EuSei

I remember watching a press conference with Rumsfeld when one of the reporters asked a really stupid question (as they generally do), and Rumsfeld did something I have always wanted to see a politician do, but have never witnessed: he called the reporter out! He said something along the lines of "That's a ridiculous question," answered it briefly anyway, and moved on. And I thought, "God, I love it!" I always watched his press conferences or read them. I noticed he made his points always clear and compelling. Then, I would catch a headline or some story that was in the news cycle and it was clear the media picked one sentence out of an hour long session with Rumsfeld and used it to make “news.” The tone of the media “reports” were in clear contradiction to a plain reading of the transcripts. Most readers of biographies have preconceptions of whether they like a person or don't and will read—if they indeed do read!—with that in mind. Anyone who would take the time to read this book will find Rumsfeld much less of an ideologue than he'd been painted. I thought that it was strange when his "known and unknown" comments received such scorn. It seemed to me it would be difficult to summarize such a profound philosophy in fewer words and with any more clarity. Although Rumsfeld admits to many mistakes, I am glad he did not admit the "known and unknown" comments were among those mistakes! His candor is refreshing and he did not hesitate to call people out, but he was also very honest about his mistakes and missteps. And when criticizing someone, he disagreed with their performance/policy, refraining from ad hominem attacks (something reviewers should for a change). If the reader can leave aside partisanship, he will notice that in everything he writes Rumsfeld is fair and restrained and attempts to present the facts accurately. This is no attempt to settle scores, just a wonderful read. Give it a try.

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