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By His Own Rules: The Ambitions, Successes, and Ultimate Failures of Donald Rumsfeld
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By His Own Rules: The Ambitions, Successes, and Ultimate Failures of Donald Rumsfeld

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  9 reviews
An epic examination of the life of one of the most confounding American political figures of the past half century
ebook, 832 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by PublicAffairs (first published October 27th 2008)
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Sue Burke
I waited patiently for my copy of this book for over a year as the publication deadline kept being extended because I wanted to try to understand Donald Rumsfeld. I'd been opposed to the invasion of Iraq, but had been charmed by Rumsfeld in his early briefings as things progressed. His infamous dismissal of "stuff happens" as the looting took hold, though, made me take a second look at him, and as the postwar problems increased, I kept wanting to know how it had all gotten away from him.

In the e...more
Paul Heidebrecht
Not sure why I plowed through a 700-page book about a guy I don't like. I guess because he's a native Illinoisan. Actually, some of my impressions of him were not accurate and I understand him a lot better now. I can also see why we got ourselves into such a mess in Iraq. Tragically, thousands of people died needlessly.
Bradley Graham's biography of Donald Rumsfeld is very much a journalist's book. Primarily focused on recounting events, he mainly relies on the words of his interviewees to convey judgments and offer interpretations. This gives his subject (whom Graham interviewed several times for the book) an opportunity to offer his own explanation for events. It is perhaps because of this, though, that Graham's depiction of Rumsfeld as a domineering Secretary of Defense too committed to his interpretation of...more
Todd Jensen
You always have to wonder, when a book is 803 pages, if the author is too vain to accept feedback from an editor. In this case, I think it was just a weak editor. For all the seriousness with which Mr. Graham approaches his subject and as much as he'd probably be disgusted with the comparison ... you have to take his book in the same category as Woodward. Political fiction/gossip/probably some truth to the themes, but essentially a cereal box version of a biography. Rumsfeld is a fascinating cha...more
Eric B. Martin
i have advice about reading this book: skip the intro, enjoy the early years, and skim quotes. i wrote an unconventional review of this book which you can check out here:

(the review includes the following one sentence summary)

By His Own Rules, in which a middle class wrestler kid from the Midwest goes to Princeton on scholarship, fails to become a Navy fighter pilot, serves in Congress, learns hardball politics under Nixon, tries it out under Ford, earns...more
Even though the author did not like him and had his own agenda for writing the book, he could not obfuscate Mr. Rumsfeld's integrity or his drive to improve everything he touched. The man was inspirational.
I'll save you the time and trouble of reading 700 pages: He's an asshole.
Long and boring but somebody has to do it.
Great gift for graduates
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