By His Own Rules

By His Own Rules : The Ambitions, Successes, and Ultimate Failures of Donald Rumsfeld

3.67 (40 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is a penetrating portrait of Donald Rumsfeld by a respected journalist who has covered him closely and knows him well.This thoughtful, insightful, deeply-reported book is the first substantive biography of the man at the heart of the greatest American policy disaster since Vietnam.The story of Donald Rumsfeld is an exceptional personal drama that has had profound consequences for America and the world. Rumsfeld came to the job with a stunning resume. Once a young congressional hotshot, he had served with skill and creativity at the top levels of the Nixon and Ford administrations, and then gone on to score big in the corporate world as a rescuer of troubled firms. With a reputation as an agent of change, he took charge of the Pentagon - the government's biggest bureaucracy - determined to shake up the place and transform it for 21st century warfare. But searing criticism of his handling of the Iraq conflict came to overshadow other initiatives, and his tough management style alienated potential allies in Congress and many on the Pentagon staff.He is far from alone to blame for the administration's failings in Iraq - indeed; he frequently fumed in private about how others in the government had neglected to do their parts. But the certitude and bravado he displayed in public became a symbol of what went wrong with the Bush administration's plan to oust Saddam Hussein and establish a pro-Western democratic regime in Iraq - and made Rumsfeld such a political lightning rod that he was compelled to step down before the end of President Bush's second term.Rumsfeld is complex, and many of the conflicting traits evident in his tenure as secretary can be seen earlier in his life. He could be brilliant and engaging, charming and generous, highly ethical and deeply committed to public service. But he also could be obsessive and inflexible, gruff and dismissive, impatient and calculating.Graham does not have an ideological or political agenda. His reputation for fairness and thoroughness allows him to see Rumsfeld in the most comprehensive context and to provide a broad perspective on Rumsfeld's significant role in American history. Having conducted hundreds of interviews and searched through archives, Graham explains many of the twists and turns that have marked Rumsfeld's roller coaster more

Product details

  • Hardback | 832 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 63.5mm | 1,270.05g
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8pp photographs
  • 1586484214
  • 9781586484217
  • 2,430,296

Review quote

The Washington Post "In this meticulously researched and compelling book, veteran Washington Post reporter Bradley Graham acknowledges these contributors to the national-security travails of the Bush years, but he highlights another as well: the secretary of defense's unwavering commitment to military transformation, his vision of a leaner, more lethal Department of Defense." Politico "Donald Rumsfeld has been excoriated by both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of the Iraq war. This biography reveals a more nuanced picture than the conventional wisdom would suggest." Jamie Fly, executive director of The Foreign Policy Initiative "Washington Post reporter Bradley Graham chronicles the full span of Rumsfeld's remarkable career in a surprisingly balanced and fair new biography....Graham does an excellent job of tracing the man's meteoric rise in Washington, relaying insights from friends and associates about the famed Rumsfeld management style, which some call one of his biggest faults. --show more

About Bradley Graham

Bradley Graham has spent more than 25 years working for The Washington Post in various reporting and editing assignments focused on foreign and military affairs. Most recently, he completed a six-year stint covering the Pentagon. He lives in the Washington, D.C., more

Rating details

40 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 18% (7)
4 42% (17)
3 32% (13)
2 5% (2)
1 2% (1)
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