My Share of the Task: A Memoir
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General Stanley McChrystal service in the U. Army and his service to his country spanned decades and continents. From the halls of West Point, to the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, this is his story in the fight against terror. Why I finished it: It is a very thin pancake that only has one side. McChrystal doesn't spend any time defending himself, other than saying that an Army investigation later cleared him of wrong doing and found that events were different than those stated in the Rolling Stones article.
McChrystal built his career in the special forces on principles of transparency and cooperation and he ended his career with the same principles. Very interesting. Jan 13, Frances Johnson rated it it was amazing. Excellent book, written by an educated retired general.
Much of his career was spent in Special Forces and he explains what was done to find and eliminate high level terrorists. This is extremely interesting. He shares his thoughts about leadership and anyone hoping to become a leader can gain valuable insights and skills by reading this. I was impressed by his sincere and thoughtful reflections of important events and particularly noticed the humility of one in such a high ranking position.
Unl Excellent book, written by an educated retired general. Unlike most books written by former commanders He just lays out the facts as he saw them.
a book review by Kenneth Allard: My Share of the Task: A Memoir
After an article in Rolling Stones Magazine portrayed people under his command as making demeaning remarks about the President, he offered and his offer to resign was accepted by President Obama. A later investigation showed that no department standards were violated and that not all events were as portrayed in the article. It seems a shame that our country has been denied the talents of such a knowledgable man. However, this is but a small part of his story. This is a very interesting book,spell binding, and true. Apr 14, Cory rated it liked it.
It was especially interesting to hear his thoughts on how to build good group "institutions" through leadership and organization. Still, he can get a bit bogged down in the details. When discussing his organization in Iraq that eventually killed Zarqawi , he emphasizes the effectiveness of his decentralized approach.
There are clearly pros to this--more initiative from lower down e.
But many smart leaders presumably choose a more centralized system. While I trust McChrystal's judgment, it's hard to be convinced by the details here. Most are simply "because of the decentralized system, we got this insight. Dec 21, Beth rated it liked it. I have never read a military man book before - man, was this fascinating! He was also the commander of special operations in Iraq. He wrote of his time at West Point, of his training as a paratrooper and then a Green Beret. I learned how important surveillance aircraft is, how the armed forces tracked down Al-Zarqawi at his compound in Iraq and I got to hang out with Afghani Prime Minister Karzai.
General McChrysta I have never read a military man book before - man, was this fascinating! General McChrystal has led a fascinating life and I am glad he shared it with us in this memoir.
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May 03, Frank Kelly rated it really liked it Shelves: leadership-management , memoirs , iraq , military , , iran , foreign-policy , middle-east , national-security , afghanistan. An honest and humble memoir from one our nation's greatest living soldiers. His account of his career starting from his childhood upbringing through his transformation at West Point to his many assignments leading up to and including his time in Iraq and Afghanistan are full of success and, quite interestingly, failures and setbacks which helped make him a better leader and man. His epilogue was superb, sharing his views on leadership and what it really takes to be a leader today and everyday.
H An honest and humble memoir from one our nation's greatest living soldiers. His book, like his entire career, is a service to us all. Apr 07, Brian Piercy rated it liked it. Kinda meh. The majority of the book is a review of his career and touches on most of the major Iraq and Afghanistan stories that I'd previously read elsewhere. While moderately interesting it shed little new light for me. I also noticed that he chose to describe his colleagues in nothing less than flattering terms.
While I wasn't looking for a "hatchet job", it left me feeling like he left his real feelings out of the book. The epilogue is, for me, the most valuable section. It describes his appr Kinda meh. It describes his approach to leadership and is worth a 2nd read. Jun 15, Justin Tapp rated it really liked it Shelves: iraq , history , autobiography , leadership , politics , war , afghanistan. I read this immediately after reading Broadwell's bio of David Petraeus.
This book is exponentially better. It opens with his foreword that publishing was delayed by a year due to editing and security screening by the Pentagon, and his frustrations with that process. As a result, he states had to alter some of the content, facts, details, but felt that the stories were still close enough to maintain their integrity. That's a good note for reading any modern war memoir-- remember that it's been m I read this immediately after reading Broadwell's bio of David Petraeus.
That's a good note for reading any modern war memoir-- remember that it's been made less-true by the Pentagon. This book is a bit dry if you're not deeply interested in tactical operations and planning of special operations and the lives of officers. While the Epilogue contains the outline for his next book on leadership, there is not a lot of explicit leadership teaching that takes place in the book.
Being from the first-person, you have no idea what others really think about him or how effective they saw him. One caveat to this book is that you do not get the dirty reality of combat from the ground-level as in Filkins' The Forever War, American Sniper, or Lone Soldier, which cover some of the same territory and operations.
I would also recommend Thomas Ricks' The Generals which covers the breakdown of accountability in command of the U. Armed Forces to get an appreciation for how rare it is that McChrystal was fired. But some of the reality seeps through as McChrystal sees Iraq deteriorating in , is disgusted by Abu Gharaib, is furious over civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and lacks words to explain to his soldiers why they're there.
The only f-bomb tirade in the book comes when he takes command of ISAF and makes a point that they have to stop killing civilians to have a shot at turning the country around. Like most Americans, my view of McChrystal was colored by the Rolling Stone article that led to his resignation as well as the 60 Minutes piece that highlighted on his rigorous physical discipline of running. I think the recent exposure of Rolling Stone's publication of proven falsehoods the false rape at UVA , subsequent retraction, and determination of The Columbia Graduate Schoolof Journalism that Rolling Stone failed to follow "basic practice" of journalism is enough to make that a blurb, not to mention that McChrystal was cleared by two Pentagon investigations that discovered no violation of ethics standards or eyewitnesses supporting the journalist's account.
But anti-military types might reject this book out of hand. I give this book 4 stars out of 5. McChrystal comes across as introspective, constantly observing the culture around him as well as what is going on inside his own head. He listens to audiobooks on his long runs and lists several that impacted him when deployed Freakonomics being one.
My Share of the Task: A Memoir
At the time of publishing he was teaching a course on leadership at Yale. The author was the son of a Vietnam veteran and grew up playing with GI Joes and reading juvenile biographies of various war heroes. He grew up near West Point and took it as a given that he'd go there. He struggled with math and science but excelled at history. He continually earned demerits for his "behavioral nonsense. He was at West Point in at the height of the unpopularity of the Vietnam War and was finishing school at a time the Army's morale had sunk to new lows.
After joining the Green Berets he noted the poor morale, discipline, and leadership demonstrated by drug and alcohol abuse. After the Iran hostage rescue debacle and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.
Special Forces saw increased investment from the government and a great deal of reform. He served in a mechanized infantry battalion before joining the Rangers in the s, but he was stateside when Reagan sent them into Panama and his wife had to talk him out of his disappointment. McChrystal would go back and forth between Rangers and the 82nd Airborne, initially under Gen. During the '91 Gulf War he worked with a British SAS commander and forged a friendship that would last through his Afghanistan deployment.
My Share of the Task: A Memoir
After his "good experience" at Harvard he returned to the Rangers and saw deployment in Afghanistan in May The largest part of the book focuses on his assignment in Iraq to capture Al-Zarqawi and degrade his terrorist network as part of Task Force It has much historical value in showing how tactics evolved as the enemy evolved, and the difficulties of both winning hearts and minds as well as capturing a high-value target.
While he notes his disgust at Abu Gharaib he highlights how his men upgraded prisons. But, I notice that there were several stories over that period of how his men controversially engaged in enhanced interrogation procedures in Iraq. In contrast, in the book he describes in detail the long, pain-staking process of getting information from prisoners without torture. Similarly, McChrystal describes at length the Pat Tillman affair. Tillman was awarded for the valor of his maneuvers, not for being killed. McChrystal claims that he assumed others in contact with the family would inform them of the friendly fire.
He notes that he was accused of cover-up because his communications in regards to Tillman were classified, but he notes that as JSOC commander all of his communications were required to be classified. It is interesting, but somewhat dry, as Task Force 's hunt for Zarqawi continues.
McChrystal is coordinating with CIA analysts, incorporating more sophisticated signals intelligence and other technology such as drones, and patiently waiting on leads from prisoners and informants, all while others worked with the Iraqi government to bring about stability and democracy. When "experts" talk of defeating ISIL in Iraq today, they seem to be ignorant of the years of ground work that had to be done to dismantle a much more localized network of terrorists.
McChrystal was "surprised" in to see how the Bush Administration seemed to be focusing less on Afghanistan and more on Iraq. He registered concern after the total number of the army of Iraqi defectors supposedly eager to fight Saddam was fewer than , noting that the "signs were there" that the Iraq war was not being sold at face value. He writes of meetings where Rumsfeld differed with the military staff and the friction between the civilian and military leadership, noting that both are good-intentioned.