THE LINE OF FIRE by Jr. Crowe

THE LINE OF FIRE

From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The low-key memoirs of a retired admiral whose ascent to four- star rank owed more to his world-class skills as a statesman and technocrat than to time at sea. Crowe--General Colin Powell's predecessor as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--made the most of his opportunities during a productive career that lasted just a bit longer than the cold war. A 1946 graduate of Annapolis, the Oklahoma-born author served aboard diesel-fueled submarines before the first of many assignments to the Pentagon, where he was invariably an aide to senior officers holding down influential operations and/or planning posts. Crowe (who holds a doctorate in political science) finally saw some combat as an advisor to riverine forces toward the end of the Vietnam War, and he went on to top commands at NATO and in the Pacific, after which President Reagan named him to head the JCS. Not one to underrate his own contributions, he devotes roughly half his text--written with the assistance of Chanoff (coauthor, Portrait of the Enemy, 1986)--to the four eventful years he spent on this demanding job. Among other excitements on Crowe's watch, the Achille Lauro was hijacked; the US launched a reprisal raid against Qaddafi; and Washington agreed to convoy Kuwait's tanker fleet through the Persian Gulf. On the home front, Congress passed the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, calculated to curb interservice rivalries and otherwise make the American military more efficient. Crowe refused President Bush's request to stay on, and he became a civilian in 1989, later attracting attention for his support of Bill Clinton's bid for the White House. An insider's illuminating, if tactful, appraisal of a defense establishment in transition, as well as of its varied constituencies and critics. (Eight pages of b&w photos--not seen)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-72703-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993




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