We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War | [Robert M. Gates]

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vivid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House, he thought he'd long left Washington politics behind: After working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happily serving as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty.
Regular Price:$45.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vivid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House, he thought he'd long left Washington politics behind: After working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happily serving as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty.

©2014 Robert M. Gates (P)2014 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1090 )
5 star
 (512)
4 star
 (339)
3 star
 (167)
2 star
 (52)
1 star
 (20)
Overall
4.2 (964 )
5 star
 (460)
4 star
 (301)
3 star
 (133)
2 star
 (50)
1 star
 (20)
Story
4.2 (965 )
5 star
 (444)
4 star
 (344)
3 star
 (119)
2 star
 (41)
1 star
 (17)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Rick Murrieta, CA, United States 01-30-14
    Rick Murrieta, CA, United States 01-30-14 Member Since 2013

    Rick H.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    151
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    40
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    28
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some Bravado, and Some…Jose Conseco?"

    Yep! I said it! At least that’s sort of how I read it. A parallel between a baseball player in the steroid era and the US Secretary of Defense? Let me explain.

    Don’t get me wrong, this was an excellent book! From cover to cover, the book had my ear, and will enlighten the reader on what really happens behind closed doors of the White House, Pentagon, and The Central Intelligence Agency. When “Juiced”, written by Jose’ Conseco came out reviewers ripped the content and cried foul on Conseco for telling a tale that certainly couldn’t be true. And he was chastised for spilling the dirt and telling his side of what was going on in the Major Leagues when he was playing. He was cast out as a liar and then…It all seemed to be true!

    Not to say that Gates rips into the US Government and tells nasty detailed stories of the Presidents he served under and the cabinets he worked with, but he does state his side of 30+ years serving our Government and I’ve heard and read a few comments and reviews about his views in the book by the media asking “Why would he say such a thing about Hillary Clinton?”, or “Why does he paint Obama or Biden in such a dim light?" The fact of the matter is these people see what you and I don’t and this book does an excellent job in conveying that reality. Do yourself a favor and watch the documentary “The Fog of War” highlighting the service of McCarthy before, during, and following the Cuban Missile crisis, and the Vietnam Conflict. McCarthy was called a war monger and yet, he makes it clear in that film that “You didn’t know what I knew!” I assume the same for “Duty”

    Gates gives a clear account of how he came to the office he served and the events that shaped both his legacy and those of Bush and Obama. He dishes on what his opinions of our military leaders and he doesn’t hold back on comments made by other key political figures. He gives his account of what happened and what the media actually reports. And he provides insight into his long, long days serving our military and the decisions, back-lashes, leaks and outcomes of many of the events from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that (may have) been portrayed differently in newsprint.

    There was also plenty of pomp and bravado though sincere to a degree. After all, they are his thoughts and his ever-stated commitment to US troops does seem at times to be re-iterated as an agenda rather than genuine. Maybe not. This book is justifiably a topic of discussion at political roundtables and well worth the 25+ hours it will take to listen and confirm.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B 12-16-14
    B 12-16-14 Member Since 2011

    Soterion1

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "History is best told by those who eperienced it"
    What did you love best about Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War?

    Informative, Interesting and believable; Mr. Gates' perspective makes it clear where he agreed, disagreed and made a decision to move forward. I found his interaction with Condi Rice to be of interest as it highlights their perspectives behind the scenes. This is a good read or listen... enjoy!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Graham 05-15-14
    Josh Graham 05-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Service"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would and I have - I think Bob did what he thought was best for his country in his service to it. That's why I'd recommend this book. I think he does a good job explaining why his decision making process and displays a realpolitik that's admirable.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War?

    I'd have to say it was Bob's thoughts on Putin. Spot on don't you think?


    Which character – as performed by George Newbern and Robert M. Gates – was your favorite?

    Bob himself at the beginning has a nasally voice that really surprised me


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oddly...I did


    Any additional comments?

    Worth listening to

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 04-28-14
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 04-28-14 Member Since 2014

    I am a young-executive with a voracious appetite for great stories. I read and listen constantly, and am very proud of my book collection.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    124
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent, Entertaining, & Insightful:"

    This fly on the wall perspective of the career of Robert M. Gates is excellent in its presentation and important in the honest analysis of the current state of affairs of the United States military. This book is guaranteed to open your eyes to many misconceptions about the office of the Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates, and the status of the United States in the world.

    Anyone who doubts the quality and commitment of America's leaders need only read this book. My biggest regret is that Mr. Gates has left the post!

    This is not a political review! This is a review of a man who sincerely loves his county!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JustBill 02-05-14
    JustBill 02-05-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Foot Soldeirs Beware"
    What made the experience of listening to Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War the most enjoyable?

    It reinforced my feelings over political appointees being dangerous to the men and women that are professionals of the highest order giving up their life's, all because "Gates" knew better than the officers of our Armed Forces.


    What was most disappointing about Robert M. Gates’s story?

    He has served tis country honorable, so I will not question that fact, but he continually fluffed himself up. He handed out tax dollars to thugs posing as they were part of the collateral crowd. Dick Marcenko, the man that basically formed Seal Team Six spent money to get needed equipment for his men in the 70s, did jail time for that, and who go's to jail for walking around with millions of dollars passivizing the civilians.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It moved me, but the move was that Gates was disingenuous when it came to his take on the grunt on the ground. When he repeatedly reinforced his feelings that Generals needed fired, I wondered out loud, what gave him the impression he knew more than those Generals?


    Any additional comments?

    One day, we will enter a war in which the actual professionals (Military) will run the war and set the rules of engagement. This book over and over, shows the cost of politicians interfering with the art of war. Gates surely is smart, but he always has been someone that needed stroked
    He was over concerned over collateral damage, thus making our pilots and the grunts to take unneeded risks to hold collateral to the minimum. The piece in the book where we made payments to so called civilians, for collateral damage made me ill, and especially so, wit no investigations involved.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Enzel Chevy Chase, MD USA 02-06-14
    David Enzel Chevy Chase, MD USA 02-06-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Parts Were Interesting But Longer Than Needed"
    What did you like best about Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War? What did you like least?

    I liked Secretary Gates's description of internal deliberations with the Bush and Obama Administrations. However, he was very reserved about his assessments of the various Generals and Admirals with whom he worked. It sounded scripted. He is candid about his assessments of Harry Ried and Joe Biden. There wasn't much on overall US military strategy worldwide. I appreciate that Secretary Gates cares about US troops but he didn't need to say it thirty or more times.


    If you’ve listened to books by Robert M. Gates before, how does this one compare?

    This is my first book by Robert Gates.


    What does George Newbern and Robert M. Gates bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was very good but a little stilted. The interview between the producer and Gates really sounded scripted. The questions posed were easy ones. I did not get much from that interview that wasn't in the book.


    Could you see Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I don't think this would be a good movie or TV series. It is a personal memoir.


    Any additional comments?

    I am glad I listened to it but wish Gates had edited his work more. I was also glad when it was over.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William United States 02-18-14
    William United States 02-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gates Must Have A Broken Arm From Patting Himself"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. Extremely long endless hours of Gates, a milquetoast Sec of Defense and public servant at best, patting himself on the back for just doing the things that make up the job. At best he was a "yes man", who never rocked the boat or displayed any real leadership.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Robert M. Gates? Why or why not?

    No.


    What does George Newbern and Robert M. Gates bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Newborn does the best that might be expected given the material he had to work with.


    Could you see Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No. No stars, and if made into a movie, a snoozer.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Smyrna, GA, United States 01-21-14
    Gregg Smyrna, GA, United States 01-21-14 Member Since 2013

    Nearly 1200 titles.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    85
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    172
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting perspective with good detail"

    Good book given more character because it is read by the author. Gates passion comes through not just in the words but in the pitch, tone and speed with which he reads certain passages. I'm not always a fan of authors reading their own works, but this one works. Well done.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. R. Leavitt Lansdowne, VA USA 01-23-15
    M. R. Leavitt Lansdowne, VA USA 01-23-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    125
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interested in how Washington really works?"

    Duty is important for three reasons. First it presents a very reliable perspective on how things really work in Washington, DC from the point of view of a very senior cabinet secretary. Gates understands the federal bureaucracy, the way Congress operates, and, most importantly, the way Presidents engage with issues. Short answer: the bureaucracy tries to do its best and often fails, Congress is made up of too many grandstanding blowhards, and you can't trust Presidents to do what they promise because of the great number of pressures on them.

    Second, he compares the styles of our two most recent Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama with insights gained from having worked with several previous Presidents. I don't worry about his apparent preference for the former, but rather Gates applies his excellent analytical insights to the comparison and concludes that Bush's more down to earth approach permitted a more functional Executive Office than Obama's greater detachment. Gates really doesn't like the way Obama's senior staff tried to micromanage in the absence of hands-on Presidential involvement.

    Third, the reader gets a very smart man's observations on the major international conflicts of the beginning of the 21st century. Historians will find his stories to contain valuable nuggets of information that help explain why the US did what it did, and often why the US failed to do what it tried or ignored. For those who are attentive to the day-to-day headlines coming out of Washington, Baghdad and Kabul, the book is full of "Oh, that's why that happened" moments.

    You don't have to agree with Gates's positions on the issues to benefit substantially from reading this well-written, well-produced audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rinkerman PA 01-10-15
    Rinkerman PA 01-10-15 Member Since 2014

    wramend

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring. Reads like a highly redacted CSPN lecture."
    Would you try another book from Robert M. Gates and/or George Newbern and Robert M. Gates ?

    Should the authors personality be discernable in his memoirs? One would think so. This book offers no insight whatsoever into Secretary Gates' thinking during one of our nation's most damaging foreign policy debacles. This book is robotic, bland and frustratingly boring.


    Would you be willing to try another one of George Newbern and Robert M. Gates ’s performances?

    Absolutely not.


    What character would you cut from Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War?

    Secretary Gates.


    Any additional comments?

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 66 results PREVIOUS1237NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.