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American Soldier

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  782 ratings  ·  57 reviews
"The Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command from July 2000 through July 2003, General Tommy Franks made history by leading American and Coalition forces to victory in Afghanistan and Iraq - the decisive battles that launched the war on terrorism." "In this memoir, General Franks retraces his journey from a small-town boyhood in Oklahoma and Midland, Texas, ...more
Hardcover, 590 pages
Published August 3rd 2004 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Cordell
Very interesting book. I enjoyed this explanation of the lead up to the invasion of AFG and Iraq. At least from his point of view and in the way he tells it, the lead up to war jumped through all the right hoops before actually committing. I think if you read this book your takeaway would be that it was inevitable unless you are all bluff.

A couple of other observations. One, he was clearly a good general and officer but he suffers from something that all of us suffer from and that is relying on
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Jerome
Very interesting, very easy read. Franks is very earthy, lacing his talk with profanity and seeming like a parade ground master sergeant; you certainly can't confuse him for an intellectual, more of an innovator.He attended high school with Laura Bush and served in Vietnam. he later became head of the Third Army. Most of it covers Franks' tenure as the commander of CENTCOM during the start of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In these invasions, Franks repudiated the Powell doctrine with sp ...more
Erik
Good autobiography on a respectable man and his rise in the Army. But as importantly, it reminded me what we have forgotten or overlooked: that during the 1990's Sadam Hussein was an increasingly flagrant and belligerent international menace, and high-ranking people--including then-President Clinton--were beginning to draw up plans for his ouster, by invasion if necessary. All this a few years before 9/11.
Dan Walker
A very interesting book (I listened to the audiobook), particularly when reviewing Franks' experiences in Vietnam, where he earned 3 purple hearts. Most of the book covers Franks' leadership of US Central Command during the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. In these invasions Franks repudiated the Colin Powell doctrine from the first Iraq War of striking with massive force. Instead, Franks relied on speed while delivering precise, overwhelming firepower. Advanced technology, able to overco ...more
Jonathan McLeod
I enjoyed reading American Soldier. In his memoir, Franks shared a very candid inspection of his life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was surprised to discover a flag officer willing to admit many of the unremarkable points in his career; such as his dismal marks in college or that he enlisted while hung over. Though there were moments I felt I was being sold a used car, like when Franks shared his opinions on certain supervisors; many of his revelations certainly made him more personable.

I
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Relstuart
Very interesting to read about how the attack in Afganistan and Iraq was planned and executed. Includes behind the scenes discssions with the President and Rumsfeld during and after 9/11. Also interesting to note the differences in how we have changed the way our military command structure works with CENTCOM commanding all services in a geographical area rather than the different branches of the services controlling their assets as we did in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. It seems like the practice w ...more
Mindy
I am about 1/2 the way through this book. I don't know if I will finish it or not. I read it for my book report for OCS. It is interesting to me mostly because he started out as an enlisted soldier (like me), he was selected for MI (like me), he worked in a field similar to mine, he was in the honor guard (I was color guard for a year at dli), and he went to OCS, and did well, and eventually became a general. His few stories about OCS make me laugh (we don't have that kind of harsh treatment her ...more
Donald Ball
After hearing this man speak and reading this book, I wish he'd run for President of the US. During my stint in the US Navy, I learned the difference between an officer and a leader. You obey an officer because you have to. You obey a leader because you want to. The reader will learn what it takes to be a leader and it goes far beyond a loud commanding and unfaltering voice. It takes those quiet moments when he reflects on the decisions he must make, knowing full well whatever it is, others may ...more
Derrick
An extremely easy book to read. I actually had to do a report on him when I was in ROTC. The first half of the book is his career and how he got started. It seemed as though he just stumbled up the chain and had a lot of lucky breaks. The second half is his time as commander during the war. Like I said the book was easy to read, and I would suggest it for anyone in the military. It was written in a military format, in that every chapter or section he summarized everything he was going to talk ab ...more
Laurent
Great book, difficult start into the book, great soldier
Bigmg
Great story of a man who found his way in the Army. Close to getting kicked out of college and no idea what to do in life, he joins the Army.
With astonishing drive and intelligence now unleashed he transformed much of what the military thinks and does.
The epilogue on middle east affairs isn't necessary, but he feels very strongly about that part of the world. And, really, I don't know many other thinkers who could do better.
Overall, this is a very inspiring book.
Mark McNulty
This was one of the best memoirs I have read in recent years. Tommy Franks tells his story with honesty and clarity. It had me laughing, got me deep in thought, made me angry, made me proud, and taught me a lot about our military all at the same time. I took away so much more than that from this book. It is a joy to read and a learning experience in so many ways. I do not think you will ever regret reading this, even at its large size.
Pat Jones
The book "American Soldier" is General Tommy Franks biography, incuding his strategy about Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The book gives you an insight into the "ramp up to war" thinking of the Bush administration. Although the administration could have done a better job, President Bush didn't have much of a choice about the strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq. I understand Bush's thinking better now.
Beth W
A little slow getting started but ultimately a necessary piece to how we ended up where we are now with Iraq. Cool timing for me to be reading through books I bought and never read. This was published some time ago when no one--let alone Franks--would have foreseen the completely quagmire.... (Except, apparently, Obama.) (Who I support, by the way.) Interesting look back in time.
Connie
Mar 06, 2012 Connie added it
Recommended to Connie by: Galen
Shelves: couldn-t_finish
I made it to page 349 and just cannot go on.

I really enjoyed reading about his life and how he got to the rank of commander in chief. But the details of the warfare were bogging me down. I hadn't picked it up in quite a while and was feeling dread in finishing it, so it's over.

I think the grenades in mason jars were very clever, how times have changed.
Joseph Howard
Sep 12, 2012 Joseph Howard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in American history, military history, and politics.
Very insightful and will cause you to realize that if General Franks had been given the chance to enter, conduct the war, and leave...Iraq would have been an overwhelming success...probably within 2 to 3 years, max! General Franks is a true American hero, and I highly suggest this book for any military history buff. The man "tells it like it is", plain and simple!
Holly
I thought this was an incredible book - only my third MH read and thought it was well written and entertaining. I read this shortly after I read jawbreaker...everyone that reads this should read that as well - my the difference sides of the story you get when two different people tell it! He's a little too lovey dovey with Mr. Bush for me..but otherwise, very good.
Gail Alexander
This is a great book about a great American. And to boot, he's a "good ole Midland boy." I learned that not only is General Franks a brilliant tactician, he is a Godly man whose faith is extremely important to him. I recommend this book to anybody who has any interest at all in military history or the war on terror.
Mark Rhodes
General Franks is a straight shooter and gives you a good look at the plans of the Iraq and Afgan wars, the behind the scenes conversations that took place.

He also gives you a look into the life of General Franks from a small boy to the General he is today.

Slow in some spots but overall a good read.
Tom
Many good insights into the lead-up and the initial conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom. But better than that is the history of the person himself - especially since the actual information regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not available for independent validation.
Justin Wright
Great insight into what made the COCOM tick during some of America's toughest conflicts over the last 5 decades. I enjoyed Gen Franks sincere account of the synergies and in-fighting within the National Command Authority during the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jim Bouchard
To really understand America's modern warrior, the amazing warrior ethic now being forged at West Point and our involvement in the Middle East this is a must-read.

Take a look behind the headlines and into the mind of one of America's greatest leaders.
Bethany
Though long and at times difficult to follow due to the intricate strategic planning discussed, it was fascinating. It gave me a much better understanding of everything that led up to and surrounded the decision to enter Afghanistan and then Iraq.
Tim R
After reading this book, I have a sincere respect and appreciation for General Franks. Granted, the book was written in his eyes and clearly has a bias- he still inspires pride in the USA. A little long, but this man has a lot to say.
David
Meh. Probably the longest book I've ever read. It really needed an editor because there was way too much information contained therein. Parts of it were interesting but overall it didn't shape many of my views and was quite long to read.
Ethan
This auto-biography was incredible. I was there for some of the stuff he talked about, way down the chain and on the ground, of course, but it all rang true. It's well written, informative, and just plain good. Incredible even.
Grahambo
You commanded two major theater war invasions and this was the best you could do? A two bit memoir that could have been written by a high schooler? Weak. At least you capitalized on your fame before the money ran out.
Mitesh
I enjoyed this book. It's a look into a General's mind, which humanizes him. It lead me to see (once again), it's easy to be critical from the outside, and hard to be the doer on the inside.
Austin
Great read if you want to know the inner workings of the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not written very well. Way too many details where there don't need to be any.
Fanugee
My son who was in the US Army infantry recommended this book. It is amazing to see an enlisted soilder rise from basic training to the Commander in Chief, United States Central Command.
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