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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War Audiobook

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.
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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 (1467 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-19-14 Member Since 2013
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    4
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    "What a great commentary!"
    Would you listen to Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War again? Why?

    There is so much history that it would be worth listening to again just to make sure you didn't miss the context of the story. The story illustrates the history of two modern wars .


    What did you like best about this story?

    A contemporary review of the politics and entrenched bureaucrats in Washington today. A real heart warming story of the soldiers and veterans in the system and the true feelings of the Secretary and those who really care for the people in the military. Worth listening to the narrator.


    Have you listened to any of George Newbern and Robert M. Gates ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Mr. Secretary, Leader, Humanitarian and Reformer!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wandering Hoosier 07-02-14 Member Since 2015

    dog lover

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    "An Interesting Story, But a Big Long"
    What did you like best about Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed learning first-hand about the Department of Defense inner workings during the Bush and Obama administrations. I had never before seen political history through a cabinet Secretary's vantage point.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Gates gave great insight into the defense concerns and inner thinkings of the Bush and Obama administrations. Moreover, he gave a thorough explanation of the reasons why the United States moved into Afghanistan and Iraq. I appreciated Gates's explanation of that part of recent history.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator could have used more inflection in his reading. I found that the narrator didn't add much to the story's interest. However, I believe that the writing style of the book also didn't lead to much creativity or intrigue.


    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. Gates spends a good deal of the book going into the backgrounds--both personal and professional--of his friends and colleagues. I found the details of many of the introduced figures to be very boring and hard to follow--especially for one who didn't have first-hand knowledge of the Defense Department during Gates's government tenure.


    Any additional comments?

    The novel and audiobook would have been more interesting if it the story had been more streamlined and the writing more concise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry 06-09-14
    Larry 06-09-14 Member Since 2011
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    "26 hours is a lot , but mostly worth it"

    Gates is deffinately the Hero in his book. He does , indeed , have much to brag about. And he does. That said , I wonder if he would change anything now, given what we know. I doubt it.
    He seems a consumant politician. The difference is , if he is to believed , one who gets things done, and , as usual , without stepping on too many of the wrong toes, at the wrong time.
    Nonetheless , it is a good listen, even the parts I , personally, do not care for. That would be the kudos to those who kept him on. And a certain SOS.
    Like they had any choice. If they had had anyone better than him , they would have invited him to take a long walk off a short plank. And, if he screwed up , well, you know what the response would have been.
    All in all, it's a good listen. I believe he did care deeply about our men in combat , and that's rare these days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael Magnolia, TX, United States 05-25-14
    michael Magnolia, TX, United States 05-25-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent"

    I found this book to be fascinating, not sure I'd agree with all his assessments where basically he is right and whoever disagreed with him is wrong, but overall you have to admire the man and his accomplishments. Good narration

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Marshall, VA, USA 05-01-14
    Lawrence Marshall, VA, USA 05-01-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Informative"
    Where does Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It ranks among the highest particularly for this genre. Added fascinating background and interesting insight into a difficult time for our country.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Secretary Gates' passion for the troops and his personal concerns and drive to get them what they needed and the responsibility he felt for them.


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

    There really only is one character in this story - Gates.


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

    When Sec. Gates met a Texas A&M graduate in a hospital (double amputee). The solider reminded Gates that he had handed him his diploma upon graduation and asked that he would award him his decorations at Texas A&M. And he did, in front of an entire football crowd.


    Any additional comments?

    I particular liked his insight of nation's going to war. The definition of a Pessimist is an Optimist with experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-25-14 Member Since 2015
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    "long and boring"
    What would have made Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War better?

    A much better and less monotone, boring narrater. way to much non essential detail and repetition.


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

    watched several interviews and reviews of book on tv and was expecting a much more exciting and entertaining experience.


    What didn’t you like about George Newbern and Robert M. Gates ’s performance?

    Total monotone, like listening to water drip. Could not finish listening to it.Worst narrator I ever listened to.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Had some good behind the scenes information but overall just plain boring. Yuk


    Any additional comments?

    Will definitely research and listen to a sample of a book like this next time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Osvaldo Alvarez Miami, Fl 04-23-14
    Osvaldo Alvarez Miami, Fl 04-23-14 Member Since 2012

    Ossiea

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    "Awesome book"
    Where does Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is one of the Best Audiobooks I have listened to!


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

    When he was approached by the mother of a young Soldier in the restaurant and asked to bring her son home safe. It was very emotional to me personally.


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

    I have to say that I was moved personally by the whole book and more than once I had tears in my eyes while listening to his feelings about the losses suffered by our young Soldiers. I am a father, a Soldier and a Patriot and I found this book simply awesome!!!


    Any additional comments?

    I really admire Bob Gates even more after this book. As an old Soldier I appreciate his dedication to our young troops. Thank you for your service to your country Sir!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ohmie 04-22-14
    ohmie 04-22-14 Member Since 2013
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    "You will be impressed"
    Where does Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top. The story and the performance were both very strong. I had no opinion of Robert M. Gates before I read this book. Now, I have an opinion and it is very positive.


    What did you like best about this story?

    At first, the inside story on the administrations of Bush and Obama but in the end his compassion for the soldiers; the men and women who gave all for this country.


    Have you listened to any of George Newbern and Robert M. Gates ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No other George Newbern performances and no other Robert M. Gates books.


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

    While I most looked forward to his comments about the two presidents he served, I was blown away by his temperate and even handed dealing of the two very different men.


    Any additional comments?

    During his tenure in office, there was much in the news about Robert Gates that I can recall; I did not pay much attention to him when he was in office. I am sorry now that I didn't. Having read Duty, I am very impressed by the man, his accomplishments, his heart, determination, his character and his poise.

    I for one, hope that this great nation will always have people like Robert M. Gates to serve the people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Fischer Cincinnati 04-21-14
    Matthew Fischer Cincinnati 04-21-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating behind the scenes look at White House."
    If you could sum up Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful, remarkable and frightening.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Robert Gates. A remarkable individual who was the right man at the right time to serve as Secretary of Defense. I never fully understood, until now, how critical this role is in our government. Sadly, it also portrays our elected officials in a light that is not flattering. But hey, we already know what the issues are in Washington. I felt Gates did a great job of being evenhanded and thoroughly detailed in his description of events.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Debates over Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly how distrustful Biden is of the military.


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

    No, too long.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish all Americans would read this, because too often we want to use the military to solve problems where diplomacy is the answer. There are no such things as a short wars or conflicts these days, and this book demonstrates why this is so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deven Bhan Madison,SD 04-16-14
    Deven Bhan Madison,SD 04-16-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Whitehouse management style ( under Obama)"
    If you could sum up Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War in three words, what would they be?

    It is great book, gave an insight of decision making process of the Federal Government at the highest level ( I am an ex federal government employee). It was surprising to learn that power of red tape ridden bureaucracy even in matter of life and death ( in conducting wars). Robert Gates came across to me as non partisan patriotic American who had the interests of country in mind. Strongly recommended for reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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