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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 Ratings

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  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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The flip side of Afghanistan/Iraqi

This book was highly recommended by multiple people I've grown to admire in the military. It really gives you a big picture of what goes on behind the scenes away from the battlefield. For SecDef Gates to write about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in particular, was very eye opening seeing as how these have been publicized as the bastard children of war for America in the last 20 years. This gives you a different look, a look at why these wars were so important after all.
Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry

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Honor

I'm proud to be an Aggie.
Proud to have received my diploma from Mr. gates.
That might make me bias but I enjoyed listening to his book. I definitely recommend.

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  • ESB
  • VA, United States
  • 10-01-17

Good Book, but a Little Disappointed by The Man

Mr Gates did a great job describing his memoirs. I really did not have much of an opinion of the man while I was serving under him. He talks a good game about backing the servicemember, but just never felt like his actions quite matched the words in his book. However, what I found out from this book is that he was pretty much a good bureaucrat. He really was just more about efficiently and effectively implementing what the administration wanted, vice really making the military more effective. I know he was in a tough spot being in an administration that often undermined him, but felt he should have made a strong stand on ideological points. We’ve had a lot of weak SECDEFs. While he probably was the best SECDEF since the early 90s (Mattis TBD), I wasn’t all that impressed working under DoD during his reign, but knew he was better than his predecessors. Very worth reading to get an understanding of why he did what he did. And at no time did I feel he was ever insincere or trying to spin a situation to make him look better--like most of the memoirs from political officials.

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What a great patriot

brought tears many times. Both with interactions with troups and fights with stupid politicians and short sighted Pentagon.

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Great insight from a non-partisan

This is a great insight into the recent wars of necessity (Afghanistan) and choice(Iraq) by an experienced hand. Also interesting to take a close look under the hood of the Defense Dept. Wish we had more people like him in office these days. Nice work Bob Gates!

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great

the book was great the narator was great. all the way around great! more words

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Must read for Pentagon employees

A Must read for Pentagon employees, Congress, and White House. The lesson is, never underestimate the difficulty of war and the inability to predict and prepare for it.

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Not as much bite as I had hoped.

I was very interested to listen to this book, but was quickly disappointed. I gave it three stars because of his great accomplishments working through both parties. That alone is an accomplishment. Long dragged out story. Was looking for a much more upbeat back scene look at the whole picture.

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Exceptional on all fronts

Gates gives a very thorough, thoughtful, and balanced look at two Presidents, political leadership, congress, and the military. He points out where all people across both administrations went right and wrong with an evenhandedness that is almost shockingly fair compared to today's politically polarized climate. If you want to really know and understand how things went with regards to Iraq and Afghanistan, you should absolutely listen to or read this book.

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My best listen of 2017

If you could sum up Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War in three words, what would they be?

Mandatory reading.

Who was your favorite character and why?

A candid memoir by a public servant who deeply understands the meaning of his position. The inside story is enough, but what makes this memoir is Secretary Gate's character. He is a rare thing: an enlightened and compassionate professional. Our democracy needs about 2,000 men and women like Gates holding positions of authority in Washington, DC.

Which scene was your favorite?

The final chapter which is an overview, but also expresses his commitment to the troops most eloquently.

Any additional comments?

George Newbern is an excellent reader.