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Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior [Kindle Edition]

Hugh Shelton , Ronald Levinson , Malcolm McConnell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $20.99
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Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

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.

* Attempts to kill Usama bin Laden that were shot down by our State Department.

* 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.

Editorial Reviews


“General Shelton is a man from another time, when honor and one's word were more important than personal gain and the fiscal bottom line. I hope there are more like him out there. We need them now, more than ever.”

 --Tom Clancy, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

Hugh Shelton served in the U.S. Army as a specialist in airborne operations and special operations tactics and was commander in chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command (including Delta Force, Navy SEALs, and other top-secret Special Mission Units). Shelton was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. He lives in North Carolina.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2440 KB
  • Print Length: 572 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312599056
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,421 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read About A 38-Year Career October 12, 2010
In General Hugh Shelton's autobiography, the reader is taken through his thirty eight year career, starting with his days in ROTC as an undergraduate at North Carolina state. While it would have been tempting for General Shelton to focus only on his most noticeable position --namely his stint from 1997-2001 as the Chairman, he conveys to the reader that it was all the other positions where he learned, implemented and worked to refine the leadership principles that led him into that position. Readers of current history will find many insights into the leadership of President Clinton that has been continually debunked, and also that of Rumsfeld, which has been hopelessly overplayed. There's plenty of anecdotal stories here, but all pale in comparison of the man who deftly fielded challenges with a combination of brains, and tenacity while keeping not only Army values, but his own intact.

Coming in at just over 500 pages, Shelton covers a lot of ground in this account of his 38 year career in the Army. He covers his childhood in North Carolina, Vietnam, other wars, small posts, exotic ones, and insight about the difficulties in moving a family around twenty-three times. This is a much-examined life, and throughout he gives thanks to the support of his wife Carolyn, and their family. He does much to tell everyone about the sacrifices military families make, starting with his own, with much candor.

This is good reading for anyone who has ever wondered, "How does someone become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?" or "What does a military career look like? What does it entail?" It's a valid question, since these men and women lead legions of warriors and also show up one day on our television screens. Younger readers will find the passages on Vietnam worth reading.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT "HESITATE" YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!!! October 15, 2010
I was given this book as a gift and thought it was a strange choice since I'm neither a military nor history buff, and had never heard of General Shelton... but after reading the book, all I can say is WOW! Putting his awesome military career aside, I was blown away by his personal triumph - a complete recovery from a near-death injury in which doctors said he would be paralyzed for life. Not taking that as an acceptable answer, he battled back to a near-perfect recovery - according to the book, the only one in medical history to do so. Too bad his successors didn't listen to him regarding Iraq; for if they had, I'm convinced that thousands of our nation's finest would be home with their wives, husbands and children, rather than laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery. An important book about an inspirational leader.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars honesty at last October 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When the film Ben Hur was first released, stories circulated about movie goers who timed their arrival at the theater to coincide with the chariot race. For readers with a military background and for about the same reason, I recommend starting this extraordinary book at chapter 13, when General Shelton becomes chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His comparison of Defense Secretaries Bill Cohen to Don Rumsfeld is insightful, entertaining and persuasive, candid almost beyond belief. If Shelton is no fan of Rumsfeld or General Tommy Franks, he sets forth the reasons and the context in the language of the street.

General Shelton may not be a great theoretician--nor does he claim to be--but he is a world-class observer of the first order.

His run-ins with Senator McCain weren't fun, but Shelton's recollections of professional encounters are entertaining and also insightful. (They're too hilarious to repeat here).

If chapters 1-13 are foreplay, they explains how general are born and bred. General Shelton is one of the top.

My only complaint is the length of the book, although the core is critical to understanding why the invasion of Iraq was pre-ordained to (you pick the word).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! October 17, 2010
Grabs you from the first page, very interesting intercutting between the general's miraculous recovery from his life-threatening injury with a linear chronology of his amazing life. Don't think I've ever read as realistic accounts of the Vietnam War, and the behind the scenes scenario of what really played out in Haiti is enough of a reason to get the book in and of itself. After a few middle chapters that didn't seem to have quite the pace of the rest, it kicked back into high gear when the general got his 4th star and headed Delta Force and Navy Seals -- amazed that these stories cleared the government security censors - VERY COOL indeed!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Without Any Hesitation ! February 24, 2011
Format:Unknown Binding
Having only had an exposure to Gen Shelton through the television and news broadcasts, I didn't have any idea of his character and background. I was impressed with the humbleness of this great leader and moved by his compassion for the soldiers. His background obviously shaped his future and destiny. It was an inspiration to read the story and I can understand where he found the strength to overcome his horrific accident ! I appreciated his honesty in revealing the politics at the very top, which I had long suspected were issues. He dealt with matters head on and didn't "sugar coat" the facts. I appreciate his willingness and moral courage to tell this story without hesitation ! A powerful and inspirational book ! A study in Leadership and personal sacrifice !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It was a great read. It was wonderful to read about a true American hero. May his tribe increase!
Published 2 months ago by John Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I live in North Carolina and am a retired U.S. Army Reserve Officer. I was curious as to General Shelton's background and so started reading the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by jimmck
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best
Although an interesting story of General Shelton's life, and organized well around his unfortunate accident and recovery efforts, the most striking theme of the book is that this... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lovell K. Henson
5.0 out of 5 stars General
A great book! It's just to bad there aren't more officers like General Shelton if there were, the disaster in Iraq would never have happened.
Published 5 months ago by richard harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight Shooter
Gen. Shelton has a high degree of integrity and tells it like it is. He doesn't think too highly of Gen. Tommy Franks, Wesley Clark, Don Rumsfeld or Paul Wolfowitz. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ronzo Garbonzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
A great book about a phenomenal leader! I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. General Shelton will go down in history as one of the greatest Generals America has seen.
Published 11 months ago by RichV
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star rating with cautionary notes
Without Hesitation by Gen. Hugh Shelton
Without Hesitation gets a five-star rating but there are concerns below. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Paul B. Eaglin
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Newly Commissioned 2LTs.
Restores my confidence in the integrity of most of our military leaders. Especially in this day of civilian leaders taking the political correct position and being self motivated... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Gene D. Morin
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A good and interesting view of life in the military. Decisions to be made, consequences of them and a lesson to be learned on how to treat subordinates. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Digger
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
First half of the book was excellent. Last half too much detail and somewhat repetitious in parts. All in all good insight of one of our better generals since WWII.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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How can the kindle book cost more than the hardback
You guys should buy the paperback edition then. You get the advantage of more weight, extra thickness, super small font, having to hold open a book while reading, annoying shadows when you get in the middle part of the book, no dictionary, wasted shelf space....... I'll take kindle all day,... Read More
Jan 25, 2011 by F. Yung |  See all 2 posts
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