Two Frogs

My American Journey


by Colin L. Powell
Date Reviewed: September 10, 2005

After reading this autobiography (which does not cover his stint as Secretary of State), I am convinced that Colin Powell is the greatest president this country will never have. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he managed to work within the military system to attain the armed service’s highest rank and, eventually, to become the highest-ranking ever Black politician. He bore witness to history extending from the racism of the 50s, through the turmoil of the 60s and 70s, past the end of the Cold War of the 80s, and into the unfolding threat of global terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists. He offered surprising insight and impressive recall of detail over the course of his career, and brought a civility and honor to politics that is sadly lacking in most politicians. He managed to survive a 45-year public career with his integrity intact and a clear conscience. I think he has the experience and level-headedness to lead this country in a positive new direction, but has decided that the rigors of campaigning and public life would put too much strain on his family. Considering how vicious the last two Presidential elections became, who could blame him?

I was amazed to see how similar our views are on most issues (the only notable exceptions being rights for gays and affirmative action, the latter of which he strikes me as being somewhat ambivalent about), and describes himself as a “fiscal conservative and social moderate.” I would classify myself similarly.

The book was fascinating in the details, and I was amazed to see so many familiar names from previous administrations that are bandied around the press now – Negroponte, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and many more. I guess the game never really changes, does it?

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