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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War Audiobook

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

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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

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  •  
    CallPaul 09-07-15
    CallPaul 09-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very rewarding."

    Confirms much of what we thought was taking place behind the scenes. Dr Gates is a gentleman and speaks very candidly but very respectively.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 09-06-15
    Stephen 09-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Duty - Unique Prespective"

    This is interesting look at the foreign policy of two US administrations from the inside. In particular, the author focuses on his time as SECDEF and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Gates had a large part of the DIME effort or the whole of government approach for those policy areas. He provides the background and mindset for the decisions of each administration. He highlights the successes and the mistakes.

    Personally, I felt the book was well-balanced in its criticism and praise. This is a good approach, obviously, to provide a perspective of why some decisions were made and provides legitimacy to what he telling us. Most national leaders are not idiots, not totally motivated by politics or opinion polls, and most have the same goals of peace and prosperity. We just disagree on their assumptions and methods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam 08-02-15
    Adam 08-02-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Small stuff"

    I'm being a stickler, but the articulation of the terms "intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance" implied they were separate functions, whereas in the military, the phrase refers to a single process. Also, the separation of the words lieutenant and general in the title "Lieutenant General" is odd and simply implies the reader's lack of familiarity with military ranks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rheamark 07-17-15
    rheamark 07-17-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Behind the scenes"

    An amazing look behind the superficial media coverage of a very crucial rime in the history of the country. Reveals personalities as well as facts behind the public media coverage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake C. 06-17-15
    Jake C. 06-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Historic look at modern US military history"

    Enjoyed this memoir greatly. Gates provides a unique perspective that few in our history will have a chance to share like he has with Duty.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 06-14-15
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 06-14-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Don't Bother"
    Any additional comments?

    Memoirs are all too often just the recollections of the author where they don't say anything that cold possibly offend anyone and tell stories where they are the hero. This book is no exception. I had to put it down after I was 20% through. I could not take it any longer where Gates explained how well he handled a problem that of course was created by someone else. Also, it is scary when Gates admits to sitting through so many meetings where he kept himself going with too much coffee. I like to thinks someone with the power to make life and death decisions is not wired on caffeine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy Brose 03-12-15
    Lucy Brose 03-12-15 Member Since 2012
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    "The Real U.S. Government Unveiled"
    Would you listen to Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War again? Why?

    No, because I already listened to it twice. Excellent book and packed with so much I wanted to read it again to pick up what I missed the first time around.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't miss this book if you have ever desired an insider's candid view of how big decisions in our government are really made. Gates is a man of honor, respectful while being candid. If all of our Civil Servants had his devotion, a greater nation we would be. You will come away from this book realizing what you probably already guessed. . ."news" stories know very little about what is really happening, not because of incompetence, but because most of the realities are not revealed to them, and VERY often for good reason.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    William Ratcliff 03-08-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Great book, well written, and enlightening"

    True American hero and servant. I wish all citizens who served would do so with such honor, compassion, non-partisanship, and selflessness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leche 03-06-15
    Leche 03-06-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Incredible insight"

    Great read. I recommend to anyone interested in American politics. It was a true honor to meet this man in college.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Kearneysville, WV United States 02-21-15
    Bob Kearneysville, WV United States 02-21-15 Member Since 2014

    Bob Brown

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

    realistic, perceptive non-bureaucrat


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

    Robert Gates


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

    no, it took some time to ponder and digest all the information


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent view of the issues and objectives of the people at the highest level of DOD and the government and the obstructions and limitations on being able to accomplish their goals. This included many insights on people at the highest levels. The story dramatically increased my respect for Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates.<br/>Although this isn't the kind of audiobook I usually listen to, I deinitely recommend this one to anyone who wants a better idea of the actual personalities of those still in power today in DC.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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