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The Commanders

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  412 ratings  ·  24 reviews
It is impossible to examine any part of the war on terrorism in the twenty-first century without seeing the hand of Dick Cheney, Colin Powell or one of their loyalists. The Commanders, an account of the use of the military in the first Bush administration, is in many respects their story—the intimate account of the tensions, disagreements and debates on the road ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1991)
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Erik Graff
Mar 08, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Iraq War fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Another one of Bob Woodward's instant insider history books, published soon after the first war against Iraq. As ever, one wonders what the author amended to maintain the confidence of the figures he depends upon for information. As ever, one wonders how much of this book is Woodward's, how much that of his assistants in this ongoing industry.
Robert Jones
It's well-written, and very informative and easy to access even for someone who doesn't know anything about the Gulf War, or President H.W. Bush's military actions in Panama. It focused on the three important military players at the time: Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and the president himself, as well as a myriad of other generals and commanders in chief. I found it to be a little too Powell-centric for my tastes; while I can appreciate the desire to have a central character to propel a narrative, ...more
I didn't know a lot about the American invasion of Panama, nor do I know nearly as much as I really should know about the first Gulf War, so reading this was a great way to get caught up. Woodward's writing is very readable, you're getting a history lesson without having to endure dry historical narrative. Interesting (to me) learn about the machinations of the US president and his closest advisors, and their relationship to the Pentagon.
Covers the invasion of Panama and the run-up to the Gulf War. Since I was of an age to be aware of the Gulf War but not of Panama I did appreciate having the two together. There are some very telling parallels and contrasts with Iraq II (which may be artifacts of Woodward's presentation). On the similar side, both Bushes are remarkably similar in their appetite for detail and emphasis on loyalty. On the difference side, there was very strong concern about keeping the Gulf War from being another ...more
Jason Goetz
And as always with Woodward, fact-based. Very important and makes for great reading.
Ron Bryson
Very informative as to the relationships between major decision makers.
I found this book much more satisfying than the last Woodward I read (The War Within). The Commanders seemed to have left fewer holes. All the vital decisions made by the elder Bush, Powell and Cheney felt vigorously described. I get the feeling that Cheney is the missing link. It looks like he cooperated with Woodward on this book, and perhaps gave the author the cold shoulder on War Within. Reading The Commanders I am struck by how many characters involved in the Panama invasion and Gulf War I ...more
This is perhaps the first book that got me interest in government. I had always followed politics for being so young, but I had never put much thought into what went on behind the scenes. When I read this as a young teen in the 90's, my eyes opened. Ever since then, I've been less concerned about the political games of election politics, and much more about the everyday politics of actually running the nation. It's not only about what you see on the television news.
It is like stepping back in time. My favorite line went something like - they were able to communicate fast because of something called electronic mail (Email). HOwever, Woodward does not disappoint. The Commanders covers the lead up to the Gulf War and does a nice job of covering the personalities in the White House and the Pentagon - same folks of course as just a few years back.
It's The Lord Of The Rings of non-fiction,so many detail in it that it's hard to pick up the pace of my reading for fear of missing one of many bit part scattered around it.But nontheless,thoroughly engrossing,and keeps me wondering how extensive web of inside connection Woodward has to be able to tell such story.
Jul 13, 2008 Jerome rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History/Military buffs
Recommended to Jerome by: Used book store.
Good stuff. But unfortunately it only tells part of the story and was published in 1991. So that by the time I read it (2008) it was totaly out of date. Bob Woodward is a good writer but too soft on the powers that be and it centers too much on C. Powel.
So far - excellent. More readable than "Veil". Obviously, no one I know gets the access Woodward gets. Reads like the best Frontline episode you ever saw. Highly informative. This is no dry history. Looking forward to checking out his W chroncles.
Woodward is great as always, this time with a history of the decision-making that led us into a conflict in Panama and ultimately the Gulf War. Very interesting, particularly in view of everything that came after.
I read the book to understand more about U.S. diplomacy and politics around the invasion to Kuwait back in 1991. It was interesting to understand what actually happen between Bush Sr. top brass back then.
A good overview of Bush I administrations war planning for Panama and Kuwait. Also a great overview of the military structure and function in both peace time and war.
In depth look at the top levels of the US military and Defense Department from the end of the Cold War to the invasion of Panama to the pre-Desert Shield days.
Victor Sianghio
A very intricate and almost complicated book to read. One must have an appreciation of history and politics to understand what Bob Woodward wrote.
Oct 05, 2012 Tony is currently reading it
Provides insights on the upper echelons of the GHWB Administration and the U.S. military during the Persian Gulf War. Very informative.
Bob Hochstein
Bob Woodward lays out the behind scenes workings of President Bush and his team in the events leading to Panama and Desert Storm
Cheney ran the show. Now there's a revelation. The culmination of the take-over of the executive of USA by the military.
Douglas Graney
Great read on the run-up to the Persian Gulf war (1991).
Apparently Cheney was a dick even back in '88. Who knew?
Jake Gordon
Good telling of what happened during the Gulf War.
Timothy R.
Woodward at the top of his game.
Karl marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2015
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Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti ...more
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