The Fourth Star: Book summary and reviews of The Fourth Star by Greg Jaffe

The Fourth Star

Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army

by Greg Jaffe

The Fourth Star by Greg Jaffe X
The Fourth Star by Greg Jaffe

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Book Summary

They were four exceptional soldiers, a new generation asked to save an army that had been hollowed out after Vietnam. They survived the military's brutal winnowing to reach its top echelon. They became the Army's most influential generals in the crucible of Iraq.

Collectively, their lives tell the story of the Army over the last four decades and illuminate the path it must travel to protect the nation over the next century. Theirs is a story of successes and failures, of ambitions achieved and thwarted, of the responsibilities and perils of command. The careers of this elite quartet show how the most powerful military force in the world entered a major war unprepared, and how the Army, drawing on a reservoir of talent that few thought it possessed, saved itself from crushing defeat against a ruthless, low-tech foe. In The Fourth Star, you’ll follow:

Gen. John Abizaid, one of the Army’s most brilliant minds. Fluent in Arabic, he forged an unconventional path in the military to make himself an expert on the Middle East, but this unique background made him skeptical of the war he found himself leading.

Gen. George Casey Jr., the son of the highest-ranking general to be killed in the Vietnam War. Casey had grown up in the Army and won praise for his common touch and skill as a soldier. He was determined not to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam but would take much of the blame as Iraq collapsed around him.

Gen. Peter Chiarelli, an emotional, take-charge leader who, more than any other senior officer, felt the sting of the Army’s failures in Iraq. He drove his soldiers, the chain of command, and the U.S. government to rethink the occupation plans–yet rarely achieved the results he sought.

Gen. David Petraeus, a driven soldier-scholar. Determined to reach the Army’s summit almost since the day he entered West Point, he sometimes alienated peers with his ambition and competitiveness. When he finally got his chance in Iraq, he – more than anyone – changed the Army's conception of what was possible.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"No more optimistic than other accounts of recent bungling by the American military, but a perceptive look at intelligent, capable generals trying their best." - Kirkus Reviews

"A sparkling account of today's U.S. Army–a work of art that offers novelistic details but also carries the impact of well-reported fact. I learned something on nearly every page, and much of it astonished me. This is the best book I’ve read on the military in a long time." - Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times bestselling author of Fiasco and The Gamble

"Important and illuminating ... sheds light on the epic struggle now being waged within the U.S. military over whether to heed the hard lessons of the past eight years or bury them in the same forgetfulness that marked our post-Vietnam years." - Linda Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me How This Ends and Masters of Chaos

The information about The Fourth Star shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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More Information

David Cloud was the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times from 2005 to 2007. He previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, where he covered national security and intelligence issues. Greg Jaffe is the Pentagon correspondent at the Washington Post and previously held the same position at the Wall Street Journal. In 1999, he was part of a team of reporters that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

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