28 April 2010

35. Stormin' Norman

Stormin' Norman - Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta

This is the life story of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. This book though, is not what I thought it was going to be. I figured these two authors, investigative reporters, would have at some point interviewed the subject himself. I can find no evidence of that at all.

What it looks like to me is that the authors searched the internet for anything and everything concerning the life of Norman Schwarzkopf, maybe made a few phone calls to folks who knew him, and than wrote a book with the stories and anecdotes they had gathered.

It would be pretty easy with much of the story. It was very public. Half the book is about the period where General Schwarzkopf was the Commander in Chief of Central Command. He is most famous for this time. He was the guy who ran the whole Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations that ended up getting Iraq out of Kuwait in the early 1990s.

Some of the information about where the General grew up and the things he did were told by his sister and friends. The stories of Vietnam were told by other people that knew him. Were these stories actually told to the authors? I think they were more likely told to some other third party and published. Once the story was published then these guys used the info in a larger story about the man. That is how this book felt to me. It is like it was just written by a few guys that gathered info in order to capitalize on the fleeting fame of a popular character of the moment.

That does not mean the book was bad. It was fun to read and interesting how the General's career progressed. The facts, I am sure, are there. The events that unfolded were true. The reasons for things happening that were given in the book were most likely absolutely factual.

My biggest problem is that there was no insight from the man himself. He did not explain how he was feeling. He did not explain his thinking process. He did not explain anything at all. The writers did say why this happened or why that happened. They ever related the General's feelings by using quotes from his friends and other officers. The problem was that the quotes were not coming from the General himself.

So, I liked the book, but I will now be looking for a better story on this man. The book "It Doesn't Take A Hero" should be more like what I wanted. The General wrote this one WITH someone else. That should give his perspective on what was happening during all the events spoken of in the "Stormin' Norman" book

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