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Editorial Reviews

"Gen. Jack Galvin was the kind of warrior intellectual the US Army produces at its very best. This wonderful memoir distills what Galvin learned in his 44 years of service. Those who love the US Army will want to add this volume to their shelves." (David Ignatius, The Washington Post columnist)

Publisher's Summary

The celebrated soldier, scholar, and statesman recounts his active participation in more than 60 years of international history - from the onset of World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the post-Cold War era. He recounts fascinating behind-the-scenes anecdotes about his interactions with world leaders, describing encounters such as his experience of watching President José Napoleón Duarte argue eloquently against US intervention in El Salvador, and a private conversation with Pope John Paul II. Galvin recalls his complex negotiations with a number of often difficult foreign heads of state, including Manuel Noriega, Augusto Pinochet, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Ratko Mladić.

As NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during the tumultuous five years that ended the Cold War, Galvin played a key role in shaping a new era. Fighting the Cold War illuminates his leadership and service as one of America's premier soldier-statesmen, revealing him to be not only a brilliant strategist and consummate diplomat but also a gifted historian and writer who taught and mentored generations of students.

©2013 The University Press of Kentucky (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

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  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 03-08-16

An understated title for a great memoir

The title of this book is somewhat of an understatement. I picked up this book because I thought it sounded interesting, without realising that John Galvin is not a just an average career soldier but is a high ranking general, who was NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during the end of the Cold War and the fall of the USSR. The forward is by his friend, David Petraeus, the current Director of the CIA. This is no simple soldier’s story.

The book covers the whole of his military career, from early work in South America, Vietnam all the way through to his work during the latter parts of the 1980’s working through nuclear disarmament just prior to the end of the cold war. Early on he started as a medic, and spent a large part of his career overseeing various training bases. Despite the title, I didn't feel that too much of it was "fighting the cold war", but I guess in a war that is cold there isn't that much direct fighting to be done.

Galvin is a feverous note taker and letter writer and regularly quotes old letter to his father or wife, or notes he wrote, going back decades. The inclusion of these letters and notes serves to give a great understanding of what he was thinking and feeling at the time, rather than just being reflections years after the fact. It adds a great deal to the book.

While Galvin does talk through events of his time in action, and mentions things went wrong in Vietnam there isn’t the same “I can’t believe they are doing this!” though pattern that get from other Vietnam memoirs like Marlantes or O’Brien. He has a more matter-of-fact approach to it all. He will mention how things went wrong and how some decisions made were the wrong ones, but focuses more on the right and how his commanders etc. learned from mistakes.

Tom Lennon does a good job of the reading. He has a very laid back style, with a slight twang, without falling into a monotone or boring voice. It makes the whole thing easy listening, giving the book a feel of calm recollections. It is possible that Lennon’s reading style added to the matter-of-fact impression the book gave me. I found his to be a good match for this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining and Detailed

Would you listen to Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir again? Why?

Yes, I am amazed at the detailed notes, journal entries and letters that the Author kept and was able to bring to life in a story with all the emotion felt.

What about Tom Lennon’s performance did you like?

Good Paced reading, very clear

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

I did indulge an hour or two at a time but it is far too long and detailed to just gorge.

Any additional comments?

The detail is outstanding and the book is very entertaining, especially if you like military history. If you are not a big fan of the genre, the amount of detail could expand the length of this work a bit further than some would be willing to invest in time. I think the Author and Narrator both did a wonderful job and paint a nice picture in my mind. I received this audiobook for free in exchange for my unbiased review through Audiobook blast. I think it was a great book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Truly Amazing Man!

What made the experience of listening to Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir the most enjoyable?

General Galvin was so widely experienced; Cartoonist, Professor, scholar, writer, General and most of all astute diplomat. A fascinating look at all the major issues that faced the US during the cold war with a real insiders point of view. While only one of the many topics covered, it makes the reader truly appreciate how Reagan and Gobechov produced results most said were impossible and that are today little understood or appreciated.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir?

The General's two tours in Vietnam.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook is like sitting around a fire and listening to a truly fascinating man reminisce about a remarkable career. Both the writer and the narrator seem to deliberately present it as almost matter of fact, which it certainly is not. That humble, homespun storytelling style greatly adds to my level of respect and admiration for a truly unique and great American. The narration seems to present the information exactly in the almost low key way I believe the General would want it presented and fits the book perfectly.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A True American Hero

What a great book General Galvin has written and what a fascinating and truly important career he has experienced.

A Soldier that uses his brains and eloquence equally throughout his life. The number of years of American History covered here is truly amazing. He was graduated from West Point when Eisenhower was in office and ended up working with Bush Senior after the fall of the Cold War. His on the scene observations of the entire period are truly fascinating and extremely educational. Should be mandatory reading for all our Services officers.

The narrator kept my interest for all 22 ours.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A great man humble and brave

A key component of the victory of the Cold War is the great men and women who were
unknown to the general public.This man is one of the reasons America is great and as long as people like him do their jobs and fight to maintain American ideals we will remain a great power.

Compare this man to the present occupant of the White House a man who never served anyone but himself and knows nothing about the ideals and service that has made our Country great.

May this man and people like him serve as an inspiration to all future generations.



This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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WOW, GREAT BOOK ABOUT A FASCINATING & BADA$$ DUDE

John Galvin rocks! What a book. I was captivated and fascinated by Galvin's career, what a life he has led. What a great book/account of the Cold War, and Galvin's involvement throughout the years. Very matter-of-fact, which is what I like. No sugar coating, no BS. I have a tremendous amount of respect for The United States of America, our military, and the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces that truly have made a difference. I'd highly recommend this book, very well done with great writing and narration. Excellent!!! GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!
P.S. I really don't appreciate others (like Costmitron, for example) taking every review opportunity to bash our current President or the country in general. It's NOT the place, and I find it really annoying. With that said, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I've seen it happen with a lot of different books, and it's not appreciated.
But, GREAT BOOK!!
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating biography

Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir.. John Galvin isn't famous in fact very few people will know his name, but his life story and carreer is fascinating. 22hours is a long book don't be put off by this time flies by when listening to this soldiers story.
It is a book that will suit anyone who enjoys history. With many insights into military life and the interplay with politicians.
Tom Lennon's narration is perfect for this auto-biography, authorative and yet so easy to listen too.
I was given a free copy of this audiobook at my own request, and voluntarily leave this review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Through the Eyes of the General.

I really liked this book. My kind of read!! :-) It approaches every aspect of his life. Opens the doors to his earlier
Westpoint Years, shares his learning experiences, and how He applied them through Military Life and beyond. It is enlightening and I really annoyed his chapters about his years during the Vietnam Conflict. The Narrator did an excellent job,, and his pronunciation was superb. Very enjoyable book! This book was provided free of charge in exchange for a fair review of the book.... Thank You! A+A+A+!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A true American hero

This is an excellent biography on the General John Galvin one of the lesser known ( until know) military leaders that helped prevent the Cold War from becoming hot as the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe.

He is a very interesting person , very well educated from West Point through Comubia and later a fellowship at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. What makes him interesting although he was a extremely capable military leader he viewed war as not a tool of diplomacy ( get rid of the threat ) but a failure.

The narration is good but what carries it is the story of a man that spent his whole life preventing the very thing he was trained to execute. If you would like to better understand the background of military leaders, how decisions are made and the inter workings of the Cold War era give it a listen

I was given the book by the author to review and my opinions are my own and honest a couple listens

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Really Interesting Memoir

I learned so much from this book. I don't listen to a lot of memoirs but I love history and this one totally had me in the summary. It was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves history reads. The narrator did a good job.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful