Michael Burleigh

In His Defence

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

By

W H Allen 618pp £25 order from our bookshop

Born in 1943 in Wichita, Kansas, Robert Gates studied history at William and Mary, Indiana and Georgetown before serving in the CIA for 26 years. Despite being dogged by allegations of involvement in the Iran–Contra affair, Gates became in 1991 the first entry-level employee to be appointed director of the agency. He retired two years later to become a university administrator but in 2006 was plucked from the presidency of Texas A&M University to become US secretary of defense, his chief recommendation being that he was very unlike his maverick predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld. Following the election of Barack Obama in 2008, Gates remained in post, serving until his retirement in the summer of 2011.

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