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The Fourth Star


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About the Author

DAVID CLOUD was the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times from 2005 to 2007. He previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, where he covered national security and intelligence issues.

GREG JAFFE is the Pentagon correspondent at the Washington Post and previously held the same position at the Wall Street Journal. In 1999, he was part of a team of reporters that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.


The fall of Saigon in 1975 left the U.S. Army defeated, demoralized, and divided. It was an army torn apart internally, rife with drug and alcohol use and soldiers who didn't want to serve in it. This work is about four young officers just beginning their respective careers in the late 1960s and early 1970s: Generals George Casey, Peter Chiarelli, John Abizaid, and David Petraeus. They all helped not only to rebuild the army but also to rethink its role in modern warfare. In doing so, they became the army's most influential general officers in the war in Iraq. This should be on the shelf next to Thomas E. Ricks's Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq and his follow-up, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.] Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"Cloud and Jaffe are gifted writers, who use their access to these senior commanders to good effect. They provide a lively, personalized account of the successes and setbacks of the four highly able and ambitious servicemen as they climb the military career ladder.

Cloud and Jaffe have produced a worthwhile and fascinating account packed with many insights about officership, promotion and command in the army and civil-military relations."--The Washington Post Book World "A sparkling account of today's U.S. Army-a work of art that offers novelistic details but also carries the impact of well-reported fact. I learned something on nearly every page, and much of it astonished me. This is the best book I've read on the military in a long time."
--Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times bestselling author of Fiasco and The Gamble "Important and illuminating . . . sheds light on the epic struggle now being waged within the U.S. military over whether to heed the hard lessons of the past eight years or bury them in the same forgetfulness that marked our post-Vietnam years."
--Linda Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me How This Ends and Masters of Chaos "Compelling . . . Cloud and Jaffe provide us with an insider' s view of the war, drawn from remarkable access to the men who designed the battlefield strategy. . . . The Fourth Star is an eye-opening portrait of today's Army and the four men who have done more than any of their generation to shape it."
--Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of the National Book Award finalist Imperial Life in the Emerald City "If you care about winning tomorrow's wars, then read this book. . . . Jaffe and Cloud draw intimate portraits of four members of the Army's high priesthood, and the implication is clear: The future of the Army is up for grabs."
--Nathaniel Fick, author of the New York Times bestseller One Bullet Away "A fascinating, intimate look at the men who are leading our wars and trying to change America's largest institution, the U.S. Army. A must-read for students of history, leadership, and engrossing prose."
--Dana Priest, Pulitzer Prize--winning author of The Mission "This book will provoke envy, if not plain awe. The fact is, the Army gets it: The best do rise to the top, and the chosen few are not all the same. Too bad Wall Street didn't follow the four in this book."
--Bing West, author of No True Glory and The Strongest Tribe

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