by Rowan Scarborough
Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2004. Pp. 253.
illus, index. $27.95. ISBN:0-89526-069-7
He is the youngest man to ever serve as Secretary of Defense. He is also the oldest. He is, perhaps, the central figure in America’s war on terrorism. He is Donald S. Rumsfeld.
It is interesting that it has taken so long for a real biography to come out about Rumsfeld. It also is interesting to note that the biographer is not Bob Woodward, but instead it is Washington Times defense correspondent Rowan Scarborough, who often works with Bill Gertz of that
paper. The biography produced promises to have interesting information, some of which is not exactly in the public domain.
It delivers. It paints a stunning portrayal, not only of the life of Secretary Rumsfeld, but also American strategy in the war on terrorism. Scarborough’s work gives incredible background. It gives Rumsfeld a very heroic portrayal – a believable one given his actions on September 11th
– albeit in making that portrayal, it sometimes overlooks legitimate grounds for debate. While the book accurately portrays that he possesses a sharp intellect, and a very strong desire to win the war, it seems to minimize his impetuous side and his mistakes. It is also slightly disconcerting to note that the 66-page appendix in this book loaded with reduced images of classified documents stamped “SECRET/NOFORN”.
Overall, this book is well worth its cover price. While it glosses over some of Rumsfeld’s negatives, it is a solid counterpoint to the portrayals currently in the media, and is well worth reading for the inside story it provides on the war.