaded General Tommy Franks to bypass the Joint Chiefs, leading to a badly flawed Iraq war plan that failed to anticipate the devastating after-effects of the insurgency and civil war.
* CIA botched high-profile terrorist snatches, leaving Shelton’s Special Operations teams to clean up their mess.
* How Shelton “persuaded” Haiti’s dictator to flee the country.
* And much more.
Yet it's Shelton’s amazing personal story that puts his military career in perspective. It began with a fall from a ladder in his backyard, resulting in total paralysis from the neck down---and a risky experimental procedure, so dangerous that if it didn’t cure him, chances are it would kill him.
Revealing, compelling, and controversial, this is the story of a man whose integrity and ethics were always above reproach, and who dedicated his life to serving his country.