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American Soldier

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,282 ratings  ·  79 reviews
"When war comes, you look for certain special qualities in the people you'll be working with. General Tom Franks embodies those qualities: strength, experience, a keen mind, energy, honor, good humor, and a deep loyalty to his troops and to his country. "Tom Franks is truly a soldier's soldier."

-- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

The Commander in Chief of the United St
Hardcover, 590 pages
Published August 3rd 2004 by Harper (first published January 1st 2004)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,282 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jeff Dawson
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Absolutely, unequivocally, superb!

How many times have you heard in recent times, in the political spectrum that the men, Generals, making the decisions that send our young men and women into the line of fire, have no idea what it’s like at the front? They sit back and give orders while they remain in the safe confines of their headquarters. This might have been true during Vietnam. Thank you LBJ and Robert MacNamara. But not during General Franks watch.
When I started reading, I flashed back to
Thomas Hill
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story, is about the life of the United States Army General, Tommy Franks, and how he ascended from the rank of Second Lieutenant all the way up to being the Commander In Chief of the United States Central Command. As an autobiography, Tommy Ray Franks is the main character in this book. However, many of the significant characters include, Cathryn Jane Carley Franks, General Norman Schwarzkopf, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Crown Prince Abdullah II of Saudi Arabia, President Hosni Mubarak of ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Kevin Hanks
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great memoir by a modern day soldier. I enjoyed his story, and the anecdotes. I finished with a great respect and appreciation for those who wage war in my behalf in today's world. Man am I glad I do not have to do this.

He did a great job of explaining the complexities of his role in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. He explained in great detail the expectations placed on him by Pres Bush and Def. Sec. Rumsfeld, the American and foreign press, the foreign coalition forces, the American peop
James Pritchert
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent pure and simple. I was amazed at all of the similarities between us and I immediately formed a bond with the author. It appears that in our youth, we booth took similar paths to the Army and of course he succeeded enormously while I turned a patriotic but more mediocre performance. That notwithstanding, I highly enjoyed the story of his life and how he went about orchestrating the overthrow of Sadam Hussein. This story include some wonderful insights into General Franks pe ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A tight well-written first person telling of history and the war on terror. Tommy Franks is a well-spoken storyteller and a level-headed leader. I was impressed with his openness, his opinions of others he's worked with, not all of them flattering, and his ability to assess a situation quickly and calmly. I am glad I was listening to the abridged version of this audiobook because by about CD number 5, I was worn out with war. I listened to at least 2/3 of the book, but by then, I was done and ne ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This was very informative and historical. It took me a long time to read it as it was a very long book. But I'm glad that I did.
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
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-politics
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.

Chip Hunter
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Besides outlining the spectacular and honorable life a spectacular and honorable American, this book clearly illustrates the amount of work that our guys have put into the wars in Afganistan and Iraq. Both have truly been great success stories the likes of which have never been witnessed before in history. The incredible speed and accuracy of our armed forces have resulted in two wars with never before seen domination of the enemy and unheard of low levels of civilian casualties. This book makes ...more
osama rabie
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ده من اهم الكتب السياسية و العسكرية اللي ممكن تقرأها,و نقدر نقسمه علي كذا جزء
اولا الجزء العسكري
التغيرات اللي حصلت في الولايات المتحدة و عقيدتها القتالية من خلال 4 حروب خاضهم تومي ابتداء بفيتنام و الاستراتيجية العسكرية المبنية علي القصف المدفعي و العدد الضخم من الجنود مرورا بعاصفة الصحراء اللي ابتدي يبقي فيها شوية تقنيات حديثة و كان اول ظهور او استخدام للابرامز و استخدام التوما هوك لتدمير تجمعات الجنود و الرادارات و مراكز القيادة و السيطرة,بعدها حرب افغانستان و اول ظهور لطائرات البريديتور و تقدم
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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
Donald Ball
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
James Garrett
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think the American public should read this book in order to understand the process, complexities, and the politics that General Franks coped with during his tenure as the CENTCOM commander of our military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. War is not like that portrayed by the Hollywood elite or those who supported the war on terror in the beginning and then spoke out being against it later. Gen Franks highlights things that were new to me and really puts the focus where it belongs, the will and ...more
Isaiah Strick
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was inspirational for sure. It gives you a whole nother level of respect for people. This books teaches you about combat strategies, it shows you the process of Tommys progress and shows how important some peoples roles are in the military. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about warfare in the middle east or hunting down Bin Laden or even the life of Tommy Franks. ...more
Brent McGregor
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rich Humes
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting book, everyone interested in history and/or politics should pick it up.

I almost wish he'd written two books. One about Vietnam and another about the "War on Terror".

Regardless of my opinions on the Iraq War, it's neat to lift the veil and see what the high level planning looked like.

Easy read but some parts seem a little clichéd, like a G.I. Joe comic.
Beth W
Feb 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Joseph R. Howard
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Greg Snyder
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. General Tommy Franks led our troops into both Afghanistan and Iraq. I do not believe in the politics that led us into Iraq but he did his job as the commander of CENTCOM. He retired shortly after Paul Bremer became the ambassador of Iraq and completely screwed up the direction the US was going. If you like military books I highly recommend you read it.
Mark Rhodes
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 22, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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