"Never shall I fail my comrades.... I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some."
from the Ranger Creed
In early March 2010, General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding officer of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, walked with President Hamid Karzai through a small rural bazaar. As Afghan townspeople crowded around them, a Taliban rocket loudly thudded into the ground some distance away. Karzai looked to McChrystal, who shrugged. The two leaders continued greeting the townspeople and listening to their views.
That trip was typical of McChrystal’s entire career, from his first day as a West Point plebe to his last day as a four-star general. The values he has come to be widely admired for were evident: a hunger to know the truth on the ground, the courage to find it, and the humility to listen to those around him. Even as a senior commander, McChrystal stationed himself forward, and frequently went on patrols with his troops to experience their challenges firsthand.
In this illuminating memoir, McChrystal frankly explores the major episodes and controversies of his eventful career. He delves candidly into the intersection of history, leadership, and his own experience to produce a book of enduring value.
Joining the troubled post-Vietnam army as a young officer, McChrystal witnessed and participated in some of our military’s most difficult struggles. He describes the many outstanding leaders he served with and the handful of bad leaders he learned not to emulate. He paints a vivid portrait of the traditional military establishment that turned itself, in one generation, into the adaptive, resilient force that would soon be tested in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the wider War on Terror.
McChrystal spent much of his early career in the world of special operations, at a time when these elite forces became increasingly effective - and necessary. He writes of a fight waged in the shadows by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which he led from 2003 to 2008. JSOC became one of our most effective counterterrorism weapons, facing off against Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Over time, JSOC gathered staggering amounts of intelligence in order to find and remove the most influential and dangerous terrorists, including the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The hunt for Zarqawi drives some of the most gripping scenes in this book, as McChrystal’s team grappled with tricky interrogations, advanced but scarce technology, weeks of unbroken surveillance, and agonizing decisions.
McChrystal brought the same energy to the war in Afghanistan, where the challenges loomed even larger. His revealing account draws on his close relationships with Afghan leaders, giving readers a unique window into the war and the country.
Ultimately, My Share of the Task is about much more than war and peace, terrorism and counterinsurgency. As McChrystal writes, "More by luck than design, I’d been a part of some events, organizations, and efforts that will loom large in history, and more that will not. I saw selfless commitment, petty politics, unspeakable cruelty, and quiet courage in places and quantities that I’d never have imagined. But what I will remember most are the leaders."
©2013 Stanley A. McChrystal (P)2013 Penguin Audio
This book really gives great insight on what a leader should emulate. He was fully recognizant of his shortcomings and tried to emulate the leadership skills he saw others use in their leadership roles.
No man is perfect but one must try each and every day to become a better person. This book made me feel that General McChrystal tried his hardest, and that's all you can ask for.
I am a retired RN who has a interest in many different ideas, places, people, aand times. I do like books with some kind of action in them.
General McChrytal's unabashed honesty.
His description of the training and heavy responsibilities of those in leadership in the armed forces and the intelligence and dedication it takes to lead.
When he and his wife went out for his retirement formation. It was a quiet and greatly significant event that shows that our great leaders do so much for us for so little appreciation from us. It demonstrates that only those who have been in similar situations can really appreciate what one does. It was real, heartfelt and full of honor.
No. This is a book to be savored and thought over. Do not rush it.
Give this book a chance. You just might learn something.
Thank you, General McChrystal and your wife.
When it's impossible for me to go there, reading takes me there.
General McChrystal's book provides lots of details about how decisions were made, and how operations were executed. This book is interesting as historical record, and as source of practical advice. IWO
Excellent. Almost as good as General McChrystal ;)
My Share of the Task. You should know better than to ask me questions about making movies.
Non Fiction Reader
In many ways I found the narritive disconcerting. I thought back to the days when "victory" was the logical end of war, e.g. Grant, Patton, Eisenhower. McCrystal's story belies his belief, while at West Point, that he would be a fighting soldier. He skirts over his junior, company and field commander experiences by listing the future soldiers he will again serve with. As his career moves ever upward he finds himself more enmeshed and ensnared by the wishes of his politcal overseers. It must be frustrating to see the "light toward military victory" as only a military man can see his or her duty to be reined in by political expediency and a hostile press.
McCrystal does not advocate doing away with civilian control but it is evident it impedes outcomes to the degree that military operations are never successfully concluded. The lesson I got from this book is that if you're a general, on down to the level of private, that you have continually to look over your shoulder. This is especially true when so many in political authority, including the Commander in Chief, are more concerned of how they will appear on the evening news cycle, when so many political leaders have never served a day in the military, and when they feel more accountable to domestic interest groups then to the men and women who have to fight and die for their country.
I was disappointed in his telling of the Rolling Stone article. It's passed over in a paragraph with the appropriate mea culpas.The other disappointment is McCrystal continually resorts to defining a good military leader's qualities and concludes that his description fits him. I have no doubt that he is a well qualified military leader but this device seems to be self-serving.
This book is at the top of my listening experiences
McCrystal's final meeting with Obama
His enphasis on those areas of most importance to the author.
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
Yes! Finally this amazing inspiration shares his story: from political questions to times shared with his wife Annie. No dry moments:,We get to travel with him. If you thought we lost something when he got sacked or retired Obama-style. You need to give it a tough-listen by which I mean you might get to see a personn loaded with experiences and a big heart. He is an amazing storyteller and a great American leader.
Everything from family stories to war experiences.
Every man and woman in uniform.
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