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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (511 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Donald Rumsfeld Narrator: Donald Rumsfeld Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2011 ISBN: 9781101484487
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Discover the enhanced e-book edition of Known and Unknown offering an unprecedented reading experience for a memoir by a major public figure. For web-connected readers, it features more than 500 links to never-before-available original documents from Donald Rumsfeld's extensive personal archive. It includes State Department cables, correspondence, and memoranda on topics such as Vietnam, Watergate, the days following 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and much more. Available in ePub and Adobe Reader.

Like Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown pulls no punches.

With the same directness that defined his career in public service, Rumsfeld's memoir is filled with previously undisclosed details and insights about the Bush administration, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also features Rumsfeld's unique and often surprising observations on eight decades of history: his experiences growing up during the Depression and World War II, his time as a Naval aviator; his service in Congress starting at age 30; his cabinet level positions in the Nixon and Ford White Houses; his assignments in the Reagan administration; and his years as a successful business executive in the private sector.

Rumsfeld addresses the challenges and controversies of his illustrious career, from the unseating of the entrenched House Republican leader in 1965, to helping the Ford administration steer the country away from Watergate and Vietnam, to bruising battles over transforming the military for the 21st century, to the war in Iraq, to confronting abuse at Abu Ghraib and allegations of torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Along the way, he offers his plainspoken, first-hand views and often humorous and surprising anecdotes about some of the world's best known figures, from Margaret Thatcher to Saddam Hussein, from Henry Kissinger to Colin Powell, from Elvis Presley to Dick Cheney, and each American president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Rumsfeld relies not only on his memory but also on previously unreleased and recently declassified documents. Thousands of pages of documents not yet seen by the public will be made available on an accompanying website.

Known and Unknown delivers both a fascinating narrative for today's readers and an unprecedented resource for tomorrow's historians.

Proceeds from the sales of Known and Unknown will go to the veterans charities supported by the Rumsfeld Foundation. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • 'Dismissive' is a word often used to describe Rumsfeld, but 'dismissive' perfectly describes his critics, who are unwilling or unable to re-examine their own assumptions in the light of new or overlooked information and fresh perspective provided by Rumsfeld, in his exceedingly well-documented work. With its hundreds of annotations and supplementary documents, Known and Unknown is a significant contribution to the historical record. It is, as Rumsfeld once noted about similar memoirs, 'only from one perspective,' but it's a unique and valuable perspective, a serious work that deserves consideration by any serious student of recent history. Jamie McIntyre (former CNN Pentagon correspondent)/Line of Departure/2/10/2011
  • It is a terrific book...Let me tell you something, it is absolutely fascinating. He's very blunt in talking about people and issues and so forth, you'll really enjoy it, in my humble opinion. Mark Levin (interview transcript)/2/10/2011
  • I would heartily recommend it. I don't think anybody could go buy a book written by anybody who has been more intimately involved, closer to power, for as many years, has been through as much, has known all of the power players as you have. It is amazing. Rush Limbaugh (interview transcript)/2/8/2001
  • Readers might be appreciative to find themselves in possession of a serious memoir, more in keeping with the older Washington tradition of Dean Acheson or Henry Kissinger. As might the historians. Kimberly Strassel/Wall Street Journal/2/8/2011
  • The battle is joined. After a long silence, Donald Rumsfeld opened both barrels Tuesday, releasing his memoir, Known and Unknown . Early leaks of the book's defiant take on his life, times, and conduct of the Iraq War drew howls from some of the targets of his score-settling...But Rumsfeld battles on, taking his unapologetic account to the public. John Barry/Newsweek-The Daily Beast/2/8/2011
  • The book places the reader in Rumsfeld's chair and is a serious stab at telling the history of a consequential period in America through the eyes of one of its most consequential players. It will be an important addition to the history of our time. Peter Baker (New York Times White House correspondent)/Foreign Policy/2/9/2011
  • Rumsfeld "describes the highs and lows of a long and dramatic career and discloses some behind the scenes details that may shock you. Sean Hannity (interview transcript)/2/9/2011
  • Known and Unknown is a meaty, well-written book that will be a primary source for historians...this power memoir deserves to be read with the care that went into writing it. Christopher Buckley/Businessweek/2/10/2011

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Benson | 2/12/2014

    " This book filled in a number of blanks for me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joe Mossa | 2/6/2014

    " he does a lot of whining,complaining and blaming. powell should have been sec of defense and rummy sec of state. people with no significant military experience should not run dod. i can t believe he was smarter than rice. he was jealous cause bush talked with rice each day at 6 am. bush was in love with rice and vice versa. it will come out someday..ha "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Woodard Family | 2/5/2014

    " I (Jon) enjoyed this book. Rumsfeld gives a very interesting perspective on the political scene from since he was a congressman in 1962. Like the title says, he tells personal things from various known periods of history. He presents himself as a straight shooter, being open about what he considers his own mistakes, and being open about stating the mistakes of others he worked with. I was surprised to learn he was involved in flu vaccines, Monsanto, and artificial sweeteners, all of which I consider very destructive. He consistently works from the perspective that United States intervention throughout the world is in the interest of the US, and other nations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gale Jake | 2/1/2014

    " Audible book. Excellent read. Of course, one needs to keep in mind that biographies are biased and leave the whole story out and autobiographies are often outright lies. Rumsfeld narrates his own book, does a superb job, and his views on many major events and his relationships with powerful people is highly interesting, captivating and is a look at history of the last 50 years as he presents it. It's a look behind the white (house) curtain. He can certainly not be as humble as he presents himself. To validate the events will take the reading of several other books. I recently finished W's auto biography titled George Bush which was narrated by him. It will be interesting to read the autos of Cheny and Kissenger. And to read some opposing points of view. Wherever they converge, Rumsfeld has definitely been a major player in American politics since the '70s. Seems like he's always been around in politics in my lifetime. Last year's read of a book by a former Bush speechwriter (need to look up the title) castigated nearly everyone in the W Bush administration except Rummy. He genuinely liked him..all in all, what a guy, good or bad. When I mentioned he book to friends, most responded with distain and often expletives at the mention of his name. Rummy thought very highly of president Ford, had positive thing to say about Nixon, Johnson and others, without being supportive of all their actions. The book is traveled through the presidencies, wars and the major national events of our time. The president Ford years and Viet Nam loss were covered from the perspective of someone close to the scene. Exhaustive detail. Rumsfeld lays the analysis of decisions before the event, during the event and after the event. Thus, he sets the stage to reconcile and justify most all that he is involved in. Hindsight helps structure, in his defense, how what happens next goes down, good or bad, making him look ok to good to great, rarely bad. During most of the political scene since the '60s, he was there. A workaholic for sure, his 15 hour days seemed to have a negative impact on his family. Rumsfeld is differential to W Bush, always referring to him as Mr. President. He states that Bush has the courage of his convictions, rarely second guesses, seems to respect Bush a lot. Rumsfeld makes compelling arguments in support of the Afganistan and Iraq wars. He makes a point that the US must not only defend, but must be on the offensive toward terrorists, which he defines as mostly Islamic fundementalist radicals who are out to unite the world to their philosophy. Let's face it, like them or not, agree with their actions or not, most high level positions in the US are very bright, capable and accomplish many good things, far more than bad, and each have their supporters and distractions. We are so offer split nearly 50 / 50, usually along party lines over these individuals and events. Reading well written books that cover many events that shape our nation should focus on the actions and history without being overly judgmental of the author. After all, could any of us do much better as president, secretary of defense, cabinet member or congressperson? A difficult and seemingly impossible job. The book was packed with substantial depth of people and events, opinions and actions defended with strong arguments and justifications and represented his strong point of view very effectively. I'd definitely read it again, especially the audio version, but would prefer, and recommend the abridged version. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Douglas | 1/18/2014

    " I was never a huge Rumsfeld fan, but I must admit that he has done a decent job of defending his position in this memoir. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 1/14/2014

    " Much of the time covered in Rumsfeld's book is a time we lived through, and I found this very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C. Peterson | 12/22/2013

    " A positve look at what he did, admitting mistakes made, but still selective on picks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 12/18/2013

    " I did enjoy the premise of the title - there are the knowns, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns which are the most dangerous. This was fascinating - but I found Rumsfeld to be such a JERK I couldn't finish the book. I will likely go back to it at some point but not right now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 9/18/2013

    " As a republican, I enjoyed this book. I've always respected Mr. Rumsfeld and enjoyed reading about his life and time in office. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 6/2/2013

    " This was a very good book. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author. I think I enjoyed his recollections of the 60s and 70s more than the more recent things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald Price | 1/24/2013

    " Even if you hate the guy, this is an excellent insiders view of the White House and many other aspects of the government. From pre-Nixon all the way to W's second term. It's amazing what this man has seen and done. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jesse Schexnayder | 11/23/2012

    " Changed my perspective on several key issues. Definitely worth reading, for a well reasoned perspective from a highly capable SecDef "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate S | 11/12/2012

    " While interesting and fairly well written, I found it extremely biased. His story was also very political and much less personal than I would have liked to see. All of this is understandable in a memoir. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aron | 10/29/2012

    " Donald Rumsfeld is incredibly thoughtful in decision making. This is a great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Douglas | 5/22/2011

    " Another fantastic memoir. Very highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam Ashton | 5/9/2011

    " Fascinating life and mind. Book is full of finger pointing, especially during Bush years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harold | 5/8/2011

    " This was a great account of much of the history that has occurred in my lifetime by a remarkably talented man who was there in the middle of it.

    I gained some valuable insights.


  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jen | 5/4/2011

    " This is a thick book. I cannot wait to ready what he has to say. This was over 700 pages, most of it was interesting. Some of it was boring. I did get tired of reading what he or others should have done. Overall, this was a decent book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vladimir | 4/26/2011

    " Very interesting and clever. However like with any book written by a politician one is wondering what parts of it are true :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald | 4/1/2011

    " Even if you hate the guy, this is an excellent insiders view of the White House and many other aspects of the government. From pre-Nixon all the way to W's second term. It's amazing what this man has seen and done. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbrowns | 3/26/2011

    " I only skimmed this book...to many details I was lost in his writing.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Opa | 3/9/2011

    " This autobiography is well done about one of the most brilliant executives in history. Mr. Rumsfeld moved some of the largest bureaucratic organizations in the world just by his sheer personality. He always left organizations better than when he found them. "

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About the Author
Author Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Rumsfeld has been an American government official and corporate executive. He served as CEO as two Fortune 500 companies and as the thirteenth and twenty-first Secretary of Defense.