Get Your Free Audiobook

After 30 days, Audible is ₹199/mo. Cancel anytime.

OR

Publisher's Summary

From the former secretary of defense and author of the acclaimed number one best-selling memoir Duty, a candid, sweeping examination of power in all its manifestations and how it has been exercised, for good and bad, by American presidents in the post-Cold War world.

Since the end of the Cold War, the global perception of the United States has progressively morphed from dominant international leader to disorganized entity, seemingly unwilling to accept the mantle of leadership or unable to govern itself effectively. Robert Gates argues that this transformation is the result of the failure of political leaders to understand the complexity of American power, its expansiveness, and its limitations. He makes clear that the successful exercise of power is not limited to the use of military might or the ability to coerce or demand submission, but must encompass as well diplomacy, economics, strategic communications, development assistance, intelligence, technology, ideology, and cyber. By analyzing specific challenges faced by the American government in the post-Cold War period - Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Russia, China, and others - Gates deconstructs the ways in which leaders have used the instruments of power available to them. 

With forthright judgments of the performance of past presidents and their senior-most advisers, firsthand knowledge, and insider stories, Gates argues that US national security in the future will require learning, and abiding by, the lessons of the past and recreating those capabilities that the misuse of power has cost the nation.

©2020 Robert M. Gates (P)2020 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Exercise of Power

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ember Rose Baker
  • 11-07-20

Thoughtful Evaluation by Someone in the Know

This is one of those must read books for anyone who gives a damn about America, its future, and our position in relation to the rest of the world. Gates presents a largely non-partisan view of choices made by the past several Presidents regarding the use or failure to use the many tools of influence, persuasion and power available to them. He lists many different kinds of power available, and gives examples of how they have or can be used to a nation's advantage. He expresses concern that in recent administrations, there has been a narrowing in the focus of our definition of power -- more reliance on military power and allowing other means of exercising power to atrophy. He notes how very different the problems we face today are vs. the problems we faced during the cold war. He suggests that our failure to adjust to the ways world has substantially changed have left us vulnerable. He describes how many of the key decisions and policies of Presidents since Reagan have brought us to our current reality. He describes what they did right and what they did wrong in their exercise of American power from a non-partisan perspective. Interesting, intelligent, thought-provoking book, well presented. An important work I wish all politicians, even all voters would read.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeffy
  • 25-08-20

Worth it

I am a fan of Bob Gates and this book does not disappoint. Very good content and narration.

Exercise of Power lays out recent developments of U.S. foreign policy in hot spots throughout the world. The author offers his own personal insights, often opinionated, as to how various military and non-military tools are used (or should be used) to best promote American interests. Thankfully, the book is not a tell-all book that is either bogged down in personalities or laced with gossip. It is an important book because if was written by a highly competent person who was "there" when many important decisions were made concerning U.S. foreign since the Carter presidency.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I only give it 4 stars because I am a tough grader. Still, if one is choosing a book, go for this one. It is worth it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patricia George
  • 25-10-20

Outstanding book

This was a great overview of a plethora of topics that plaque our Nation and provided amazing insights and lessons learned from past actions.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jerry
  • 29-07-20

Tedious

Tedious, repetitive, smug, but probably correct. Points well taken but not that many are there

1 person found this helpful