"The inspiring and revelatory autobiography of the defense secretaryand CIA director who led the intelligence war that killed Bin Laden, among many important roles in a legendary career"
It could be said that Leon Panetta has had two ofthe most consequential careers of any Americanpublic servant in the past fifty years. His firstcareer, beginning as an army intelligence officerand including a distinguished run as one ofCongress's most powerful and respected members, lasted thirty-five years and culminated in histransformational role as Clinton's budget czarand White House chief of staff. He then retired to establish the Panetta Institute with his wife offifty years, Sylvia; to serve on the Iraq Study Group;and to protect his beloved California coastline. Butin 2009, he accepted what many said was a thanklesstask: returning to public office as the director ofthe CIA, taking it from a state of turmoil after theBush-era torture debates and moving it back tothe vital center of America's war against Al Qaeda, including the campaign that led to the killing ofOsama bin Laden. And then, in the wake of binLaden's death, Panetta became the U.S. secretaryof defense, inheriting two troubled wars in a timeof austerity and painful choices.
Like his career, "Worthy Fights" is a reflectionof Panetta's values. It is imbued with the frank, grounded, and often quite funny spirit of a manwho never lost touch with where he came from: his family's walnut farm in beautiful Carmel Valley, California. It is also a testament to a lost kind ofpolitical leadership, which favors progress and dutyto country over partisanship. Panetta is a Democratwho pushed for balanced budgets while alsoexpanding care for the elderly and sick; a devoutCatholic who opposes the death penalty but hadto weigh every drone strike from 2009 through2011. Throughout his career, Panetta's polestar hasbeen his belief that a public servant's real choice isbetween leadership or crisis. Troubles always comeabout through no fault of one's own, but most canbe prevented with courage and foresight.
As always, Panetta calls them as he sees themin "Worthy Fights." Suffused with its author's decencyand stubborn common sense, the book is an epicAmerican success story, a great political memoir, and a revelatory view onto many of the greatfigures and events of our time.
About the Author
Leon Panetta served as the director of theCentral Intelligence Agency from 2009 2011, and assecretary of defense from 2011 2013. An Italian AmericanDemocrat, he was a member of the U.S. House ofRepresentatives from 1977 1993, the director of theOffice of Management and Budget from 1993 1994, andPresident Clinton s chief of staff from 1994 1997. He isthe founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, and has served as professor of public policy at his almamater, Santa Clara University.
Jim Newton is editorat large of the "Los Angeles Times," where he has worked fortwenty-five years as a reporter, editor, bureau chief, and columnist. He is the author of two critically acclaimedbiographies, "Justice for All: Earl Warren" "and the Nation He Made"and "Eisenhower: The White House Years.""