Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates

While I don’t agree with all of Robert Gates views outlined in this book, his heart and dedication to the people who serve our country is undeniable. Duty at times reads a bit like a report rather than a memoir. However Gates successfully illustrates his great Gates-Jacket-697x102411compassion for the troops, dedication to the department of defense, and willingness to work across party lines. I have a new appreciation for what our troops do to defend our country because of this book. I was happy to see that during his time in office, he worked so diligently to remind others in government that our troops are people, not just numbers. They are young men and women putting their lives on the line so that we can enjoy freedom. Their needs should be met.

I think my favorite parts dealt with the individual stories of soldiers that he had dealings with, as well as those moments that he spent behind closed doors with either President Bush or  President Obama. I also was interested to read about the meetings with leaders from other countries in the Middle East, or in Russia, or some of the Asian countries. The comparison between the two presidents (Bush and Obama), how they worked from within the White House, as well as the personal meetings he had with them, were also interesting bits of the overall story. He had far more praise for Obama than I expected him to have. But there was some airing of complaints; I don’t think they are all that different than most of the complaints that the country has with Obama now.

While this book is a long read, and probably could have had several things cut – reading to the end was worth it. I hope you’ll take the time to check it out. It is available in print, or audiobook at the VC/UHV Library.

Review written by Allyson H.