It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans

It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans

by David Shulkin


$26.10 $29.00 Save 10% Current price is $26.1, Original price is $29. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, November 20


The former VA secretary describes his fight to save veteran health care from partisan politics and how his efforts were ultimately derailed by a small group of unelected officials appointed by the Trump White House.

Known in health care circles for his ability to turn around ailing hospitals, Dr. David Shulkin was originally brought into government by President Obama to save the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs. When President Trump appointed him as secretary of the VA, Shulkin was as shocked as anyone.

Yet this surprise was trivial compared to what Shulkin encountered as secretary: a team of political appointees devoted to stopping anyone — including the secretary himself — who stood in the way of privatizing the agency and implementing their political agenda. In this uninhibited memoir, Shulkin opens up about why the government has long struggled to provide good medical care to military veterans and the plan he had to solve these problems. This is a book about the commitment we make to the men and women who risk their lives fighting for our country, how the VA was finally beginning to live up to it, and why the new administration may now be taking us in the wrong direction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541762657
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 46,167
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

The Honorable David Shulkin, M.D. joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015, first as Under Secretary for Health and then as the ninth Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was the only Obama holdover who served in the Cabinet within the Trump administration and the only one unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Prior to his government service, Shulkin worked in a number of health care administration roles, including as President and CEO of New York's Beth Israel Medical Center and President of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. He is the Distinguished Health Policy Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, practices internal medicine in New York City, and still advocates on behalf of veterans.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 15 days ago
As the daughter of an Air Force Veteran I was compelled to read former VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin’s book “It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country”. I was astounded by the inside story. This would make an incredible movie. Intrigue, backstabbing, an honorable VA secretary being maligned, unfortunately for Veterans, it’s a true story. As an elementary school teacher for 20 years, in education we always teach students that there are consequences for actions. I wish there were consequences for the malicious ‘politicals’ inside the VA when Secretary Shulkin was in charge. America and her Veterans lost a VA secretary who put Veterans first!
Happymike21 20 days ago
A fascinating new book about Dr. Shulkin’s challenges in Washington DC as Secretary of Veterans Affairs Department and caring for 9 million Veterans. President Trump called him ‘our David’ and ‘our 100-0 man’, the book reads like a novel. You will enjoy the book, I did. A zany pre-confirmation interview with the new president-elect, rides on Air Force One, to touching Arlington Cemetery memorials, Dr. Shulkin tells how he led the effort that made advances in an agency that had been through terrible years and public embarrassments before he came to VA. Since VA has the second largest budget in the federal government, it also has a powerful shadow government which worked to undermine him and the agency. This book takes you on Dr. Shulkin’s wild ride through the politics of this time period. All while simultaneously combating a Shakespearen like conspiracy engineered and fueled by wealth beyond imagination, and against a set of “politicals” dedicated to destroying him and the advances he made for the healthcare of Veterans. At the same time, with a 100% Senate support confirmation as a tailwind, he begins to transform the VA. Dr. Shulkin achieves an astonishing 11 new pieces of legislation in 1 year, brings widespread telehealth to Veterans, accountability and transparency never before seen, and brings his 30 years of private healthcare leadership to a federal agency that had been mired in years of public mistrust. Dr. Shulkin writes with his heart about our debt to Veterans and honoring our commitment to those who make great sacrifices in service to their country. His knowledge of health systems could guide the VA in shaping our largest health system. He is an innovative leader and patriot who embraced one of the most difficult jobs in American government.
Anonymous 14 days ago
I loved this book. Compelling ,heart wrenching but a true story going on today in our country,our government. You couldn’t make this stuff up. And you cannot believe this is what’s happening to our country and our veterans. If you only read one Washington or Trump tell all books, read this one. I don’t have a veteran connection but I now have such an understanding and appreciation for those who serve.
Veteranslover 14 days ago
Important captivating book full of something for everyone. It has drama, Washington intrigue, public policy, concerns for our government and most of all for anyone who is or ares about a veteran. Well written,informative, and scary about the state of things. The passion for doing the right things for our country and veterans is evident bY The author,Secretary Shulkin.
Anonymous 14 days ago
To say this book is a must-read is an understatement - even for those who regard themselves as political junkies and think they have seen it all. It is a must-read for all of us - but not only because of the eye-opening effect of a well-written book which tells a fascinating story (the ending of which has not yet been written, by the way). I am a VA doc. I know the frustrations from within. Yet as I wended my way through this fascinating read - cringing all too often - paradoxically I also found myself uplifted by the passion with which Dr Shulkin tells us the story. There is a lot in this book - not just the personal story of an idealist with a track record of success (but a Washington-outsider naive to the realities that sabotaged his work) - also frequent reminders of the values that drove him to this mission and that still guide him and others.
Anonymous 7 days ago
At a time of widely divided and polarized political ideologies, it is refreshing to read a very believable and unbiased detail of the innerworkings of the US Executive Branch. The book describes how the political swamp in Washington DC contaminates efforts to resolve longstanding failings, in this case ensuring our veterans receive the care they are due. While reading the stories I couldn’t help but consider that if the Veterans Administration (VA) is that bad, how devastating government run “healthcare for all” would be on our citizens, especially those with chronic illnesses. The author, Dr. Shulkin, has focused his career on improving doctor quality and reducing medical errors. Many of the stories demonstrate his obvious leadership running large healthcare providers. Many of Dr. Shulkin’s programs, such as telehealth and routine care at doctor offices, are long overdue and move the VA to the 2020’s. He fought for accountability and the ability to replace underperforming resources and eliminate questionable and even criminal behavior. It is too bad President Trump listened to his sycophants rather than sit down with Dr. Shulkin and see things himself.
Dbscello17 14 days ago
Excellent Narrative written by the Former VA Secretary on the toxicity of public service in DC today as well as a playbook for Veterans advocates to use for improving veterans healthcare (And US Healthcare in general) in America.