Carter can seem disingenuous at times. At one point, he writes that there have been cutbacks to media coverage of major war zones, while leaving out that the Defense Department under his watch rarely allowed journalists to embed with U.S. troops during the campaign against the Islamic State, citing logistical challenges and diplomatic sensitivities ... Carter provides some fresh details on his decision to allow women to take up all roles in the military.
... a lucid explanation of how the Department of Defense operates ... His evaluation of all presidents since Ronald Reagan is never less than mildly favorable, with one exception that will surprise few readers ... Readers will squirm to learn the difficulties of keeping our nation secure, which, even in the good old days, was hobbled as much as helped by members of Congress who gave their own interests priority over the nation’s and journalists who preferred scandal to substance ... An illuminating if unsettling account of what it takes to run 'the largest and most complex organization in the entire world.'
... intelligent, wide-ranging ... Carter writes clearly and accessibly about the complexities of the Department of Defense, employing a level of detail that might be more appreciated by historians than the average reader, but the pacing is brisk and the insights into the work of the Department of Defense are informative. Foreign policy wonks will eat this up.