Extended Audio Sample

Download Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace Audiobook, by Leon Panetta Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leon Panetta, Jim Newton Narrator: Leon Panetta Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2014 ISBN: 9780698179738
Regular Price: $25.00 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $20.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

The inspiring and revelatory autobiography of the defense secretary and 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 of the most consequential careers of any American public servant in the past fifty years. His first career, beginning as an army intelligence officer and including a distinguished run as one of Congress’s most powerful and respected members, lasted thirty-five years and culminated in his transformational role as Clinton’s budget czar and White House chief of staff. He then “retired” to establish the Panetta Institute with his wife of fifty years, Sylvia; to serve on the Iraq Study Group; and to protect his beloved California coastline. But in 2009, he accepted what many said was a thankless task: returning to public office as the director of the CIA, taking it from a state of turmoil after the Bush-era torture debates and moving it back to the vital center of America’s war against Al Qaeda, including the campaign that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. And then, in the wake of bin Laden’s death, Panetta became the U.S. secretary of defense, inheriting two troubled wars in a time of austerity and painful choices.

Like his career, Worthy Fights is a reflection of Panetta’s values. It is imbued with the frank, grounded, and often quite funny spirit of a man who 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 of political leadership, which favors progress and duty to country over partisanship. Panetta is a Democrat who pushed for balanced budgets while also expanding care for the elderly and sick; a devout Catholic who opposes the death penalty but had to weigh every drone strike from 2009 through 2011. Throughout his career, Panetta’s polestar has been his belief that a public servant’s real choice is between leadership or crisis. Troubles always come about through no fault of one’s own, but most can be prevented with courage and foresight.

As always, Panetta calls them as he sees them in Worthy Fights. Suffused with its author’s decency and stubborn common sense, the book is an epic American success story, a great political memoir, and a revelatory view onto many of the great figures and events of our time. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “I can’t think of a single Democrat and only a handful of Republicans who have held as many blue ribbon positions in both Congress and the executive branch as [Panetta] has. And he can claim substantial accomplishments: saving the food stamp program, masterminding the plan to kill Osama bin Laden, helping lead an effective war on terrorism, managing vast cuts in Pentagon spending without political and bureaucratic turmoil…Young people searching for the role model of a public servant will find few as good as Panetta, and…they will discover in Worthy Fights…a playbook for how to behave with integrity in a city with limited virtue.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Worthy Fights is Panetta’s addition to the Cabinet bookshelf, and it’s very readable, with the frank descriptions of personalities and events that distinguish this genre at its best.”

    Washington Post

  • “In the past twenty-five years, Leon Panetta has been working near the very center of Washington power circles…In this vital, detailed autobiography, he describes his long high-level public service and all the challenges, decision-making processes, successes, and setbacks that he encountered.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “An insider’s perspective that is suffused with insight, intelligence, and integrity. Panetta, the son of Italian immigrants, presents himself quite convincingly as an American patriot committed to the nation’s fundamental principles…Anyone who wants to read about a career in public service and experience at the upper echelons of national politics should reason this account of a principled, pragmatic, politician with energy, talent, humor, and relish for the necessary, well-timed profane look into life in the arena.”

    Library Journal

  • “Panetta offers a valuable portrait of how things get done in Washington—cautiously, like this memoir, and with exquisite calculation.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Politicians are generally not seen as candid and unpretentious, but this audiobook presents former Congressman and CIA director Leon Panetta as sincere and approachable. His story is quite American, and his accomplishments are many. Panetta reads his own book in a clear, pleasant voice; his pace allows listeners to follow his story with ease. Throughout his political career, Panetta presented himself as a genuine man of the people, and that view of himself comes through in this book.”


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Leon Panetta served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009–2011, and as secretary of defense from 2011–2013. An Italian-American Democrat, he was a member of the US House of Representatives from 1977–1993, the director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993–1994, and President Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994–1997. He is the founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, and has served as professor of public policy at his alma mater, Santa Clara University.