My American Journey: An Autobiography

by Colin L. Powell

Hardcover, 1995

Call number




Random House (1995), Edition: 1st, 656 pages


The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recalls his youth, his military service, and his rise to the heights of America's political and military elite.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cng12345
I listened to this on Audio...really enjoyed it.Very conversational and a great review of history from Vietnam forward.
LibraryThing member smyers
Born in Harlem raised by immigrant parents from Jamaica, Colin Powell learned about life the hard way. In this autobiography one will learn about this mans challenges of poor schooling, racism, and the importance of family and church. Colin Powell served in the US Army 2 tours in Vietnam, Germany, Desert Storm, and into the Pentagon as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He takes you through his life as a child, marriage, joining the Army, from Vietnam through the Presidential administration of William Clinton. A great book that is easy to read and makes you feel as if you've known this man his entire life just by turning the pages.
This book was my first "autobiography", and it was a great experience that lead me to want to read more like it. Being a new military wife when I purchased this book in 1995, it gave me a positive insight to the life of the military, and also a great deal of gratitude to a man who went through so much and turned out to be such a great succes story. I own this book and have shared it with many.
As a classroom extentsion, I would explain how this man started facing many challenges in his life, yet he overcame them with a positive attitude. The students could do a time line with the details of Colin Powells life. Another activity could be listing other African American leaders, or listing other Generals in the Army.
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LibraryThing member Sandydog1
This book is written in very simple prose. But it is a door-stop (612 pages) and covers an enormous amount of US history - from Powell's Bronx boyhood to 1994. Powell offers an interesting insider's view of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton White House.
LibraryThing member JBD1
An excellent memoir.
LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
Colin Powell is one of my heroes. I know he has his detractors left and right. Those on the left bristle that he served in the Reagan and both Bush administrations and blame him for the Iraq War. Those on the right that he endorsed Obama. I guess it tips my hat as to which team I root for, but no, I'm not particularly happy about the second, though I don't really blame him for what went pears up on the first. But however I felt about that, what he accomplished, especially given his background is still extraordinary.

This particular biography dates from before his period as the (first African American) Secretary of State, some readers may be disappointed it doesn't get into what some might find the most interesting and controversial period of his service. But it does cover his life from his early days to his formative time as an officer during the Vietnam War and his generalship during the Gulf War. The story I remember the best though comes from his teenage years, when he got a summer job mopping floors--and determined to be the best floor mopper he possibly could. Such a little thing--but said to me a lot about his character and the reason for his success.
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