"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
Understanding our Involument
Unique , General Stanley McChrystal has personalized the 3 wars that we are presently involed. We see how from a young boy his destiny was to be person in charge.His desired to have open and transparent communication was his biggest asset.
The inflection of his voice and timing adds to the excitment and drama of the story
NO, much of what is presented must be thought about ,reflected on, so you understand the General's involement.
With our present administration's foreign policy, this book explains the questions of why. I don't feel this soldier was listen to by our administration . The culture, prior events,and tribes of the area, General Stanley McChrystal's account is current and honest- A rare attribute today.
General McChystal's has a story with noting, an individual that studied what he loved, and wasn't the the best while rising into his leadership role. I will be frank I didn't finish the audiobook with about 4-5hrs left. The first half of explains General McChystal's attitude that led to achievements; I respect that. Play the hand you dealt, and complete the task to best of your ability and knowledge. Never let your peer fall, because their success is important to your own; we all interdependent if we are to achieve the large goal.
Can't say I would recommend the audiobook to others, but if you are interested on how this great man ultimately got to his final position then buy it; the last 6hrs is spent in Iraq and Afghanistan starts to drag.
For all of us that have lived through this time, it's an amazing walk down memory lane. I've always thought General Stanley McCrystal was a legend, and that was cemented by the rolling stone article. This book in its autobiographical format from the good General himself is amazing. Personally having participated as a computer geek on many of these infamous operations, understanding the ground truth and having been disgusted by the media's incorrect portrayal of "civil casualties", and conversely cursing the Good General in the dry ISAF garden after a long week of thankless work, not being able to have a beer, it was great to hear his perspective. 5 stars. As an admin note, a few of the acronyms are not pronounced as I pronounced them, but it did not take away from the story. Loved this Audio book.
amazing story, amazing book. though it would be interesting if a 3rd party biographer would have portrayed general mchrystal quite so favorably... great narration as well. most recommended.
David D. Johnson
Having run a small legal consulting business for over 30 years makes me think often about the wonderful young employees I get to work with every day.
While the specifics of evaluating the clients and often their opponents is very difficult I have been very good at sizing them up and aiding my young staff in their abilities as well. General McChrystal's thoughts gave me much to think about while seeing that I've not been far off in the way I have handled my leadership. Much sincere thanks to a remarkable person.
From Dave Johnson, Phoenix, AZ - 2015
This book is intended more for a military audience. There are many acronyms and jargon that may be cumbersom to keep up with if you aren't familiar with a lot of the phrases typical in military circles.
Overall, the book was interesting, well written and well narrated. My personal opinion of Gen. McChrystal has no bearing on the quality of the book. That's up to the reader to decide.
Mr. Collins did an outstanding job of narrating this book. Very professional, emphasis where needed and not overly animated... Great performance!
"Soldiers be Damned"
I read this book on the recommendation of a well respected former Special Operations Operator / Commander. I had no opinion of Gen. McChrystal prior to reading the book. Since, I feel that the General was determined to nod in the affirmative, salute, and enthusiastically implement the orders and direction given from those appointed above him. At a time when many well respected and proven Generals were resigning due to disagreements with the administration (both Bush and Obama), General McChrystal was determined to do his duty as a Soldier and follow orders... Soldiers be Damned. (My opinion. Read the book and decide for yourself...)
In a day when the bulk of our knowledge and understanding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are shaped--or misshaped-- by mass media, General McChrystal's book provides a vastly deeper understanding of the complexity of the events in those conflicts, and the evolution of the skills and strategies that allowed them to be managed effectively. It is also a lesson in commitment to the lifelong development of leadership skills, and contains invaluable insights for developing leaders in all fields.
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