My American Journey
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My American Journey

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,095 ratings  ·  172 reviews
"A GREAT AMERICAN SUCCESS STORY . . . AN ENDEARING AND WELL-WRITTEN BOOK."
--The New York Times Book Review
Colin Powell is the embodiment of the American dream. He was born in Harlem to immigrant parents from Jamaica. He knew the rough life of the streets. He overcame a barely average start at school. Then he joined the Army. The rest is history--Vietnam, the Pentagon, Pana...more
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published September 9th 1995 by Random House (first published 1995)
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Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
I read this book in chunks, and could not put it down, every moment I had free, that book was in my hand. General Powell is a very admirable person, someone who defeated the odds, and have endured a lot. This book should be required reading in schools, not because of the great story, but because it shows a small part of the bureaucratic machine in Washington, and how big decisions are made. Which I found fascinating.
I loved the little stories that are shared with the reader, the stories you don'...more
Riley
Back in March 2007, I had the opportunity to attend breakfast of the International Housewares Association. It was here that I was an arms length from Colin Powell as he gave his speech. As he provided short glimpses of events and accomplishments in his life I recall that I had to read his autobiography. Now a little over three years later I finally accomplished that by reading “My American Journey” by Colin Powell.

I found it fascinating the story of how Mr. Powell’s life twisted from his early y...more
Jess
This autobiography was highly recommended to me by my cousin, who is herself a war veteran. I half expected to be in over my head in military jargon, but I was pleasantly surprised. His writing is insightful and reflective, and I am walking away with the sense that I have a true picture of Powell's value system and basic personality. I also appreciated the fact that he doesn't take himself or his circumstances too seriously. He's actually got a great sense of humor, which is evident throughout t...more
Hai Quan
East never meet West concept is true in the case of this book .While almost all reviewers, mostly Westerners gave it a very good to good rating, being an Easterner I am going to give it a C minus !
Here is the reason : The Chinese - Viet-Namese concept of The NOBLEST WARRIOR ( loosely translate the word QUAN TU ) is HE WHO DOES NOT ATTRACT TO WEALTH, DOES NOT CHANGE WHEN BEING DESTITUTE, and DOES NOT submit TO OVERWHELMING physical POWER ( Phu quy bat nang dam, ban tien bat nang di,uy vu bat nang...more
Marcie Lovett
This is an extremely long book. I think it could have been more tightly edited and shorter. Colin Powell fills his memoir with historical significance, which made it even more interesting to me. I have to question how he remembers details from 40 years ago, though. Did he document all his conversations and keep a daily journal?

The details make the stories interesting; however, his references to the people he quotes grow tiresome and the story would flow as well without so many of them.

His multi...more
Mike
I read this book shortly after it was published and thought it was a good read. My wife read the Indonesian language version of this book about two years ago and loved it. Last year I was the control officer for Mr. Powell and his wife during a visit to Post. My version of the book is in storage so I asked him to sign a copy of the Indonesian version. He commented on the fact that this was the first Indonesian version he'd seen, checked the copyright and realized that it was a bootleg copy. We c...more
Larry
I particularly enjoy biography and autobiography, and this is an outstanding one. Powell did so much -- from his career in the military to his service on the National Security Council -- and brilliantly recalls his close up and personal experiences with presidents and senior officials of the U.S. Government. I met him several times when he was Secretary of State (which period is not covered in the memoir), and never ceased being impressed by his ability to connect, to inspire and to set an examp...more
Edwin Martin
I thought I rated and reviewed this earlier, but it didn't save on my smart phone? Anyway, This is the best, most readable first person account I've read about the behind the scenes workings, (when things did seem to work a bit better than today) of Washington, D.C. Other famous Americans have interesting biographies of their earlier life as does Gen. Powell, but he still kept me interested when the setting was inside the Pentgagon or the White House where he was not in charge and spent time "gr...more
Seana
I absolutely love this man. If he were to run for President, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. The best part of this book is the part where he CLEARLY states the pronunciation of his name, which is Cah-lin, not Coh-lin as so many people think.
W. Don
I found this an interesting insight into a man who I have come to respect a great deal. General Powell takes us from his humble beginnings in a poorer section of New York, to the years immediately following his retirement from the Army in the mid-90s.

I found his candor refreshing, his opinions presented fairly and graciously, and his insight "behind the scenes of power" through many dramatic geopolitical changes over the last 20 or so years to be interesting.

I didn't realize he had served two t...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Colin Powell is one of my heroes. I know he has his detractors left and right. Those on the left bristle that he served in the Reagan and both Bush administrations and blame him for the Iraq War. Those on the right that he endorsed Obama. I guess it tips my hat as to which team I root for, but no, I'm not particularly happy about the second, though I don't really blame him for what went pears up on the first. But however I felt about that, what he accomplished, especially given his background is...more
Jake
Again, I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet.

This book was a bit outside my usual reading habits, but Tony Blauer had it on his list of recommendations, so I thought it would be worth checking out. And I was right. It was worth it.

As the title implies, My American Journey is the story of how Colin Powell went from sub-average school student of Jamaican immigrants in the Bronx to being the commander of the one of the most powerful militaries in the world. It is a quintessential rags-to-r...more
Trissa
After watching Powell announce his support of Barack Obama on Meet The Press, I wanted to know if the criticism he received for doing so was appropriate. I wanted to know how this man climbed the ranks of the military so quickly and how all this intersected with his racial identity.

The criticism (being called a traitor) wasn't appropriate. He believes in fiscal responsibilty and that is the only match I see with the republican party. He served Reagan and Bush because it was his duty. His strong...more
Redparrot
One of the most profoundly inspiring books on leadership ever. Wonderfully written, it covers the life story of one of the most inspiring leaders of our time. He retraces his military career and gives an inside look at some of the major events of the end of the 20th century. He also outlines his famous 13 Rules of Leadership - which is a must-have for anyone leading anything as small as a guide pack to a multi-continent military operation.

One of his most famous quotations ... "when did you start...more
Gali Valiente
Although this book started rather slow with Powell's early days as a cadet and his early military career in Vietnam and the cold war era, the later chapters made up for it. His days going through the ranks up to becoming Joint Chief of Staff is described in detail that only an insider and major decision maker can go through. He reveals his thoughts in his dealings with Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, other world leaders. Not only he shares their discussions but what Powell thinks of these worl...more
Rodney
Apr 17, 2008 Rodney rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rodney by: A High School Friend, and roomate
In reading this book I am so inspired by the hard work and determination that General Powell, Security Advisor Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and yes Secretary of State Powell.
This man has beat all the odds and has become an American Icon for many who seek the goals and dreams of an American dream and Hero. While his affiliation with the republican party has somewhat dampened my political views he has, yet his amazing journey has inspired me to call him and American Hereo, and yes I dare...more
Arlene Starr
I like how Colin Powell describes this book and will include a quote by him, “Mine is the story of a black kid of no early promise from an immigrant family of limited means who was raised in the South Bronx and somehow rose to become the national Security Advisor to the President of the United States and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Is is mostly a story of hard work and good luck, of occasional rough times, but mostly good times. It is a story of service and soldiering. It is a st...more
Cheryl
This book deepened my already substantial respect for General Colin Powell. I did set the book down a couple of times in the beginning (it is very heavy). As he started writing about events I lived through, I gained new perspectives and became totally immersed in this reader-friendly memoir. I found I finished the last 2/3 of the book in a reading marathon.

This book has a lot of gentle humor woven in and out. Couldn't help grinning how Colin addressed the claims Dan Quayle made concerning his r...more
Mirande Valbrune
Positively admire this man. However the book was a bit long and hard to get through as it goes into so much detail. As some reviewers have commented, it could have been more tightly edited. Other than that, this is a great tale of a man who throughout his life is continuously tapped on his shoulder for new opportunities, because he exudes something that others find valuable and inspiring.
Destinie
I read this book nearly ten years ago, and his experience of seeing a Vietnamese monk perform a self-immolation in front of the US embassy still confounds me.

-In Service to Community Cooperation for All Humanity,
Shira
MEOW Date: Monday, May 20. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)
clark
I really liked this book. It reads like a novel - engrossing and tough to put down. Powell and Persico (sp?) are great storytellers, and you get a true sense for the experiences that shaped Powell's perspective on leadership, the military, race relations, etc. I didn't love the brief asides on "leadership principles I took from this experience" - felt a little patronizing - but those were relatively infrequent and probably actually helpful. I was also surprised to really understand the extent to...more
Paul Recanzone
I read this book and Norman Scwharzkopf's It Doesn't Take a Hero at about the same time. While General Schwarzkopf left me feeling like it was a good thin it doesn't take a hero, Mr. Powell left me in awe. Here is a man who truly lived to the fullest of his potential and therefore his fall in front of the United Nations was so much the more devastating. I hope Mr. Powell has an opportunity to write a follow up book on his time as Secretary of State that includes an explanation.
Ouneiba
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

العام الماضي عندما إقتنيت بصحبة صديقة الطفولة كتاب الجنرال كولين باول، كانت الرغبة قوية لدي لقراءة سيرة رجل ترأس في مرحلة حاسمة من تاريخ الجيش الأمريكي أقوي جهاز دفاعي في العالم و كنت في حاجة إلي معرفة مسيرته العائلية و الدراسية و المهنية و الحمد لله وجدتها مدونة بأمانة علي لسانه في هذا الكتاب. و قد قرأت الكتاب بنهم كبير، و الساعات التي امضيتها في تتبع مصير هذا الرجل خاصة في المجال السياسي العسكري و الإطلاع علي خبرته و زبدة معرفته في مجال حساس جدا بالنسبة لقوة عا...more
Greg
I always had a feeling that I liked Colin Powell, without really knowing a whole lot about him. I really enjoyed hearing his story and appreciated that he was the reader on the audiobook. We don't see eye to eye on every issue but on basic philosophies toward politics and society, we do. I really liked his honesty and openness about his views and feelings and his emphasis on civility. Since this book dates to the mid-90s, I'm interested in finding out if there is a follow up. The foreshadowing o...more
Abby
For a total political imbecile like myself this book was a bit of a branching out and I have to admit I never would have picked it up but I had a long drive with no CD player and only Colin Powell on tape to keep me company. He got a little defensive at times, and I can't blame him, but it was vaguely irritating when I could tell he was just trying to tell his side of the story. But it really is a great success story. I did learn some things and I liked his clear statement of his political views...more
Peter
(pre-Goodreads)

Enjoyed it.

Estimated date.
Carol
Colin Powell is an American hero for sure. He details (in too much detail - 930 pages of detail) his life which starts as an unmotivated Harlem boy to a very motivated man of integrity who attained 4 stars in the Army who worked with 3 of our Presidents. Even though he was raised by his Jamaican parents to believe he was equal to everyone else, he got the usual treatment that blacks got in the South for way too long. He does not cover up those years but he treats them with the integrity he is ma...more
Adam
Colin was the voice for this audio book. His story is quite fascinating. I really appreciated his positive spin on working with each president's administration, from Carter to Reagan to Bush Sr. to Clinton. It was clear he favored some over others, but he tells the story in a way that is not an attack or overly critical. He concludes the book with his opinions on government's role and politics, and I believe he articulated my own belief's more succinctly then anyone else I've listened to or read...more
James Amoateng
This is one of the best autobiographies I have read. It is an eye opener as to how certain institutions work in the U.S. like the army and government. What is more it made me realize that some of these great men are just as human as you and I. Just imagine the great Colin Powell getting short of gas, or having his telephone line cut just after he left office. Just imagine him having a hobby like buying old cars and putting them back on the road through D.I.Y. Over all it was really a good read.
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General Colin Luther Powell, United States Army (Ret.) KCB (Honorary) is an American politician. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005), serving under President George W. Bush. He was the first Jamaican American appointed to that position. As a General in the United States Army, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of...more
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