Itís hard to know what to expect from the memoirs of the former Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command, who led troops into battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. But General Tommy Franksí American Soldier is refreshing and surprising in the way the author discusses these controversial wars.
Franks takes the stance that the wars were justified, yet he canít be fairly described as pro-war. He has clear-eyed view of battle and the devastation it causes. He expresses reservations about the way things were done. This isnít a propaganda piece, but a manís examination of his life and career.
Franks was Commander in Chief of the United States from 2000 to 2003. The book traces his life from his childhood in Oklahoma and Midland, Texas, through a lifetime of military service, and his journey up through the ranks of the military.
Whatís refreshing and interesting about the book is the way that Franks seems to view everyone heís worked with as a human being. Some of the bookís best passages are those in which Franks is learning to be a leader, and dealing with the various needs and personalities of the men under his command.
The book also is surprisingly not that wrapped up in politics. Despite his obvious admiration of the current administration, Franks seems respectful of authority no matter whoís in charge. He sees himself as a man with a job to do. Whether or not you agree with how he did that job is up to you. Either way, American Soldier is a solid, interesting read.