My Share of the Task: A Memoir

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Overview

General Stanley McChrystal is widely admired for his hunger to know the truth, his courage to find it, and his humility to listen to those around him. Even as the commanding officer of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, he stationed himself forward and frequently went on patrols with his troops to experience their challenges firsthand.

In this illuminating New York Times bestseller, McChrystal frankly explores the major episodes and controversies of his career. He ...

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Overview

General Stanley McChrystal is widely admired for his hunger to know the truth, his courage to find it, and his humility to listen to those around him. Even as the commanding officer of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, he stationed himself forward and frequently went on patrols with his troops to experience their challenges firsthand.

In this illuminating New York Times bestseller, McChrystal frankly explores the major episodes and controversies of his career. He describes the many outstanding leaders he served with and the handful of bad leaders he learned not to emulate. And he paints a vivid portrait of how the military establishment turned itself, in one generation, into the adaptive, resilient force that would soon be tested in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the wider War on Terror.

“General McChrystal is a legendary warrior with a fine eye for enduring lessons about leadership, courage, and consequence.” —Tom Brokaw

“A compelling account of his impressive career.” —The Wall Street Journal

“This is a brilliant book about leadership wrapped inside a fascinating personal narrative.” —Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

“Engaging and humble throughout, McChrystal raises the bar for his peers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

General Stanley McChrystal's new book has already received stellar reviews. One early reader lauding it as "the finest military memoir of his generation," and Walter Isaacson calling it "a brilliant book about leadership wrapped inside a fascinating personal narrative." Reports about the outspoken former Commander of all NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan were not always so superlative. A 2010 Rolling Stone article about him entitled "The Runaway General" landed him in trouble that resulted in his resignation. In My Share of the Task, this former four-star general addresses directly the major episodes, learning experiences, and controversies of his eventful career. Certain to garner prominent reviews nationwide.

Publishers Weekly
★ 02/18/2013
Retired four-star general McChrystal provides a candid look back across his nearly four decade-long career, musing on leadership and immersing the reader in wartime missions. Raised in an Army family, he began as a West Point cadet, followed that with Ranger school, and, after ascending the Army ranks, was deployed for Pentagon postings in Iraq and Afghanistan. McChrystal describes his experiences and senior-level leadership challenges (he was Joint Special Operations Command counterterrorism task force commander in Iraq and NATO commander in Afghanistan), offers thoughtful, historical context and objectives for Iraq and Afghanistan, and details his relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Aided by maps and photographs, his clear, intelligent narrative balances a vast amount of information and detailed explanation, as in his firsthand, seat-of-the-pants account of tracking, surveilling, and eliminating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. There were personal and military failings: he discusses his "antics" at West Point; the Pat Tillman friendly fire controversy; Abu Ghraib and abuse of Iraqi detainees ("There were lapses in discipline, but they were never tolerated. Never a wink and a nod."); media leaks; and the Rolling Stone article that led to his resignation. Engaging and humble throughout, McChrystal raises the bar for his peers. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
A steely jawed if by-the-numbers memoir of military life--one that, readers may recall, ended in political imbroglio. McChrystal, a military brat like so many career officers, came close to being the class goat early in his years of service. Though he takes pains to distinguish between demerits born of "shenanigans" and those born of violations of honor, he admits that "low academic, disciplinary, and physical training scores" at West Point threatened to end his career before it began--though his transgressions were nothing compared to the shock against the honor system that the Vietnam-era inflation of body counts entailed. He survived, made significant improvements and fulfilled his goal of joining the Rangers, then began his steady rise through the ranks. His elevation to high command came with the Iraq War, which he recounts with acronym-studded yet illuminating detail, as when he writes that even though there was considerable division among the insurgent groups in the wake of Saddam Hussein's fall, they still fought "within [al-Qaida leader] Zarqawi's strategic framework." McChrystal is cautious when writing of both allies and enemies alike, though he notes approvingly that among the British forces' leadership was a clear opponent of the war "whose unvarnished critiques of the Coalition's campaign could be uncomfortable but necessary antidotes to the too-often insular world of military high command." It was, of course, a series of reported critiques of his commander-in-chief that ended McChrystal's term; he writes of this without rancor while insisting that the Rolling Stone reporter got it wrong. Less revealing than it might have been, though, between the lines, McChrystal offers plenty of evidence of the fraud and folly of Afghanistan. Likely to be a must-read on the Metro line to the Pentagon.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846826
  • Publisher: Portfolio Trade
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 75,478
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley McChrystal retired in July 2010 as a four-star general in the U.S. Army. His last assignment was as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and cofounder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm. He and his wife, Annie, live in Virginia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2013

    This past Memorial Day, I spoke with Mary Tillman (Pat Tillman's

    This past Memorial Day, I spoke with Mary Tillman (Pat Tillman's mother) and she said seeing Gen. McChrystal in the news was "like rubbing salt in a wound." Unfortunately, this old general won't just fade away. Now, he's making the rounds of the morning talk shows and the Amazon book blurb for his memoir, "My Share of the Task," promises it will "frankly explore the major episodes and controversies of his eventful career."
    However, despite McChrystal's much vaunted "candor," it appears his memoir whitewashes or ignores the controversies of his career. For example, he simply repeats his lecture circuit BS that there was no cover-up of Pat Tillman's 2004 friendly-fire death, merely "well-intentioned mistakes." And, McChrystal "still declines to confirm or deny the accuracy of the quotes" of Michael Hasting's "Rolling Stone" profile which got him fired (he spend only a page and a half on it, doesn't even mention Hastings by name, and he doesn't address the substance of Hasting's 2012 book, "The Operators," which details "Le'Affair Rolling Stan" and his failed Afghan war strategy).
    In April 2011, just after McChrystal was supposedly cleared by the Pentagon's NYT reporter Thom Shanker of "all wrongdoing" in the "Rolling Stone" case, President Obama appointed him to head up the "Joining Forces" program to support military veterans and their families. In response, Mary Tillman said, "It's a slap in the face to appoint this man" ... "He deliberately helped cover up Pat's death"... someone who has a heartfelt desire to help families would not have been involved in the cover-up of a soldier's death..."
    McChrystal has said, "The one thing you can never, and should never want to dodge, is responsibility." But, it appears that he has "dodged" taking responsibility for his central role in the Tillman cover-up, the use of torture by JSOC forces under his command, how he helped "box in" President Obama into his strategically flawed Afghan War "surge," and for "Le'Affair Rolling Stan (see details at the post, "Never Shall I Fail My Comrades" -- The Dark Legacy of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, at the Feral Firefighter blog).
    Finally, I'm curious to see how well his story of the capture of Saddam Hussein and the killing of Abu Zarqawi matches previous accounts which describe the "back story"(e.g. interogator Matthew Alexander said, "We found Zarqawi in spite of the way the task force (McChrystal's TF 145) did business").
    In the past, I used to have a grudging respect for McChrystal when he simply refused to comment about the Pat Tillman story. But, if McChrystal won't confess the truth about "the major episodes and controversies of his eventful career," I feel he ought to take the advice of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who offered up a barbed assessment of how the White House had "spun" the Bin Laden raid: "I have a new communications approach to recommend ... Shut ... up."

    7 out of 67 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    This is one of the greatest books I have read in a very long tim

    This is one of the greatest books I have read in a very long time. General Stanley McChrystal is an American hero with a wonderful story to tell.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, as everyone has something they can take away from it. A great read, be sure to check it out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    What a boring book. I honestly thought this book would be more i

    What a boring book. I honestly thought this book would be more interesting that what it was. im not sure where all the good reviews are coming from? If you are not military don't buy it - you will lose track of the point of his book. overall boring read after the first three chapters.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2013

    I just finished General McChrystal's book and I thought it was v

    I just finished General McChrystal's book and I thought it was very informative and it kepted your interest as his life and career experiences were unveiled. As a retired military veteran myself, I found the story interesting because his career began only a few years before mine and although I retired before him, it was interesting to recall where I was and what I was doing as I read his career activity. I think this book provides a very good picture of just how difficult the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan have been and continue to be on the military member as well as his or her family. Clearly the General made significant impacts while serving as he traveled the paths of life and shared the road with others. The General explained in the book that he didn't expect his career to end the way it did, but I believe he chose the high road and ended his service as a true professional. As a retired military member, I sometimes think back on my past experiences and wonder about the service I rendered--as the old saying goes, "hindsight is 20/20". There was a quote in General McChrystal's book that he remembered General Franks, the one-legged General who lost his leg in Vietnam and served long enough to lead a corps in the first Gulf War, saying to him--I believe its worth repeating, General Franks said, "Remember, no matter what you do during service, or what you accomplish, your last interaction with the Army will be one of rejection." It is important to follow this up with what General McChrystal said he believed General Franks meant by this, he said, "For years I mistook Frank's comment as one of bitterness. Over time I realized he was admonishing me against looking for esteem in the wrong places. And he was reminding me whose respect was truly important." I personally served 28+ years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a Chief Master Sergeant--I found alot of wisdom in General Franks words. I believe General McChrystal has written an excellent book for our time that should be read by those trying to understand the fight against terrorism as well as the on-going sacrifices of those outstanding individuals serving in uniform! Thank You General for your book and Thank You for your service to our nation! May God Bless you and your family in the days ahead!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2013

    A very insightful look into the way Task Force 714 was run and t

    A very insightful look into the way Task Force 714 was run and the operations they conducted. A very good look into way our military forces adapted the changing landscape of warfare after 9/11

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Excellent

    Not just about war. Recommended for anyone in a leadership position,or who aspires to lead.

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  • Posted February 25, 2013

    Good read!

    Interesting & informative. Makes you wonder how Obama could have accepted the General's resignation!

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    Strongly Encourage for both civilians and military

    It is tough to visibly witness human legends in person. Our society relates to dead legends far easier. But to truly witness firsthand how remarkable GEN Stanley McChrystal was and is - makes the book even more worthwhile. While the majority of money hungry, self-centered Americans would write chapter after chapter "how I was wronged" and "what about me" - GEN McChrystal steers clear and in my opinion writes how the military molded him into the leader he was, while leading by example with truth, honesty, integrity and expecting the extreme best out of everyone. The best thing about us "humans" is we will and do make mistakes - it takes a stronger person of courage to admit to it and continue driving in to make our country a safer place to live. The Afghanistan land needed GEN McChrystal’s leadership at the time. Iraq, Afghanistan and future conflicts will continue to be challenging in the apolitical arena and we will need well rounded Generals that can speak from both the Military and Political sides. Most of all, the book highlights how extremely noteworthy he transformed the SOF community, interlaced it into the overall Intelligence Community and prior to policy made concepts of operations (CONOP) drive the political progress without waiting for written law. In addition, his greatest achievement goes one step further - making operations and intelligence seamless and having the entire community work together to rid the world of terrorist. Bottom Line – True American Hero!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    GREAT READ from a GREAT LEADER

    I'm biased. I served with this General and although he doesn't know who I am, the people and I who served with him always had the utmost respect for him as our leader. He is part of a generation of generals who had very little actual combat experience, unlike the Generals who had fought in Korea and Vietnam. Yet, in many ways, men like him and the other Generals who served in OEF and OIF found ways to win by creating new paradigms, breaking inter-service barriers, uniting the teams (and agencies) to work together in way that has never been accomplished. For his critics, I challenge them and say, can you do what he did? For that matter, who in the military can?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Any body chatting?

    You are completely disrespectfull to be chatting on somthing like this. Go to chat room or somthing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    My Share of the Task

    A book about a soldier, around my age. Who grew up always knowing what he wanted to be. A man of courage, honesty. He grew up during the 60's but knew he wanted to be a soldier. Not just any soldier but a West Point graduate. He ran many operations, but I wanted to know about Iraq and Afganistan. He was a four star general with a heart for his duty and his men. He mingled with the GS-3/4 and heard what they had to say. Really pleased to read about a man of courage and visions for right and no tolerance for wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Deadeye

    Gooood......go now.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 11, 2013

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