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[about the book]

Once considered among the best and brightest of his generation, Donald Rumsfeld was exceptionally prepared, by successful careers in politics and business, to assume the Pentagon’s top job in 2001. The only man ever to hold the position of secretary of defense twice, he set his course—to transform the American military into a more agile, more efficient fighting force—with gusto and determination.Yet by the time he was compelled to tender his resignation six years later, Rumsfeld had become the most controversial Pentagon leader since Robert McNamara. He was widely criticized for mismanaging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for failing to set clear policies on the handling of detainees, and for damaging relationships with the military, with Congress, and with his administration colleagues. Was he really the arrogant, errant, over-controlling defense secretary frequently portrayed—or, as his supporters contend, a brilliant, hard-charging visionary caught in a whirl of polarized Washington politics, dysfunctional federal bureaucracy, and bad luck?
The story of Donald Rumsfeld is an exceptional personal drama that has had profound consequences for the United States and the world. It is an instructive tale of what can happen when an immensely capable man meets his greatest challenge late in life—leading the U.S. military at a critical time—and stumbles. And it addresses one of the most puzzling paradoxes to come along in Washington in years: How could someone so qualified have left office so disparaged and unpopular?

Bradley Graham, a longtime Washington Post correspondent who closely covered Rumsfeld’s challenging tenure at the Pentagon and interviewed the former secretary multiple times for this book, offers an insightful biography of a complex and enormously influential personality. By His Own Rules is a deeply revealing portrait of a man whose impact on U.S. national security affairs will long outlive him.



By His Own Rules jacket


By Bradley Graham
Public Affairs Books





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