By His Own Rules: The Ambitions, Successes, and Ultimate Failures of Donald Rumsfeld
One would think that an 803-page tome about a two-time Secretary of State would be sleep-inducing. But this book by Bradley Graham races along like a fine Capitol mystery-thriller. It is the biography of a man who might have been president, Donald Rumsfeld. While it is presented in what is now known as a fair and balanced approach, it becomes clear that Rumsfeld’s faults and failures will add up to be larger than his successes.
This is first and foremost a tale of hubris and ego. The young Rumsfeld, one of the youngest Congressman ever elected, is seen as clean and prepared, like the 1.0 version of Mitt Romney. The young Rumsfeld made connections with the right people, with names like Ford, Bush and Cheney, which is how he came to have a long and stand out career. Yes, he eventually ran for president in a campaign that was stillborn and he met his albatross in the Iraq War.
Iraq was the vehicle that fully exposed Rumsfeld’s weaknesses and caused President Bush to accept his resignation; Rumsfeld became McNamara 2.0. This is a well-written, cautionary, tale.
Public Affairs, $35.00, 803 pages
Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.