Duty Summary

From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vivid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House, he thought he’d long left Washington politics behind: After working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happily serving as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty.

Book Reviews

Marcus Aurelius III

A Very Personal Memoir5 star

An engaging, well written narrative. The descriptions of personal interactions with all the components and personalities on the national and geo-political stage of the time are clear, detailed and educational. One of the two best books I have read by figure of the author’s stature.55


A great book4 star

Interesting, well worth reading. Talks about the successes and failures as Secretary of Defense. Gives a great insight on the challenges of running a large organization.45

Jim Casimir

I was moved5 star

It brought tears to my eyes. Made me proud that we have such a leader in America. Thank you Bob Gates.55


Defense3 star

Interesting, but rather self-serving. Sad for our young men and women in our services. I certainly appreciate his (Gates) personal caring for the troops. On a professional note, I would give him a lot more credit as Secretary had he been able to attack & arrest the horrible money waste within Defense.35


Inside the wars5 star

Great book about the the fight behind the wars. Gates is the soldiers secretary55

Boulder Music Lover

Duty by Robert Gates5 star

Compelling, important and powerful in its clarity, intensity, commitment and description of the frustration that Secretary Gates felt but rarely conveyed. Clearly, he performed his duty and did so with honor, high competence, motivated by a fundamental ethic of always placing his Country, his/our soldiers before his own needs and ego. A great history and a great personal story that all can learn from and, hopefully, be motivated to emulate. Thank you Secretary Gates for your book, and thank you for your service. T. Wolf, Boulder, CO.55

Saw on news

Insightful5 star

As a memoir, I found this insightful and balanced in what Secretary Gates accomplished, and in areas that, looking back had come up short or made the wrong choice. It reinforces that our legislative branch is a mess. Self-serving, egocentric, narcissistic, political pawns who over rate themselves and contribution to the nation. As a veteran (peacetime) I'd like to think that the Secretary always has our back. A veteran -- whether on active duty, discharged, retired or in the reserve -- is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to, and including, his life.55


Thank you Mr. Secretary5 star

At once poignant, heartfelt, sincere, frank, self deprecating, and almost thoroughly gracious. The only criticisms I could come up with are the glowing reviews of two Secretaries of State I never would have hired but certainly would have fired; the glossing over in two paragraphs or less both Tunisia and Ben Ghazi; and recommending Bloomberg for anything but perpetual point man in Helmand, let alone a cabinet position. After those, this was such a great read, and historically significant work I would recommend any student of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or global geopolitic give it a read. In fact, if it were up to me I'd require SecDefs to write one, and make this required reading in high school government across America. This old sergeant salutes you sir.55

Mr Mann.

Duty4 star

A great insight into the inner workings of the Secretary of Defense and the President's office (both Bush and Obama) and all the international dealings.45


Great!5 star

Thank you Secretary Gates!!!55

Other Books by Robert M. Gates

A Passion for Leadership


A Passion for Leadership
4     13
Exercise of Power


Exercise of Power
4     14
From the Shadows


From the Shadows
3.5     20

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