Into the Storm, by General Fred Franks, Jr. (ret.) and Tom Clancy

January 25, 2011 at 18:34 (Biography, Book Reviews, Historical, Mediocre Books, Twentieth Century, War) (, , , , , , )


Fred Franks is truly an American patriot. He is bombastic, stern, and utterly convinced that America is the greatest thing ever, and that American soldiers will always overcome anybody else, especially communists. That is not terribly fair to him, but it is certainly an impression that one could easily come away with after reading what is essentially his memoirs. He (ghost)writes much like a caricature of a sergeant major might: brusque and snappy. You can almost feel his moustache bristling fiercely as he tells you in no uncertain terms how the world works, and why.

The book was much more technical than might have been expected with Tom Clancy’s name on its cover, and for that reason its pages are to be entered with trepidation. There is an enormous amount of jargon, and even more acronyms. It is a slog, and this drags it down several pegs. On the surface, Franks is a perfect gentleman, honest and earnest in everything, and humble enough to praise the army, his soldiers, his subordinate officers and just about everybody else. Throughout, he makes several very subtle comments about General Norman Schwarzkopf and one or two other characters, peers and superiors, which suggest that perhaps this account of the Gulf War is not entirely altruistic. It seems rather clear from his point of view that his criticisms are justified, but they are one-sided and seem a little cheeky, nonetheless.

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