Donald Rumsfeld – Known and Unknown

Like Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown pulls no punches. With the same directness that defined his career in public service, Rumsfeld’s memoir is filled with previously undisclosed details and insights about the Bush administration, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also features Rumsfeld’s unique and often surprising observations on eight decades of history: his experiences growing up during the Depression and World War II, his time as a Naval aviator; his service in Congress starting at age 30; his cabinet-level positions in the Nixon and Ford White Houses; his assignments in the Reagan administration; and his years as a successful business executive in the private sector.

Rumsfeld addresses the challenges and controversies of his illustrious career, from the unseating of the entrenched House Republican leader in 1965, to helping the Ford administration steer the country away from Watergate and Vietnam, to bruising battles over transforming the military for the 21st century, to the war in Iraq, to confronting abuse at Abu Ghraib and allegations of torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Along the way, he offers his plainspoken, first-hand views and often humorous and surprising anecdotes about some of the world’s best-known figures, from Margaret Thatcher to Saddam Hussein, from Henry Kissinger to Colin Powell, from Elvis Presley to Dick Cheney, and each American president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Rumsfeld relies not only on his memory but also on previously unreleased and recently declassified documents. Thousands of pages of documents not yet seen by the public will be made available on an accompanying website.

Known and Unknown delivers both a fascinating narrative for today’s listeners and an unprecedented resource for tomorrow’s historians.

Donald Rumsfeld is donating his proceeds from sales of Known and Unknown to military charities supported by the Rumsfeld Foundation.

Author: Donald Rumsfeld
Narrator: Donald Rumsfeld
Duration: 30 hours 10 minutes
Released: 11 Aug 2002
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Language: English

User Review:

prisoner disgraced

This is an excellent, thoughtful and insightful account for anyone with an interest in how the US government works at the highest levels. Don Rumsfeld???s government service in influential positions began during the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and continued through his service as Defense Secretary to George W. Bush. What emerges is a picture of high-level policymaking based on incomplete information, evolving facts, good-faith differences among Cabinet officials, and subject to pressures from damaging news leaks, often-inaccurate news reports and partisan opponents, as well as the changing mood of public opinion. Throughout his account Mr. Rumsfeld offers his personal critiques of colleagues he differed with on particular issues and of policy choices that were made. He does not exclude himself from such criticism. However, the book never descends into personal attacks or attempts to ???trash??? his former colleagues. Rather, the critiques appear more in the nature of explaining why he felt things could have been done better or why a colleague???s statements or actions were ???unhelpful,??? as he often liked to say.

There are opinions he shares in this account with which many will disagree. His defense of the decision to go to war against Iraq is one such example. He points out, however, that the critics of the war have to answer whether we would be better off with the alternative: a Saddam Hussein regime still in power and having reactivated its WMD programs in clear defiance of UN resolutions. I personally was not persuaded by his criticism of Jerry Bremer???s early decision when on the ground as the Coalition administrator in Iraq to slow down the pace of the handover of government to the Iraqis.
I think Bremer may well have been right to be concerned that handing over power too early to an Iraqi group not equipped to govern might have resulted in something like the ???Weimar Republic??? that led to disaster for Germany in the 1930’s