Colin Powell is the first in-depth probing into the rise of a man who is arguably, says the author, the first African-American in a position of major national prominence that the general public - black, white, and Hispanic - is ready to judge on merit alone. Long a key figure in the upper echelons of government, Operation Desert Shield, and later Desert Storm, made General Powell a political and military luminary of the highest order, after which both national parties commenced courting him for future elections. ...
Colin Powell is the first in-depth probing into the rise of a man who is arguably, says the author, the first African-American in a position of major national prominence that the general public - black, white, and Hispanic - is ready to judge on merit alone. Long a key figure in the upper echelons of government, Operation Desert Shield, and later Desert Storm, made General Powell a political and military luminary of the highest order, after which both national parties commenced courting him for future elections. Based on more than 120 interviews - including ones with General and Mrs. Powell, family members and colleagues from all stages of his career - General Powell emerges as the embodiment of the American Dream: the son of Jamaican immigrants, he rose from the hard life of the South Bronx to become the most talked about military leader since World War II, a man intimately involved with many of the nation's most dramatic events of the last thirty years. After serving two tours of duty in Vietnam, during which he earned a Soldier's Medal, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, General Powell was able to survive in the internecine warfare of official Washington. As National Security Adviser and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he has been a central figure in recent foreign affairs from the Reagan-Gorbachev summits to the Gulf War. Through it all, General Powell's popularity has crossed racial lines. "He would have made it if his color was purple," says one who served with then Colonel Powell in Korea in the mid-Seventies. Colin Powell is a story of grit, drive, determination and talent. It is a classic account of an immigrant boy who succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of his parents. It is, uniquely and quintessentially, an American story.
In a laudatory, well-written biography, a Washingtonian magazine senior editor explains why President Bush jumped General Powell over 30 senior officers to make him both the youngest chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first African American to hold that post. Means details the family background, upbringing and education of this Harlem-born son of Caribbean immigrants, his two Vietnam tours, his rise through the ranks, his virtuoso mastery of Pentagon politics as Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger's military assistant, his tenure in the White House as President Reagan's national security adviser and finally his role in the planning and execution of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Means so admires Powell's accomplishments, character and personality that he finds it hard to say anything negative about the general, but he does criticize his subject for advising President Bush to call an early cease-fire in the Gulf War. He suggests that probable career options available to Powell in the near future include command of NATO forces and possible entry into national polities. This stirring biography depicts the general as a shining role model, a man who combines the skills of a soldier, politician and diplomat. 50,000first pKnting;first serial to Washingtonian magazine. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
YA-- A timely biography, and an inspiring account. It is superb reading for YAs, as Powell is a glowing example of a man worthy of their respect and admiration. Means provides a lengthy index and appendixes to round out the picture of this exemplary military leader.
Draws on extensive interviews to chronicle the career of the general. Includes b&w photos. No scholarly paraphernalia. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)