My American journey

Front Cover
Random House, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 643 pages
98 Reviews
Colin Powell is the embodiment of the American dream. He was born in Harlem to immigrant parents from Jamaica. He knew the rough life of the streets. He overcame a barely average start at school. Then he joined the Army. The rest is history - but a history that until now has been known only on the surface. Here, for the first time, he himself tells us how it happened, in a memoir distinguished by a heartfelt love of country and family, warm good humor, and a soldier's directness. He writes of the anxieties and missteps as well as the triumphs that marked his rise to four-star general, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, mastermind of Desert Storm, and now the man the country would most like to draft as President just as it drafted General Eisenhower before him in 1952. We see Powell growing up, getting into mischief, going to church with his father, working in a bottling plant, joining the ROTC. We follow him as a green young lieutenant on his first foreign posting in Germany, where his ascent is nearly aborted by a blunder on the day he is assigned to guard an atomic cannon. We go on patrol with him into the jungles of Vietnam, where he is wounded, and then, in the first surprise turn of his career, into the every-bit-as-dangerous thickets of Washington bureaucracy as a Pentagon aide in the Carter administration. We see how he handled the humiliations inflicted on him as a black soldier traveling in the Deep South and the unnerving challenges he faced as a battalion commander in Korea, where the army guarding the border with North Korea was plagued by drugs, drinking, a lack of discipline, and racial tension. We are edge-of-the-seat spectators to some ofthe great international dramas of our time - Desert Storm, the invasion of Panama, the dark dealings of Iran-contra with Ollie North and Bill Casey, the climactic meetings with Gorbachev. And we are present also at the encounters with President Clinton on the controversial question of gays in the military. Powell gives us behind-the-scenes portraits of Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, of Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf, and many others. This is a book of political excitement and disclosure, but it is much more.

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Review: My American Journey

User Review  - Michael Teter - Goodreads

An interesting autobiography from one of the major components in shaping American history. I found his insights into the Presidents and staff members personalities thought provoking. I was a little ... Read full review

Review: My American Journey

User Review  - Robert Dunlap - Goodreads

Thoroughly enjoyed. This one is worth highlighting and tabbing. Like books of other prominent warriors, it seems oddly thin on the mechanics and tactics of being a warrior. However, it does include a ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

One of the most prominent figures in American public life, General Colin L. Powell served as the twelfth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both President George Bush and President Bill Clinton. He was a major architect of Desert Storm, the dramatic Allied success in the forty-three-day Gulf War, which began in January 1991.

General Powell was born in New York City in 1937 and raised in the South Bronx by his parents, who had immigrated to America from Jamaica. He came up through the New York City public school system and received a commission as an army second lieutenant upon graduation from the City College of New York in 1958.

Early in his career, General Powell was stationed in Germany and in a number of posts in the United States, and served two tours in Vietnam, 1962-1963 and 1968-1969. He was also a battalion commander in Korea from 1973 to 1974 and later commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and V Corps in Germany.

General Powell was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor by President Ronald Reagan in January 1987 and in December 1987 became National Security Advisor, a post he held until January 1989. He served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1989 until his retirement on September 30, 1993.

General Powell has received numerous U.S. military awards and decorations, as well as civilian awards honoring his public service, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he was awarded twice. He has also been decorated by the governments of Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela, and received an honorary knighthood (Knight Commanders of Bath) from the Queen of England.