Review: Known and Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld
August 9, 2012 Leave a comment
This memoir by Donald Rumsfeld chronicles a long career of mostly public service, but also devotes time to reflecting on private sector experience as well. Rumsfeld was first elected to Congress in the 1950′s, served in an administrative capacity in the Nixon administration, and most notably as Secretary of Defense under both Ford and George W. Bush.
This book was difficult for me to read for a number of reasons. When it was first released, the eBook version listed at a higher price than the hardcover edition. Since it has been out for awhile, I purchased a used copy for a more reasonable price.
Some readers disagree with me considering price in a book review, but I stand by my position that eBooks should be sold at a lower price than their physical counterparts.
It took me a long time to read the book, for a couple of reasons. First, it is a hefty book, running 50 chapters, divided into 14 parts, and counting supplemental information and notes adds up to about 800 pages.
Rumsfeld’s writing style is clear and not difficult to read, but I had to put it down numerous times due to my getting upset at his attempts to evade responsibility for his shortcomings. From Abu Ghraib to the Iraqi insurgency, from secret CIA run prisons to Guantanamo Bay, I have a number of things I disagree with Rumsfeld on.
Rumsfeld seeks to justify his actions by carefully documenting memos he says show he was doing the right thing. Outside of Washington D.C., this is not seen as an effective way of doing business.
Despite these differences, the book is a fascinating look into the life a major player in Washington policy making, that has had a tremendous impact on both the United States, and the international arena for many decades in our recent past, and will continue to do so for decades into our future.
This book gets 3 stars out of 5; losing one star for the publisher’s nonsensical pricing scheme.
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